Announcing the Winners of the 2017 ‘Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards’

On the evening of May 5 at the Four Seasons Biltmore’s Coral Casino, Lynda Weinman, co-founder of and president of the SBIFF, asked for “The envelope, please,” and revealed the eleven outstanding women entrepreneurs who have won the 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards. The winners were selected from 33 finalists in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties by independent judges who live outside the area and are not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, the non-profit that hosts this unique event. Each recipient received a beautiful engraved award from Tiffany.

Winners of the 2017
Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards:

Ashley Farrell, Ashley Farrell Landscape Design (Agriculture/Wineries); Tara Jones Haaf, Eat This, Shoot That! (Hospitality/Tourism); Jeanne David, Outer Aisle Gourmet (Wholesale/Retail/Global Trade); Fay Doe, Underground Hair Artists (Retail)

Emilee Garfield, The Loft: Emilee’s Pilates & Yoga (Health); Payal Kamdar, vSolvit (Science/Technology); Alexis Schomer, RepWatch (Emerging Business); Janet Reineck, World Dance for Humanity (Nonprofit); Gillian Christie, Christie & Co (Media/Communications).

Cathy Feldman, Board Chair, SOE Foundation; Pamela Webber, Santa Barbara Hotel Group (Life Achievement); Lynda Weinman, co-founder,

Heather Hochrein, EVmatch (Green/Social Entrepreneurship); Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School (Professional Services)
Photo by Linda Blue Photography

“These eleven winners were recognized for their achievements as entrepreneurs in diverse and forward-thinking businesses,” according to Cathy Feldman, Board Chair and CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation. “Together, these 33 amazing finalists we are honoring tonight have gross revenues that total approximately $16 million and employ more than 400 people in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. This demonstrates the importance of women business owners to our local economy,” Feldman added.

The previously announced Rock Star: Life Achievement Award winner, Pamela Webber, Founder of the family-owned Santa Barbara Hotel Group, was also honored at the gala event in the presence of her many friends.

And the 2017 women winners are:

Ashley Farrell, Ashley Farrell Landscape Design,

Emerging Business:
Alexis Schomer, RepWatch,

Green/Social Entrepreneurship:
Heather Hochrein, EVmatch,

Emilee Garfield, The Loft: Emilee’s Pilates & Yoga,

Tara Jones Haaf, Eat This, Shoot That!,

Gillian Christie, Christie & Co.,

Janet Reineck, World Dance for Humanity,

Professional Services:
Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School,

Fay Doe, Underground Hair Artists,

Payal Kadmar, vSolvit,

Jeanne David, Outer Aisle Gourmet,

Rock Star: Life Achievement
Pamela Webber, Santa Barbara Hotel Group, HYPERLINKhttp://www.sbhotels.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 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.

And the Student winners of the 2017 New Venture Challenge are:

Collegiate Winners:

Silvia Franco-Comer, SBCC, Casa del Comer Salsa (2nd place-$3,000); Julie Samson, Director of SBCC Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Thomas Lundgard, SBCC, Meraki Surf (1st place-$5,500); Piper Lovegreen, SBCC, Piper Swimwear (3rd place-$2,000)

High School Winners:

Elizabeth Kravchuk, San Marcos HS, TuneIn phone app (1st place-$1,000); Kaely Cleary, San Marcos HS, EcoFresh Air Scents (2nd place-$600); Zoe Drum and Lauren Worthy, San Marcos HS, Revive Clothing (3rd place-$400)

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are designed to acknowledge the contributions of women entrepreneurs to the local economy in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, as well as to support future economic growth through the recognition and education of student entrepreneurs.

To arrange interviews with Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation’s CEO and Board President, Cathy Feldman, speak with any of the women award winners, or request high-resolution photos, please contact Joni Kelly, Communications Manager at 805-886-1869 or via email at For more information about the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards go to, email, or call 805-682-8380.


Cathy Feldman, CEO

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