Nominations are now open for the fourth annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards, the most prestigious awards for women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County.
The winners will be announced at the gala Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on Friday, May 9. Outstanding women entrepreneurs will be recognized their success and contributions to the economy in nine categories.
The categories are: agriculture/wineries, emerging business, green business, health, media/communication, professional Services (open to any professional in accounting, law, real estate, consulting, etc.), retail/Hospitality/tourism, science/technology and wholesale/manufacturing/global trade.
The nominations are open to any woman entrepreneur in Santa Barbara County.
“We changed some of the categories this year to bring them more in line with the growth sectors in the county,” said Cathy Feldman, board chairwoman/CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation. “Anyone can nominate herself or someone else just by going to our website and clicking 'Nominations.' Filling out the form is easy, but the deadline is March 10, so the sooner you do it, the better.”
Feldman points out that the selection of the winners will be done by “independent judges who are not connected with the foundation and do not live in Santa Barbara to preserve the integrity of the awards.”
The top three nominees in each category will be recognized, but the winners will not be announced until the dinner at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort on May 9, just like the Oscars. Lynda Weinman, co-founder/executive chair of lynda.com, will be the emcee for the event.
Proceeds from the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards benefit the student winners of the SBCC Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge, a two-tiered business pitch competition for area high school and collegiate students that promotes youth entrepreneurship. The winners of both tiers of the New Venture Challenge Awards will be the foundation’s guests and receive their prizes at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner.
“The mission of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation is to support entrepreneurship at all levels in Santa Barbara County because entrepreneurs are the engine for growing our economy,” Feldman said. “By recognizing women entrepreneurs for the benefit of student entrepreneurs, we believe we are making an important contribution.”
The winners of the 2013 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards were:
» Beauty/Fitness — Joy Kelly, Juice Plus
» Communications/Media/Publishing — Melissa Marsted, Lucky Penny Press
» Emerging Business — Jill Latham, Vibrant Earth Juices
» Hospitality/Tourism — Alethea Tyner Paradis, Friendship Tours World Travel
» Medical/Science/Technology — Ali Bauerlein, Inogen
» Professional Services — Barbara Klein, Accrued Benefit Administration
» Retail/Wholesale/Mftg. — Susanne Chess, Force Fins & Santa Barbara Fine Fabrics
» Rock Star-Life Achievement — Kathy Odell, Annovium Products
— Cathy Feldman is the board chairwoman/CEO for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.