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SBCC Scheinfeld Center Announces Student Finalists for New Venture Challenge

Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation announces student finalists for its fourth annual New Venture Challenge to take place from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Fé Bland Forum on SBCC’s West Campus.

This event is open to the public and free of charge. However, seating is limited and first come, first served.

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered pitch competition honoring the business concepts of local college and high school students. The $15,000 in cash awards for the collegiate winners is generously supported by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, Montecito Bank & Trust and The Bank of Santa Barbara has sponsored a $25,000 rolling scholarship fund for the high school winners.

Last year’s winning concept, Fertile Grounds, hit the Whole Foods shelf this week, after only one year in development. In an unprecedented collaborative effort by students from both SBCC (Cindy Gutierrez) and Allan Hancock College (Paulo Tomas), the concept began by collecting used coffee grinds around campus, drying them and repackaging them as a soil amendment. They discovered that liquefying the grounds was easier and bottled the amendment in what is now a coffee-based soil amendment — great for flowers and vegetables in your garden.

“Watching them start this company was nothing short of amazing and now, just one year later, it is on the shelf at Whole Foods," Scheinfeld Center director Melissa Moreno said. "Nothing is more gratifying to me than to see our students succeed.”

The collegiate finalists will present between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Friday and include SBCC students Mathieu Montecot for Jean Lois; Doni Nahmias, Kian Maalizaden, Shawn Michael, Paige Grandstaff and Sara Skaugrud for Re-Leash, Tom Garnett for Monocool; Jesse Sheppard, Curtis Crispin and Devyn Garly-Carr for Phoenix Sunglasses; Kathy McColm for BabyHatz; and Antioch University students Corinna Bernasko for YoBe, Joan Mayer for TransPaw GearT, Natasha Bruskin for Dashing Dog Diner, Adele De Batz for Goddess Moto and Mats Myhre for ParkingTic.

The high school finalists are scheduled to present between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Friday and include Santa Barbara High School students Sergio Garcia, Hector Avila and Rebecca Ruiz for SBici; Taylor Barry for Think Bright Graphics; Pablo Valladares from Dos Pueblos High School for ReBin; Brindi Martinez for Brindle Bee Skincare; and from Santa Ynez High School, Izack Romero for iGotIt Repairs.

Student winners will be chosen by an esteemed panels of judges including Lynda Weinman of, Kathy Odell of NutraHealth Partners, Christopher Morales with Montecito Bank & Trust, Michael Holliday with Synergy Business & Technology Center, Gary Kravetz with SCORE and John Richardson, a chief technologist. Winners are announced following each tier, and they will receive their awards at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards banquet the following week, on May 9 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.

The awards banquet serves as a fundraiser for next year’s awards, and the attendance of the student winners and their guests are generously sponsored by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is co-sponsored in part by the Santa Barbara County Small Business Development Center, a public service offering no-cost one-on-one counseling and coaching to small business owners, and the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board.

For more information, please visit the Scheinfeld Center website by clicking here.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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