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2016 soe awardsThe Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Foundation’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ are designed to recognize the contributions of outstanding women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County 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 cash 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.

The gala Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards Dinner was held on Friday, May 6, 2016 at the lovely Bacara Resort. 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.

The winners of the 2016 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are:

2016 winners

Seated: Kristi Cooper, Pilates Anytime (Media/Communications): Judy Hawkins, Ruby Road Leadership (Professional Services); Sara Miller McCune, SAGE Publications (Rock Star), and Robin Walker, Core Fitness Training (Health);

Standing: Randee Disraeli, Kanaloa Seafood (Green/Social Entrepreneurship); Sherry Villanueva, Acme Hospitality (Hospitality/Tourism); Norah Eddy, Salty Girl Seafood (Emerging Business), Mahri Kerley, Chaucer's Books (Retail); Nathalie Gensac, Youth Interactive (Nonprofit); Andrea Neal, Blue Ocean Sciences (Science/Technology); Lynda Weinman, Emcee and founder of lynda.com, and Morgan Clendenen, Cold Heave Cellars (Agricultural/Wineries). | 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.


NEW – 2016 Santa Barbara Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award - $10,000

This important, separately funded Award was given out for the first time at our 2016 Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards to Andrea Neal, Ph.D, for her company, Blue Ocean Sciences, Ltd.

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 County. The winner is selected by the donors to this Award, who are successful entrepreneurs living in Santa Barbara. All the winners of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards who have been in business five years or less are eligible for the SB Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award. This year, the donors, who included Lynda Weinman and Sara Miller McCune, among others, selected Andrea.


2016 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 2016 Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards, where a total of $12,500 of cash prizes (as well as scholarships) were given to the winning students.

Learn more about the student winners here »


2016 Lifetime Achievement Winner

The 2016 Life Achievement Award Winner is Sara Miller McCune, founder of SAGE Publications, a truly amazing role model. You can read more about Sara here »


The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ Photos

event photos To see a slideshow by Linda Blue from the 2016 SOE Awards, click here »


The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ Video

Watch the video of the 2015 Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards Ceremony by Lisa Angle of ninetydegreesmedia.com, click here »


The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards™ Press

Santa Barbara News Press


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