Spirit of Entrepreneur Awards

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship (SOE) Foundation held their 7th annual awards dinner at the Coral Casino, honoring women and helping students with their ideas and businesses. During cocktail hour, we could check out the Start Up showcase for both high school students and those from the Scheinfeld Center of Entrepreneurship at SBCC. Winners are recognized with a total of $15,000 in cash and scholarship awards. Something like Shark Tank on TV. There had been a prior business-pitch competition with three high school and three college students winning.

Three hundred folks were there to cheer on their favorite entrepreneurs. There were 33 women from Santa Barbara and Ventura nominated for 11 categories. As Caroline MacDougall from the foundation board told us, “The judges are all from outside our area, so there will be no discrimination.” She gave credit to Cathy Feldman, who is board chair/CEO and founder of the nonprofit.

Mistress of Ceremonies was former winner Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com, one of the most successful online learning companies today. As she said, “This event has elevated itself.”

And the winners are: Hospitality / Tourism April Hoff; Media/Communications Gillian Christie; Nonprofit Janet Reineck; Professional Services Alelia Parenteau; Retail Fay Doe; Science/Tech Payal Kamdar; Wholesale/Manufacturing/Global Trade Jeanne David; Agricultural/Wineries Ashley Farrell; Emerging Business Alexis Shomer; Green/Social Entrepreneur Heather Hochrein; and Health Emilee Garfield. They received an engraved crystal award from Tiffany, featuring on the SOEFoundation website, and recognition and promotional opportunities to showcase their businesses throughout the year.

The special spotlight shone on Pamela Webber, who was given the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award. As Montecito Bank & Trust president/chair Janet Garufus said, “Pam was unanimously chosen for this honor.” She came to us from England in 1956 with her husband and 4-year-old daughter. She ended up managing the Hacienda Motel and later bought the Pepper Tree Inn. Now she owns five hotels (Santa Barbara Hotel Group) and has devoted her life to making our town a destination for tourists. Rock on, Pam.

-Montecito Journal

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