Open to any woman business owner in Santa Barbara and Ventura County. Nominations close February 20.
SOE Awards Submission
Award submission forms are available to all nominees now through March 9.
Our awards dinner is held on May 1 for all finalists at the Hilton SB Beachfront Resort.
The goal of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards is to support entrepreneurship at all levels in our region. This is accomplished by honoring successful women entrepreneurs for the benefit of high school and college student entrepreneurs.
The Awards are open to any woman business owner in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. *To qualify a woman must own a significant percentage of the business and/or be a founder. For nonprofits, she must be a founder or CEO/Executive Director for at least 5 years and generated a significant increase in impact. Since there is only one award in each category, if a business has multiple women owners, the Spirit of Entrepreneur Foundation recommends that the most active owner be nominated.
 The community is invited to propose nominations. You may nominate yourself or someone else. Select multiple categories if you are unsure which one you belong in. Once the nomination is processed, the nominee will be sent a link to the application form to fill out. If you are nominating someone, she will not be told who has nominated her, though you are welcome to tell her. The nomination form will be considered confidential.
 Each nominee then fills out an application designed with business-specific criteria to assist the judges in assessing the candidates.
The following categories are available:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Green & Social Entrepreneur
- Health & Wellness
- Hospitality & Wellness
- Media & Communications
- Non Profit (Must be the Founder of an organization for social or CEO/Executive Director for 5+ years)
- Professional Services
- Science & Technology
- Wholesale, Manufacturing & Global Trade
- Rock Star: Life Achievement (pre-selected)
To maintain the integrity of the Awards, the top nominees are selected by independent judges, all seasoned entrepreneurs, and business executives, who live outside of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The judges evaluate each candidate based on their applications. The top three nominees are the finalists and the nominee with the highest number of points is the winner in her category.
 The winners are announced at the awards evening in May.
Each Award winner will receive:
- An engraved crystal Award from Tiffany to display in her business,
- Featured on a page dedicated to Award winners on the SOEFoundation.org website,
- Recognition and promotional opportunities to showcase her business throughout the year.
The proceeds from the awards event are used to provide financial support (in the form of seed capital) and scholarships to SB County high school and college students to help them to develop their aspiring businesses and continue their education.
The students are the winners of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge business pitch competition.
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards Dinner is a program of Women's Economic Ventures, a 501(c)3 corporation.
We have increased our support for student entrepreneurs by hosting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Startup Showcase prior to the dinner to introduce all the finalists from the New Venture Challenge to our attendees and others in the community.
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ are open to any woman business owner or nonprofit Executive Director /Founder in Santa Barbara and Ventura County, regardless of the size of her business.
You must meet one of more of the following:
- Founder or Co-Founder and still working in the business or nonprofit
- Owner of a significant percentage of the business
For Nonprofit CEOs or Executive Directors:
• Founder or Co-Founder and still leading the organization
• Leader of the nonprofit for 5 years or more and the organization has significantly increased its impact
The Nomination Form is available on the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ website on the Nominations drop down menu and can be filled out online.
You can nominate yourself and then you will be sent a link to the Awards Submission Form.
The 2020 categories are:
[VIEW ALL DESCRIPTIONS]
- Arts & Entertainment = Businesses involved in the arts and entertainment fields
- Green & Social Entrepreneur = Any business, regardless of industry, focused on improving environment or focused on social good.
- Health & Wellness = Businesses in the health and fitness industry as well as doctors and other health care professionals.
- Hospitality & Wellness = Business categories may include restaurants, caterers, event planners, hospitality, tourism industry.
- Media & Communications = Business categories include public relations, advertising, marketing, publishing or other business that involves media or communications.
- Non Profit = Founder of an organization for social good, or CEO/Executive Director for 5+ years, who has significantly increased impact
- Professional Services = Businesses providing a service in any field, e.g., building, consulting, financial, legal, real estate, etc.
- Retail = All retail businesses.
- Science & Technology = Businesses involved in science, technology, mathematics, engineering, etc.
- Wholesale, Manufacturing & Global Trade = Wholesale and/or manufacturing businesses; global trade.
Don’t see a category that fits? That’s ok! Please select the category you think is the best fit, or even choose multiple categories if you aren't sure. We'll make the final category selection for you.
Either option is available. You can nominate yourself or someone else. All nominations will be considered. However, please only submit one form per nominee.
The SOE Awards and WEV partners with the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Santa Barbara City College, which selects the three student winners at both the high school level and City College level through their New Venture Challenge, a one-day business pitch competition.
The SOE Awards provides the six winners with prizes in the form of seed money to support their successful business plan.
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Startup Showcase takes place immediately prior to the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner. All the finalists, not just the winners, for both levels of Scheinfeld’s New Venture Challenge competition are able to display and pitch their products and services in the patio. This is another part of our effort to promote entrepreneurship.
In addition, scholarships to any four-year college or university are available to all the winning students.
The student winners and their parents attend the Awards dinner as guests of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.
Nominations are open until February 20, 2020. The nominations forms will be closed after that date.
When someone is nominated she will be sent a link to an online application form to complete. This form has been designed with business specific criteria to assist the judges in accessing the nominees. The deadline for final application form submissions is March 5, 2020.
Independent judges who are or have been successful entrepreneurs, select top women entrepreneurs in specific categories to receive the prestigious Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards at the event.
Our judges are successful women entrepreneurs who do not live in Santa Barbara or Ventura counties and are not affiliated with SOE Awards or WEV. The judge the nominees independently, based on the application each entrepreneur submits. It is important to fill out the form with all pertinent information because the judges will know nothing about you or your business except what you include in your application. All applications forms submitted will be treated as confidential and access to them will be strictly limited.
The top three nominees in each category will be notified in advance of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards Event. They will be recognized in press releases prior to the event and at the Awards. The actual winner in each category will not be announced until the Awards Dinner, just like the Academy Awards. Only a very limited number of individuals will have that final information prior to its announcement.
Each award winner will:
- Receive an engraved Award to display in her business
- Be featured on a page dedicated to Award winners on the SOE website
- Be featured in the SOE Awards Newsletter and Facebook page
- Receive recognition and promotional opportunities to showcase her business
- Receive invitations to events held exclusively for winners of the SOE Awards
For the third year, The SOE Awards will include a Successful Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award. This award has a special cash prize that is given to the business of a winners who has been in business for five years or less.
The money is being donated by successful entrepreneurs and they will choose the winner for the cash prize. Last year the award was for $10,000.
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards offer an exciting cash award designed to recognize and financially support an outstanding new business founded by a woman in Santa Barbara or Ventura County. Winners in all of the award categories (except Nonprofit) are eligible for the Successful Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award if their business was founded within the last five years.
This Award is funded by donors who are themselves founders of successful businesses. The exact amount of the Award will be announced at the Awards ceremony evening.
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards Committee selects the recipient of the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award.
Past winners include Carol Duncan, 2019; Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, 2018; Pamela Webber, 2017; Sara Miller McCune, 2016; Dorothy Largay, 2015; and Betty Hatch in 2014, all pioneering women entrepreneurs.
The 2019 Rock Star Award winner will be announced the end of February.