Sunday, January 21 , 2018, 3:51 am | Fair 48º

 
 
 
 

Business

Spirit of Entrepreneurship Alive and Well at Awards Gala Honoring Local Businesswomen

Santa Barbara event highlights the work of the 11 honorees, and gives finalists in SBCC's New Venture Challenge a platform for pitching their business ideas

Elizabeth Wisniewski, right, receives an award in the emerging business category during the fifth annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards on Friday night. Wisniewski, who is blind but started Genuine Chiropractic, stands on stage with event emcee Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com.
Elizabeth Wisniewski, right, receives an award in the emerging business category during the fifth annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards on Friday night. Wisniewski, who is blind but started Genuine Chiropractic, stands on stage with event emcee Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

A vibrant spirit of invention accompanied 11 of Santa Barbara County’s most accomplished businesswomen Friday night, as the notable ladies were honored at the 2015 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards gala.

With expertise spanning design, catering, publishing and more, the women were surrounded by hundreds of adoring fans gathered at The Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara.

For the first time in the awards event’s five-year history, student entrepreneurs were also given a stage to strut and pitch their business ideas during a Spirit of Entrepreneurship Startup Showcase.

More than a dozen student finalists from Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge stood behind tables before the main event as part of a new initiative by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts the awards.

The event typically highlights only the winners but was opened up this year to all student finalists, said Cathy Feldman, CEO and board chair of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.

Among the young entrepreneurs was Kadie Pulliam, a 17-year-old Lompoc High School student who earned third place in the high school competition for the Blue Puzzle Project, a business that aims to raise money and awareness for autism by selling T-shirts.

Santa Barbara High School sophomore Elizabeth Avila was one of the finalists, launching her business called Common Ground. She sells handmade jewelry to benefit a tribe in Paraguay and the local community.

“I think this is just an amazing opportunity,” Avila said of being at Friday’s event.

Spirit Entrepreneurship
Santa Barbara High School sophomore Elizabeth Avila, a finalist in the SBCC Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge high school competition, discusses her Common Ground business with an attendee of Friday evening's Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards. Avila sells handmade jewelry to benefit a tribe in Paraguay and the local community. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Feldman said the 11 woman entrepreneurs were selected from 33 finalists and more than 90 nominees countywide, with each winner receiving an engraved award from Tiffany.

Lynda Weinman, who co-founded Carpinteria-based lynda.com, an online catalog of education courses that was recently purchased by networking giant LinkedIn.com, served as MC again this year, committing to come back again for the 2016 ceremony.

Receiving top honors was Dorothy Largay, who took home the Rock Star Achievement Award for her work at the Linked Foundation and other endeavors.

Other winners included Kimberly True of True Nature Design in the agriculture/wineries category; Elizabeth Wisniewski of Genuine Chiropractic for emerging business, Marge Cafarelli, developer of the Alma Del Pueblo project, for green/social entrepreneurship; Sandra Hirsch of Isolite Systems in the health category; Lynette La Mere of Pure Joy Catering for hospitality/tourism; and Kim Wiseley of Flutter Magazine for media/communications.

Rounding out the list of winners was Marsha Bailey of Women’s Economic Ventures for the nonprofit award; Lisa Grossmann of Nannies2Go received the professional services award; Anne Pazier of Santa Barbara Gift Baskets got the retail award; Anupama Vaid of ParentSquare won the science/technology award; and Kristin Fraser of The Grapeseed Company was awarded in the wholesale/manufacturing/global trade category.

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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties


Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
"We both love this business. We strive to make life long relationships from each real estate transaction."

Full Profile >