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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Top Student Business Plan Wins Seed Money at Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College student Justin Connell’s Garden on Wheels business plan won first place May 4 at the SBCC Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s second annual New Venture Challenge competition.


The New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered business plan competition for students from Antioch University, SBCC and South Coast high schools who competed for $15,000 in start-up funds, said Scheinfeld Center Director Melissa Moreno.

Garden on Wheels is an elevated mobile garden for people who are unable bend and lack very much space. The 38-inch-tall wooden garden has a sealed bed and draining system that recycle water and a tool rack.

Judges for the student finalists included Lynda.com co-founder Lynda Weinman, Noospheric founder Jacques Habra and Montecito Bank & Trust associate Chris Morales

Connell said he has sold six of his gardens and has received calls from across the country about them. He sold a model to Emeritus Senior Living, which might purchase gardens for its 500 facilities.

Kitchens of Africa by Patience Ncube won second place. Ncube developed an organic pepper sauce made from dried shrimp, smoked herring, vegetables and spices. An African immigrant, Ncube says no African restaurants or goods in supermarkets are on the South Coast. She plans to sell the sauce to retail stores, supermarkets and online.

Adam Kopras’ Santa Barbara Succulent Art took third place. His living walls made of redwood are planted with succulent plants that need little water. They can be made to grow on walls, fences and indoors, Kopras said.

Winners were selected for the concepts that will have the most viability in the market place, Habra said.

Other college finalists included Juice by Jennica Diaz; Treefish Inn by Scott Cohen; DN Fitness by Jeffrey Englert; CShell Boutique by Courtney Cunningham; Fuel Box by Robert Herr, Erik Stuckey and Dan Friedman; and Joesf by Josef Demangeat.

In the high school competition, Duck Butter by Santa Barbara High School students Jeremy Wallop and Shane Meares won first place. Fun Support Organization by Lompoc High School student Jose Guerrero took second place, and the Ubuntu Box by Santa Barbara High students Olivia Alvarado, Alyssa Espinosa, Brandon Smith and Johnathan Ramos won third place.

Other finalists included Good by Santa Barbara High students Daniela Orozco, Jenny Aguilar, Teon West and Juan-Diego Lopez; Rising Sun Café by Dos Pueblos High School students Sean Handley, Jim Lam and Connor Colton; Swage Clothing by Santa Ynez High School student Robert Park; and Pack a Closet by San Marcos High School students Yazeed Alhashim, Maria Perez, Crystal Flores and Kristy Hernandez.

Volunteer judges from the Small Business Development Center selected the finalists. Student prizes will be awarded Friday at the National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort & Hotel. Eight local women entrepreneurs also will receive awards at that dinner, which raised the funds for the student prizes.

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