Organizers of the fifth annual International Women’s Festival at Santa Barbara City College on March 9 and 10 said a substantially larger crowd of participants is expected this year since twice as many people have signed up in advance as in 2011.
And, for the first time, SBCC Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is a nonprofit partner with the Women’s Festival.
“It think one of the understated benefits of the festivals is to bring our awareness to the great services available to women, men and small business, in particular, the Small Business Development Center, or SBDC,” said Scheinfeld Center and SBDC Director Melissa Moreno. At a Wednesday news conference, Moreno discussed the event with organizers of the festivals.
“At the SBDC, we are intent on providing small businesses with no-cost counseling and coaching to help then reach their next level,” Moreno said. “We take a very targeted approach to counseling, and we are laser-focused on helping small businesses retain or create new jobs, obtain financing, increase sales, or for fledgling businesses, help get the launched.”
Women’s Festivals founder and coproducer Patty DeDomimic said that’s a large part of what the event is about. She said the festivals will showcase about 20 graduates of the Santa Barbara-based Women’s Economic Ventures and more than 80 exhibitors have signed up. About 1,500 people are expected to attend this year, she said.
Festivals Executive Director Tracy Beard said 30 percent of the people on the event’s host committee are men. She said the festivals is not just about business since fitness, retirement and other topics will be discussed at about 18 roundtables.
“Live, Love, Learn is the theme this year,” DeDominic said. The event is held near March 8, which is International Women’s Day, she said, which was not being observed as well in the United States until about five years ago.
“(Now) we are one of the larger Women’s Day celebrations,” DeDominic said. A March 9 VIP reception is planned for former supermodel Kathy Ireland. March 10 general admission is $5 at the door. For more information, see www.internationalwomensfestivals.com.
The South Coast Biz Blog is a roundup of business news in the Santa Barbara area and is written by Ray Estrada, firstname.lastname@example.org, who has covered business in the region for numerous publications over the past couple decades. See more at independent.com/biz and wordpress.com/southcoastbizblog.