Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Presented

Winners — back row: Ashley Farrell, Tara Jones Haaf, Jeanne David, Fay Doe. Middle row: Emilee Garfield, Alexis Schomer, Janet Reineck, Gillian Christie. Front row: Cathy Feldman, Pamela Webber, Lynda Weinman. Not shown: Heather Hochrein, Alelia Parenteau. (Linda Blue Photography)


On May 5 at the Four Seasons Biltmore’s Coral Casino, Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com, asked for “the envelope, please,” and revealed the 11 outstanding women entrepreneurs who won the 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.

The winners were selected from 33 finalists in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties by independent judges who live outside the area and aren’t connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts this unique event.

Each recipient received an engraved award from Tiffany.

“These eleven winners were recognized for their achievements as entrepreneurs in diverse and forward-thinking businesses,” said Cathy Feldman, board chair and CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.

“Together, these 33 amazing finalists we are honoring tonight have gross revenues that total approximately $16 million and employ more than 400 people in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties,” Feldman said.

“This demonstrates the importance of women business owners to our local economy,” she said.

The previously announced Rock Star: Life Achievement Award winner Pamela Webber, founder of the family-owned Santa Barbara Hotel Group, also was honored at the gala event in the presence of her many friends.

The 2017 women winners are:

Agricultural/Wineries: Ashley Farrell, Ashley Farrell Landscape Design, ashleyfarrelldesign.com

Emerging Business: Alexis Schomer, RepWatch, www.RepWatchTech.com

Green/Social Entrepreneurship: Heather Hochrein, EVmatch, www.EVmatch.com

Health: Emilee Garfield, The Loft: Emilee’s Pilates & Yoga, www.emileegarfieldcoaching.com

Hospitality/Toursim: Tara Jones Haaf, Eat This, Shoot That!, EatThisShootThat.com

Media/Communications: Gillian Christie, Christie & Co., www.christieand.co

Nonprofit: Janet Reineck, World Dance for Humanity, http://worlddanceforhumanity.org/

Professional Services: Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School, http://www.iSurfSchool.com

Retail: Fay Doe, Underground Hair Artists, www.undergroundhairartists.com

Science/Technology: Payal Kadmar, vSolvit, http://www.vSolvit.com

Wholesale/Global/Manufacturing: Jeanne David, Outer Aisle Gourmet, http://www.outeraislegourmet.com

Rock Star: Life Achievement: Pamela Webber, Santa Barbara Hotel Group, http://www.sbhotels.com



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

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

The student winners as well as the finalists all had their products and services on display at the Student Startup Showcase that preceded the event and was open to the public.

Student winners of the 2017 New Venture Challenge are:


Collegiate Winners:

Thomas Lundgard, SBCC, Meraki Surf (first place-$5,500); Silvia Franco-Comer, SBCC, Casa del Comer Salsa (second place-$3,000) and Piper Lovegreen, SBCC, Piper Swimwear (third place-$2,000)


High School Winners:

Elizabeth Kravchuk, TuneIn phone app (first place-$1,000); Kaely Cleary, EcoFresh Air Scents (second place-$600); Zoe Drum and Lauren Worthy, Revive Clothing (third place-$400), all from San Marcos High School.


The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are designed to acknowledge the contributions of women entrepreneurs to the local economy in Santa Barbara and

Ventura counties, as well as to support future economic growth through the recognition and education of student entrepreneurs.


For more information about the awards, visit www.soefoundation.org, email info@soefoundation.org, or call 682-8380.


—  Cathy Feldman for Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.





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