On October 29 a group of leaders from organizations that support entrepreneurs throughout Santa Barbara County started a dialogue about how they might partner to expand support of local entrepreneurs. With most net new jobs in the U.S. coming from startups and 50% of the students who graduate from college without jobs when they finish, it is clear that entrepreneurs are now the growth engine of the economy and should be supported.
Hosted by the board of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation in the conference room of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship, the meeting successfully established a rapport that all parties hope will benefit the organizations involved, the economy of the region and the entrepreneurs.
“As a non-membership 501(c)3, the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation is perfectly positioned to encourage this kind of dialogue,” said Cathy Feldman, Board Chair/CEO of the Foundation. “Our only focus is to raise funds to benefit the high school and collegiate student entrepreneurs in our region who participate in SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge. We do this by hosting our annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards in May that celebrate exceptional women entrepreneurs throughout the County. Since we don’t compete with any of these great organizations, we wanted to find out ways we could help them.”
Among the attendees were Kyle Ashby, Startup Weekend; Tommie Rae Barnett, Women in Technology International; Dave Cross, Santa Maria Chamber EDC; Leah Gonzales, WEV; Jose Huitron, Latino Startup Alliance-Central Coast; Doug Lynch, Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet; Ray MacDonald, Workforce Investment Board; Melissa Moreno, Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development Center; Kin Oplinger, Santa Barbara Chamber; Lauro Ortiz, SB Hispanic Chamber; Mike Panesis, UCSB Technology Management Program; Lisa Riolo & Pam Tanese, Workzones; Enrique Ruacho, office of Senator Jackson; Shelby Sim, Goleta Chamber, Bob Vitamonte, SCORE, and Kathy Vreeland, Buellton Chamber.
Feldman said that many of the participants were enthusiastic for another meeting to take place in early 2014 to continue the dialogue and explore some of the ideas that came out of it. “We will be happy to host further meetings,” said Feldman. “Our mission is to support entrepreneurship at all levels in the region and these ‘coffee & collaborations’ are a great way to encourage participation with all organizations with the same goals.”
This week there is a great opportunity for anyone interested in entrepreneurship to meet many of those attending at the Startup Meetup networking event being held on November 7. For more information go to http://www.meetup.com/startupsb/events/137209802/.
Other members of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Board are Kathy Ackley, Fess Parker Resort; Caroline MacDougall, Teeccino Herbal Coffee, Carol Holdsworth, Three.Sixty Marketing & Communications, and Karen Dwyer, Express Employment Professionals.