At the heart of Santa Barbara’s economy are its thriving tourism, education, and technology industries, which bring jobs and financial prosperity to the area. With a culture deeply rooted in environmentally-friendly practices, personal health, and sustainability, the city also fosters the promotion of entrepreneurship and the development of the local business sector.
In order to support the growth of businesses in Santa Barbara, various nonprofit entities focus their efforts on providing business owners with resources that will assist them in securing their economic futures. Listed below are four of the best resources that local businesses and entrepreneurs can use to help them effectively pursue their professional endeavors.
1. Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board (WDB)
The WDB is a public-private partnership that provides free services to area workers who have been laid off as well as Santa Barbara county businesses that are looking for economic assistance in the form of professional advisement. Additionally, it offers services to struggling professionals in industries that significantly affect the county’s economy, such as agriculture, tourism, and energy.
For individuals, the organization conducts workshops that teach skills such as resume writing, interviewing, and job preparation. Additionally, the WDB hosts job fairs in order to pair local businesses that need talent with WDB members who have attended training workshops. The organization operates these workshops and job fairs out of two locations within Santa Barbara County in order to make them easily accessible to members citywide.
For businesses, the WDB offers resources designed to assist firms that are struggling with human resource needs like recruitment, associate training, and the retention of valuable employees. Business owners may also participate in the organization’s youth program by mentoring young residents with entrepreneurial aspirations.
2. The City of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara’s local government uses its website in order to inform residents about all amenities available to them as members of the city. Among these amenities is an online directory for entrepreneurs and company owners to access tools that can make their businesses more successful.
|Santa Barbara City Hall - Image courtesy Damian Gadal on Flickr|
Included in these resources is a video library that contains 30 minutes’ worth of video about tips, regulations, and services that are provided specifically to businesses by the local government. Additionally, the website sports an online tool that helps business owners create custom maps that contain in-depth geographical information such as zoning, streets, and aerial photos.
On the website, individuals can also learn about permits, licenses, and fees, and access paperless business books archived by local libraries. Additionally, businessmen and women can find a list of legal steps that entrepreneurs opening businesses need to take. The site also identifies ways to make a business environmentally-friendly and makes it easy to research tips for complying with regulations put in place to prevent water pollution in the area. All of these amenities and more can be accessed by logging onto www.santabarbaraca.gov/business/.
3. The Economic Forecast Project
Established more than 30 years ago by the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Economic Forecast Project is a valuable resource to the business and nonprofit communities as well as government entities within the region. Through its collection of statistical data, the group is able to analyze economic and demographic trends that affect the business community of Santa Barbara at a regional level.
After examination, the data collected by the Economic Forecast Project is put into articles that are available to the public free of charge. These articles can be used in order to help firms see trends in areas like employment within specific industries, home values, and median household income, which may help them make educated business decisions that create a healthy local economy.
The project’s most recent articles about the economy within the region have reported on subjects such as third quarter job growth, the rate of affordability within the housing industry, and seasonal employment trends.
4. SCORE Santa Barbara
The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) Santa Barbara is an organization that provides mentoring services to aspiring entrepreneurs in the county. All SCORE mentors serve the organization on a volunteer basis and are part of a network consisting of more than 13,000 experienced business professionals across many industries. These sectors range from areas like real estate and hospitality to capital raising, technology, and the nonprofit sector.
The only requirement that an entrepreneur needs in order to secure a SCORE mentor is an email address. Because SCORE has no headquarters, all mentorship sessions are scheduled via email in order to establish the needs of the entrepreneur in a timely, convenient manner. Once an entrepreneur has requested assistance, he or she will be paired with a mentor who has experience in the same industry, meeting online or in person in order to ask questions and receive assistance in evaluating business decisions and strategies.
In addition to mentoring services, SCORE also offers local businessmen and women the opportunity to participate in online workshops on subjects such as financial management and online reputation. A visit to the organization’s website can also provide individuals with tools and templates designed to facilitate better business practices.