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Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner to Honor Local Women and Student Entrepreneurs

Some of the past winners at Wednesday's news conference were, from left, Calla Gold of Calla Gold Jewelery, 2014 Retail winner; Darya Bronston of Core Fitness Roller, 2013 Science & Technology winner; Betty Hatch of, 2014 Rock Star: Life Achievement Award; and Carol Ashley of Demo2Design, 2012 Real Estate & Construction winner. (Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation photo)

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation is excited to announce the fifth annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner on May 8 at The Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort.

The gala awards event will honor 12 women who exemplify what it means to be a successful entrepreneur as well as the student winners of a business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge, put on by Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This unique collaboration is designed to celebrate entrepreneurship at all levels in Santa Barbara County. Both the women and student winners will receive their awards at the dinner on May 8 from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m.

Some of the past winners meeting at a news conference Wednesday included: Calla Gold of Calla Gold Jewelery, 2014 Retail winner; Darya Bronston of Core Fitness Roller, 2013 Science & Technology winner; Betty Hatch of, 2014 Rock Star: Life Achievement Award; and Carol Ashley of Demo2Design, 2012 Real Estate & Construction winner.

Board members and past winners met Wednesday to discuss the plans for the upcoming event. According to Cathy Feldman, board chair/CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, the partnership with the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is a great opportunity for both organizations.

“We know that entrepreneurship is one of the key drivers in the economy and women business owners are one of the fastest growing groups,” Feldman says. “We had over 90 women nominated for our Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards this year, so it was not easy for our independent judges to select winners in each of the categories. At the same time, we believe it is important to support future entrepreneurs, which is why the proceeds from our Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner go toward prizes (in the form of seed money) and scholarships for the student winners of the Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge.”

The Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge competition is a two-tiered business plan competition for the region’s college and high school students to promote youth entrepreneurship.

Julie Samson, the director of the Scheinfeld Center, points out, “The New Venture Challenge gives our high school and college students an opportunity to showcase their business concepts to the community. Thanks to our generous donors including Bank of Santa Barbara, Montecito Bank and Trust and the SOE Foundation, the winning students will be receiving scholarships or start-up cash, totaling at least $15,000.”

From left, Cathy Feldman, board chair/CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation; Darya Bronston of Core Fitness Roller; Julie Samson, director of the SBCC Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship; and Melissa Moreno, dean of educational programs at SBCC. (Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation photo)

Samson and Feldman cite some examples of the successes that have been achieved by both the student and women winners. The top high school winner in 2014 founded iGot It Repairs three years ago and no repairs iPhones, iPads, Android phones, etc., all over the Santa Ynez Valley and in Santa Barbara as well. Izack Romero has created a thriving business by coming to his customers to fix all their mobile devices. Now a freshman at SBCC, he plans to enter this year’s New Venture Challenge with a new product.

The winning women entrepreneurs serve as role models for the students and have their own success stories. In addition to the entrepreneurs shown, other examples include Amy Chalker of Isabella Gourmet Foods, the 2014 winner of the Emerging Business Award, has expanded her business to include an organic wine bar. Kathy Odell, who won the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award in 2013, has become CEO of another growing company, Nutrahealth Partners.

Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chair of, will once again be the emcee. And one of the women winners has already been announced: Dorothy Largay, will receive the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award for 2015 for an amazing career that spanned the world. She leads the LinkedFoundation in Santa Barbara.

Prior to the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner, the guests and public are invited to meet all the high school and collegiate finalists from the New Venture Challenge and learn more about their proposed businesses from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at The Fess Parker's Plaza del Sol, where there will be the first Spirit of Entrepreneurship Startup Showcase.

Information about tickets and sponsorships for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner is available by clicking here, or contact Feldman at 805.682.8775 or [email protected].

— Cathy Feldman is board chair and CEO for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.


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