805.643.7222 | info@ventura-chamber.org| 2478 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93003


Business Development

The Ventura Chamber of Commerce works year round to support a strong local economy through its stewardship of city policy and business development. From conception of development projects, through the approval process, and into the future, safeguarding the vitality of existing business expansion and recruitment; it is indeed true that “we are making business happen.”

At the local level we are playing an increasing role as the voice of business when advocating public policy changes that stimulate and sustain growth for business resulting in the creation and retention of jobs. The Chamber remains committed to having productive working relationships with lawmakers fostering a positive employment climate that will support global class schools and an outstanding quality of life for the citizens of Ventura.

If you have always wanted to build your business by having contracts with government agencies, make sure to attend our How to Do Business with Public Agencies event in the spring. Each year this event is sponsored by the Chamber’s Ventura Commerce Education Foundation. Once there we will demystify the process and share a unique and valuable opportunity for your business to become educated and connected.

Here are some of the Chamber partners that you may find useful if you plan to do business in Ventura: The Chamber itself works in partnership with the City to attract and retain businesses. We advocate for more potential commercial space, an efficient permit approval process, affordable housing, and pro-business leadership.

  • Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau is a nationwide non-profit devoted to consumer education and self-regulation by the business community. Its services include reliability reports on businesses, dispute resolution, truth in advertising claims, charity review, and consumer and business education. The bureau for Ventura is the Better Business Bureau of the Tri-Counties, which covers Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. It is online at SantaBarbara.BBB.org.
  • City of Ventura: The city’s Business Assistance Office helps current and future business owners navigate the city permit process. It also provides information about loans and grants and other resources available to business owners. The office is online at www.cityofventura.net/ed.
  • Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County: EDC-VC is a private non-profit with a board of directors that consists of elected officials from the county and all of its cities, in addition to representatives of the private sector. It has a Revolving Loan Fund that provides loans to county-based businesses; a Manufacturing Outreach Program that offers consulting and training to local manufacturers; and a Global Entrepreneur Training in Trade program for businesses interested in participating in international trade. Information about these programs is online at www.edc-vc.com.
  • Employment Development Department: The EDD is a state agency that administers California’s unemployment and disability insurance programs. It also provides job training and labor market information. The department is online at www.edd.ca.gov.
  • Service Corps of Retired Executives: SCORE is a non-profit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grown, and succeed. SCORE volunteers offer free or low-cost mentoring, counseling, and training for entrepreneurs. The Ventura County Chapter is based in Oxnard and is online at ventura.score.org.
  • Ventura County Economic Development Association: VCEDA was formed in 1949 as a county government agency. It spun off from the county in 1974 as an independent non-profit and has worked with private funds ever since. VCEDA is an advocate for businesses in Ventura County and for the county as a business destination. Its accomplishment include helping to protect Naval Base Ventura County from closure and helping to bring a California State University campus to the county. The group is online at www.vceda.org.
  • Workforce Development Board: The Workforce Development Board members are appointed by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors from among the county’s leaders in business, labor, education, and government. The board administers federal funds that support job and career training, employee recruitment, employer consulting, and other services.


An educated workforce is essential to the success of almost any business. Ventura’s schools, both public and private, offer excellent programs from pre-school through college.

The Ventura Unified School District serves approximately 17,500 students attending 29 schools: 17 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, three alternative high schools, and one continuation school. Of those 29 schools, 14 have earned California Distinguished School awards.

Ventura Unified also offers preschool and adult education. The district’s Technology Development Center is a vocational school that teaches multimedia and studio production.

Ventura College is one of three campuses of the Ventura County Community College District. It is located on Telegraph Road, in Ventura’s northern foothills, and has 14,500 students. It offers two-year associate degrees as well as vocational programs.

California State University, Channel Islands, opened in 2002 outside of nearby Camarillo, is the 23rd campus in the CSU system. It now has about 5,000 students.

The Ventura College of Law offers a law degree program for part-time, evening students. Brooks Institute, a photography, film, design, and visual journalism school is based in Ventura.


  • Highway 101 runs through Ventura, leading south to the Los Angeles area and north to Santa Barbara, with the Central Coast and Northern California beyond. Through the City of Ventura, it runs concurrent with Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway.
  • Highway 126 leads east to Santa Paula, Fillmore, and Piru. In Santa Clarita, it joins Interstate 5, California’s main north-south artery.
  • Highway 33 starts in Ventura, near the mouth of the Ventura River, and leads north to Ojai. It continues through the Los Padres National Forest and into the San Joaquin Valley.
  • Highway 118 runs from Saticoy, a rural community just east of Ventura, eastward to Camarillo, Moorpark, and Simi Valley.

Bus Service: Ventura is served by Gold Coast Transit, which runs buses to every part of town and to Oxnard and Ojai. Another public bus service, the Ventura Intercity Service Transit Authority, or VISTA, operates longer routes that connect Ventura to Santa Barbara, Santa Paula and Fillmore, and East Ventura County.

Airport Access: Ventura is about 35 miles from Santa Barbara Airport and about 60 miles from both Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and Los Angeles International Airport. Ventura County companies provide transportation to area airports by bus, van, limousine, or taxi.

Rail Service: Metrolink provides passenger rail service from Ventura to Los Angeles, with stops throughout Ventura County and the San Fernando Valley. Amtrak provides passenger rail service from Ventura to San Diego.

Water travel and Shipping: Ventura Harbor, located near the mouth of the Santa Clara River, has private marinas and a public boat launch. Recreational boaters and commercial fishing companies use its docks, and on the land portion of the harbor, locals, and tourists enjoy an array of shops, restaurants, hotels, and other amenities.

International Shipping: Ventura County’s only deep-water port, and the only one between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is the Port of Hueneme, about 10 miles south of Ventura. The port’s chief imports are automobiles and bananas, and its leading exports are Ventura County agricultural products.

Natural Resources

Agriculture: Ventura’s soil and climate have made it a prime farming spot for centuries. In Ventura County, agriculture was a $1.84 billion business in 2011, the last year for which figures are available. Most of the county’s largest growers are in the rural areas of the Santa Clara River Valley or the fields of the Oxnard Plain, but Ventura has its share of smaller farms and orchards, concentrated on the East End and in the foothills.

Open space and Parks: The City of Ventura’s planning strategy is to encourage development in the center of town, while leaving open space around its edges. This has resulted in the preservation of most of the city’s scenic foothills. Public parks in this area include Arroyo Verde Park to the east and Grant Park to the west. The area around Grant Park has been targeted by a non-profit group as the future site of Ventura Botanical Gardens.

Ventura also has miles of public beaches, from the surf spots at the northwest end of town to the beaches around Ventura Harbor to the southeast. Some of Southern California’s best surf spots are in Ventura, along with prime locations for sailing, biking, hiking, and other outdoor recreation.

In all, the city has nearly 40 parks, from small playgrounds scattered through the neighborhoods to the 100-acre Ventura Community Park and Aquatic Center on Kimball Road. There are two 18-hole public golf courses as well, both of them on Olivas Park Drive, at the southern end of the city.

Arts and Culture

Ventura has made a conscious effort for the past 20 years to brand itself as “California’s New Arts City.” That effort has borne fruit, with thriving galleries downtown and on the Westside and a number of events that have made Ventura an attraction for culturally minded tourists and locals.

On Ventura Avenue, the Bell Arts Factory offers art classes, exhibits, and special events like First Fridays. The Working Artists Ventura building, or WAV, is a new city-supported apartment complex geared toward artists, with spaces for artists to live, work, and exhibit their works. The Museum of Ventura County exhibits both art and historical artifacts from the county’s past and present.

Performing arts thrive in Ventura as well. Every spring, the Ventura Music Festival brings thousands of people to concerts by both classical and crossover artists. Ventura also has the area’s only professional theater group, the Rubicon Theatre Company, an award-winning company based in downtown. The Majestic Ventura Theater is the city’s major live-music venue, and it brings nationally known acts to town every year from a wide array of genres.