9th Annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Reveals Winners

(May 9, 2019)  12 Local Women Entrepreneurs and 6 Student Entrepreneurs Honored

It was not until Caroline MacDougall, Founder & CEO of Teeccino and previous SOE award winner, opened the envelope and read “the winner is…” that the 30 finalists found out who was going home with a Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. The event, held May 3rd at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, honored women entrepreneurs from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The winners in 10 categories were selected from the 30 finalists by a panel of independent judges who live outside the area and are not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. Additionally, Women’s Economic Venture’s League of Extraordinary Women members selected Caleigh Hernandez (RoHo) as the winner of the Successful Women Giving Back Award. Hernandez was awarded a $10,000 grant and a business support package valued at $6,000 at the event.

“These were not easy decisions for our judges to make since we had 30 outstanding women entrepreneurs who have all overcome many obstacles to build successful businesses,” said Marsha Bailey, Founder & CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures, presenter of the SOE Awards. “The numbers speak for themselves. Combined, the 30 impressive finalists have gross revenues that total approximately $18 million and employ more than 300 people in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. They are a great example of the impact women business owners make onto our local economy.”

The previously announced Rock Star: Life Achievement Award winner, Carol Duncan, owner and CEO of Rusty’s Pizza Parlors, was also honored surrounded by family and friends. Duncan was selected for this prestigious award based on the success of Rusty’s as well as for her many contributions to the community.

Winners by category:

Arts & Entertainment:  Laurie Gross, Laurie Gross Studios www.lauriegrossstudios.com

Green & Social Entrepreneur:  Emily Barany, VISIONALITY www.visionalitypartners.com

Hospitality & Tourism:  Leanne Schlinger, Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals www.santaynezvacationrentals.com

Health & Wellness:  Carmen Curtis, The Aerial Studio www.theaerialstudio.net

Media & Communications:  Jamie Edlin, Hollywood & Wine www.hollywoodandwine.net

Nonprofit:  Jen Baron, Girls Rock Santa Barbara www.girlsrocksb.org

Professional Services: Sara Caputo, Sara Caputo Consulting www.saracaputoconsulting.com

Retail: Claudia Cordova Rucker, Aqua skin and nail bar www.aquaskinandnailcare.com

Science & Technology, Shawn Sullivan, Above All Aviation www.aboveallsba.com

Wholesale, Manufacturing & Online Retail: Andrea Ridgell, Glop & Glam www.glopandglam.com

Rock Star: Life Achievement Award: Carol Duncan, Rusty’s Pizza www.rustyspizza.com

Successful Women Giving Back Award:  Caleigh Hernandez, Rojo loveroho.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 SOE 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.

Collegiate Winners:
Abel Amoes, SBCC, Propria Mixa, 1st place – $5,500,
Karsten Heideman, SBCC, Droplit, 2nd place – $3,000,
Giuseppe Dattilo, SBCC, Dattilo Custom Leather Goods, 3rd place – $2,000

High School Winners:
Eva Moschitto & Emily Steidl, San Marcos High School, Pressed Apron, 1st place – $1,000,
Anne Burdette, Mariana Rodriguez, Bella Comati, Orion Guevara, Anacapa School, One4One, 2nd place -$600,
Fiona Kinsella, San Marcos High School, Fiona Kinsella Designs, 3rd place – $400

Major sponsors of the 2019 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards were Montecito Bank & Trust, Bank of the West, Southern California Edison, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Nicholson & Schwartz, and Wells Fargo. All proceeds raised will go toward funding the student prizes and scholarships.

Group photo by Linda Blue Photography.  To arrange interviews or request high-resolution photos, please contact Alisa Robakowski at 805.456.2326 or arobakowski@wevonline.org # # # #

About Spirit of Entrepreneurship, a program of Women’s Economic Ventures: In 2018, the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation was acquired by Women’s Economic Ventures, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation operating in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The mission of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ program is to bring together business, education, entrepreneurs and students for workforce and economic development. The SOE program supports entrepreneurship at all levels in our area. We recognize the contributions of outstanding women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties while supporting future economic growth through the recognition, financial support, and education of high school and college student entrepreneurs. These Awards allow the SOE program to fulfill its goal of encouraging future economic growth in our region.