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SBCC Scheinfeld Center Announces Student Winners of New Venture Challenge

Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation has announced the student winners for its fourth annual New Venture Challenge that took place last Friday at the Fé Bland Forum on SBCC’s West Campus.

The $5,000 collegiate grand prize went to a team of five SBCC students for inventing a retractable and quick release surfboard leash (Doni Nahmias, Kian Maalizaden, Shawn Michael, Paige Grandstaff and Sara Skaugrud).

The winning product, Re-Leash, helps make surfing safer. Nahmias and his team worked around the clock to prepare the winning pitch. The product was developed in SBCC’s popular Enterprise Launch course, where students develop a product or service in a single semester. This course consistently produces winners of the New Venture Challenge.

Last year’s winning concept, also from Enterprise Launch, Fertile Grounds, hit the Whole Foods shelf this week, after only one year in development.

The second-place collegiate award ($3,000) went to SBCC alumna and current Antioch University student Adele De Batz for Goddess Moto. This company creates sleek motorcycle wear for women riders. The third-place collegiate award ($2,000) went to SBCC student Tom Garnett for Monocool, bringing the classic monocle to the modern world.

In a standing-room-only event, the presenters’ nerves were palpable.

“Every single pitch was impressive and offered the audience a wide variety of products — from a beach yoga mat to an app to avoid parking tickets. These students worked so hard to get to this point. This was our most competitive challenge to date and our judges had a really difficult time,” said Melissa Moreno, Scheinfeld Center director.

The collegiate judges were a formidable team, including Lynda Weinman ( and Kathy Odell (NutraHealth Partners).

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered pitch competition honoring the business concepts of local college and high school students. $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.

At the high school level, first place went to Santa Ynez High School student Izack Romero presenting iGot It Repairs, a mobile cell phone repair company; second place went to Santa Barbara High School student Pablo Valladares for ReBin, a solution for on-campus trash, and third went to Santa Barbara High School student Tayler Barry for Think Bright Graphics, a low-cost graphics service for fledgling entrepreneurs.

The winners will receive their awards at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards banquet this Friday, 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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