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2017 soe awardsThe Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Foundation’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ are designed to recognize the contributions of outstanding women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties to the economy as well as to support future economic growth through the recognition, financial support, and education of student entrepreneurs. In a very real way, we honor women entrepreneurs for the benefit of student entrepreneurs.

Working with the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship at Santa Barbara City College, the Foundation provides prizes (in the form of seed capital), and scholarships top three high school and collegiate student entrepreneurs (or teams of students) who win the Scheinfeld Center's New Venture Challenge business pitch competition.

lynda weinmanThe gala Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards Dinner Dinner was held on Friday, May 5, 2017 at the lovely Coral Casino of the Four Seasons Biltmore. It began with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Startup Showcase featuring all finalists and winners of the Scheinfeld Center's New Venture Challenge at both the high school and collegiate level.

Lynda Weinman, co-founder and former executive chair of lynda.com and currently President of the SBIFF, as well as an amazing role model, was our MC for a wonderful evening of great food and inspiring stories of the women and student entrepreneurs.

For more about the 2017 winning women and students, click on the links below.


The winners of the 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are:

2017 winners

Back Row: Ashley Farrell, Ashley Farrell Landscape Design (Agriculture/Wineries); Tara Jones Haaf, Eat This, Shoot That! (Hospitality/Tourism); Jeanne David, Outer Aisle Gourmet (Wholesale/Retail/Global Trade); Fay Doe, Underground Hair Artists (Retail)

Middle Row: Emilee Garfield, The Loft: Emilee’s Pilates & Yoga (Health); Payal Kamdar, vSolvit (Science/Technology); Alexis Schomer, RepWatch (Emerging Business); Janet Reineck, World Dance for Humanity (Nonprofit); Gillian Christie, Christie & Co (Media/Communications)

Seated: Cathy Feldman, Board Chair, SOE Foundation; Pamela Webber, Santa Barbara Hotel Group (Life Achievement); Lynda Weinman, co-founder, lynda.com

Not shown: Heather Hochrein, EVmatch (Green/Social Entrepreneurship); Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School (Professional Services)

Photo by Linda Blue Photography

In recognition for her achievement, each winner received a beautifully engraved crystal award from Tiffany & Co., and they will all be highlighted and profiled throughout the year.

To learn more about the winning women and their products/services, click here »


Winner: 2017 Successful Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award - $10,000

Jeanne DavidThis important, separately funded Award was given out to Jeanne David, founder of Outer Aisle Gourmet.

The award was set up to recognize and financially support an outstanding new business founded by a woman entrepreneur who is creating value and job opportunities in her new endeavor in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The winner was selected by the donors to this Award who are successful entrepreneurs living in the area. All the winners of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards who have been in business five years or less are eligible for the Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award.

To learn more about Jeanne, click here »


2017 Student Winners

Special thanks to Montecito Bank & Trust, Southern California Edison, Bank of the West, Cox Media, and our many other amazing sponsors for helping to underwriting student awards for the 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards, where a total of $12,500 of cash prizes (as well as $4,000 in available scholarships) were given to the winning students.

To learn more about the winning students and their products/services, click here »


2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

pam webberThe 2017 Life Achievement Award Winner is Pamela Webber, owner of the Santa Barbara Hotel group. She was also an early environmentalist and helped make Santa Barbara the tourist destination it has become.

To learn more about Pamela click here »

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ Photos

event photos To see a slideshow by Linda Blue from the 2017 SOE Awards, click here »


The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ 2017 Press


For information about making a contribution to the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Foundation, a 501(c) corporation, please call 805-682-8380.