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Local Businesswomen, Students Honored for Their Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation recognizes eight professionals as well as student winners of SBCC's New Venture Challenge

Eight local businesswomen were transformed from notable nominees into awardees Friday evening during the 2013 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.

The enterprising women, who accepted awards amid applause, hugs and handshakes, rose to the top of a pool of 24 finalists and more than 70 nominees during the third annual dinner event, hosted by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.

All of the female finalists were given full recognition for their entrepreneurial spirit, as well as local high school and college student winners of Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge competition.

“Tonight, you’re going to get to see two awards ceremonies,” said Cathy Feldman, board chairwoman and CEO of the foundation.

“Right now it’s not a level playing field,” she said of why women were being honored. “We are honoring women who have succeeding. They are all winners.”

Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chairwoman of lynda.com, served as the mistress of ceremonies, noting the courage necessary to take on your own business venture.

“You’re making the decision that you’re going to be responsible for something,” Weinman said. “It takes a lot of guts.”

The honorees were all smiles, some choking up as they accepted their awards and telling touching stories of risk-taking and ladder-climbing.

Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com, serves as the mistress of ceremonies for Friday night's 2013 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com, serves as the mistress of ceremonies for Friday night’s 2013 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Winners of the 2013 awards categories included Ali Bauerlein of Inogen (medical/science/technology); Susanne Chess of Fine Fabrics of Santa Barbara/Force Fins (retail/wholesale/manufacturing); Joy Kelly of Juice Plus (beauty/fitness); Barbara Klein of Accrued Benefit Administrators (professional services); Jill Latham of Vibrant Earth Juices (emerging business); Melissa Marsted of Lucky Penny Press (communications/media/publishing); Kathy Odell of Annovium Products (Rock Star: life achievement); and Alethea Tyner of Friendship Tours World Travel (hospitality/tourism).

Click here for a list of all 24 nominees.

Melissa Moreno, director of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, handed out $15,000 in prizes to student winners, who gave short business pitches to attendees in 60 seconds or less.

Moreno said she was grateful for the support of those in attendance, since all proceeds from the awards dinner would go toward cash prizes for future winning student entrepreneurs.

“Your presence here could not be underestimated,” she said. “Thank you everybody for supporting our students.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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