Nominations are now open for the fifth annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards, the most prestigious awards for women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County. The winners will be announced at the gala Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on Friday, May 8, 2015 where Lynda Weinman, co-founder/executive chair of lynda.com, will be the emcee. Outstanding women entrepreneurs will be recognized their success and contributions to the economy in eleven categories:*
• Emerging Business (1-3 years)
• Green/Social Entrepreneurs
• Hospitality, Tourism
• Media & Communication
• Professional Services
• Science & Technology
• Wholesale, Manufacturing, Global Trade
The nominations are open to any woman entrepreneur in Santa Barbara County. “We have created more categories this year to better align them with the growth sectors in the County, ” says Cathy Feldman, Board Chair/CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation. “Anyone can nominate herself or someone else by going to our website, www.soefoundation.org and clicking on Nominations. Filling out the form is easy, and we encourage everyone to submit their nominations as soon as possible since the deadline is March 6.”
Feldman points out that the selection of the winners is be done by “independent judges who are not connected with the Foundation and do not live in Santa Barbara to preserve the integrity of the Awards.” The top three nominees in each category will be announced at the end of March. The winners will be named for the first time at the Awards dinner at the Fess Parker Resort on May 8, just like the Oscars. One additional award whose winner is selected by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Board, the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award, will be announced separately in a few weeks.
Proceeds from the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards benefit the student winners of the SBCC Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge, a two-tiered business pitch competition for area high school and collegiate students that promotes youth entrepreneurship. The winners of both tiers of the New Venture Challenge Awards will be the Foundation’s guests and receive their prizes at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner.
“The mission of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation is to support entrepreneurship at all levels in Santa Barbara County because entrepreneurs are the engine for growing our economy,” Feldman added. “By recognizing women entrepreneurs for the benefit of student entrepreneurs, we believe we are making an important contribution to that growth.”