Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 8:55 am | Overcast 66º



Finalists Named for 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards

The evening of May 5 at the Biltmore’s Coral Casino, Lynda Weinman, founder of, will ask: “The envelope, please…” and reveal the 11 outstanding women entrepreneurs who will be the recipients of the 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.

Winners were selected from more than 100 nominees in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties by independent judges who live outside the Santa Barbara area, and are not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (SOE) Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts the event.

“It is exciting for everyone involved,” says Cathy Feldman, the foundation’s board chair and CEO. “We had an amazing group of candidates this year, and it was hard for our judges to narrow it down to the top three in each of the categories.”

The 33 finalists will be recognized for their achievements at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner.

“These remarkable women have such a variety of enterprises that we think it is important to tell the community about them. In fact, every one of them deserves recognition,” Feldman said.

One recipient, Pamela Webber, was unanimously selected by the foundation board and announced prior to the awards for the impact she has made on the community as a business-owner, tourism pioneer, and early environmentalist.

Webber will be honored as the Rock Star: Life Achievement winner for 2017 at the gala dinner.

Knowing nothing about tourism, she founded what has become the Santa Barbara Hotel Group in the 1950s, and grew it into five properties:

The Inn by the Harbor, Lavender Inn, Best Western Plus Encina Lodge & Suites, Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn, and Brisas del Mar Inn at the Beach.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards also will honor high school and college student winners of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge competition.

Proceeds from the awards dinner will go toward cash prizes, in the form of seed money, as well as scholarships for the winning student entrepreneurs.

Several sponsors also contribute directly to the student awards including Montecito Bank & Trust, Southern California Edison and Bank of the West. This fulfills the foundation’s mission of supporting entrepreneurship at all levels in the Santa Barbara community.

Before the dinner, the guests and public are invited to meet the high school and collegiate finalists from the New Venture Challenge and learn more about their proposed businesses from 5:30-6:30 p..m. on the Coral Casino’s patio at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Student Startup Showcase.

Tickets are available until May 1 and can be purchased at Click on the Buy Tickets Here button. For more information, email [email protected] or call 682-8380.

The 33 finalists for the 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are:

» Agricultural/Wineries

Ashely Farrell, Melissa Sayer, Deborah Shaw

» Emerging Business

Carey Bradshaw, Yvonne Erwin, Alexis Schomer

» Green/Social Entrepreneurship

Heather Hochrain, Marine Schumann, Kristine Sperling

» Health

Jacqui Burge, Emilee Garfield, Melodee Meyer

» Hospitality/Tourism:

April Hoff, Tara Jones Haaf, Nirasha Rodriguez

» Media/Communications

Lindsey Carnett, Gillian Christie, Raiza Giorgi

» Nonprofit

Lynn Houston, Debra Manchester, Janet Reineck

» Professional Services

Hannah Jenner, Alelia Parenteau, Deborah Sweeney

» Retail

Reyna Chavez, Fay Doe, Angela Rosales

» Science/Technology

Marta Alvarez, Kristin Denault, Payal Kamdar

» Wholesale/Manufacturing/Global Trade

Jeanne David, J’nelle Holland, Kirsten Kemp Becker

— Joni Kelly for Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.


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 Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • 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 >

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

Photo of Elizabeth Wagner
Elizabeth Wagner
"I consider myself to be an up front and honest agent and willing to talk my clients out of purchasing a property that isn’t right for them or won’t meet their needs in a year or two."

Full Profile >