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NAWBO-SB Honors Seven Women with Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards

Certificates are also presented to winners of the SBCC New Venture Challenge

Taking a lesson from the Academy Awards, the Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners honored women entrepreneurs in six categories at its Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on May 13.

Each winner learned of her selection only after keynote speaker Maria Contreras-Sweet asked for “the envelope, please” from Mistress of Ceremonies Melanie Doctors, and read the recipient’s name.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards were created to honor both a national-level entrepreneur and local women who exemplify what it means to be a successful entrepreneur. The winners were selected by independent judges from 45 women business owners in Santa Barbara County who had been nominated in the months preceding the awards.

The winners of the 2011 NAWBO-SB Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are:

» National level — Maria Contreras-Sweet, founder and chair of Promerica Bank in Los Angeles

» Health, fitness and beauty — Catherine Lamberti of Exercise Technology Inc.

» Hospitality and tourism — Laura Knight of Pascucci Restaurant

» Manufacturing, wholesale and retail — Caroline MacDougall of Teeccino Caffé

» Professional services — Patty DeDominic of DeDominic & Associates

» Publishing, communications and media — Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com

» Science and technology — Barbara Tzur of Brylen Technologies Inc.

In addition to honoring women entrepreneurs, the NAWBO-SB Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner also presented certificates to the winners of the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation SBCC New Venture Challenge, a two-tiered business pitch competition for SBCC students and area high school students. Scholarships and/or cash awards were given out for the first, second and third place at both the college and high school levels.

“We believe a large part of our mission is to support entrepreneurship at all levels, and the students are our future,” NAWBO-SB President Maeda Palius said. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with the Scheinfeld Center and encourage the next generation to grow their own businesses.”

Thanks to the success of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards event, the NAWBO-SB Foundation will be funding two additional $2,500 prizes for the Scheinfeld Center’s 2012 New Venture Challenge awards. One will be named for its Premier Diamond Sponsor, Montecito Bank & Trust, and the other for DeDominic, one of the founders of NAWBO-SB.

Each winner of the NAWBO-SB Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award received an engraved crystal award from Tiffany & Co. and a free year’s membership in NAWBO-SB.

— Karen Dwyer is the public relations chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara Chapter.

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