The Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) and the Regional Small Business Development Center Networks of California (SBDC) has released a commissioned study that investigated COVID-19’s impact on business in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The report was conducted by California Lutheran University Professor Jamshid Damooei and documents the level of vulnerability due to the pandemic in each of the 45 ZIP codes in the two counties. The report allows local organizations to understand where it’s most urgent to focus small business services.


The 287-page report found that 44.6 percent of all Ventura County and Santa Barbara County residents live in communities with low employment, high rates of poverty, limited access to social and economic amenities and government and community services.


“Recovery is especially slow for low-income workers and small businesses, with the barriers to recovery most acute for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, across all neighborhoods, regardless of economic conditions,” Bruce Stenslie, EDC’s chief executive, said in a statement. “This creates even greater urgency for pushing out small business services as a lifeline for recovery.”


The research also showed that 76 percent of nonprofits in Ventura County and 64 percent in Santa Barbara are very small employers and especially vulnerable to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. The state of nonprofits contributes to concern for businesses and residents in high-risk communities because those communities are dependent on nonprofits for services and support.