The gala awards event will honor eight women, who exemplify what it means to be a successful entrepreneur, as well as the student winners of a business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge, which takes place May 4, put on by Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This collaboration is designed to celebrate entrepreneurship at all levels in Santa Barbara County. Both the women and student winners will receive their awards at the May 11 dinner.

Susan Johnson, president of NAWBO-SB Foundation, said the partnership with the Scheinfeld Center is a great opportunity for both organizations.

“We know that women-owned businesses are one of the key drivers in the economic recovery,” Johnson said. “We had nearly 70 women nominated for our Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards this year, so it was not easy for our independent judges to select winners in the eight categories. At the same time, we believe it is important to support future entrepreneurs, which is why the proceeds from our Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner go toward prizes for the student winners of the Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge.”

The New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered business plan competition for SBCC and Antioch University students, as well as South Coast high school students, to promote youth entrepreneurship. April 26 is the deadline for students to submit their business plans for the competition.

“The New Venture Challenge gives our local high school and college students an opportunity to showcase their business concepts to the community,” Scheinfeld Center Director Melissa Moreno said. “Thanks to our generous donors including Bank of Santa Barbara,, Deckers Outdoor Corp., Montecito Bank & Trust and NAWBO-SB Foundation, the winning students will be receiving scholarships or start-up cash worth a total of $15,000.” The Bank of Santa Barbara is a premier sponsor providing a five-year scholarship fund to the high school winners., Deckers Outdoor Corp., and Montecito Bank & Trust sponsored cash awards for the collegiate winners.

Collegiate judges include: Lynda Weinman, co-founder of, who is the keynote speaker at the May11 awards dinner; hi-tech entrepreneur Jacques Habra; and Christopher Morales of Montecito Bank & Trust.

Students are first judged on their application by Small Business Development Center volunteers. About 15 finalists will be invited to pitch their plans in the New Venture Challenge on May 4 on the SBCC west campus in the Fe Bland Forum beginning at 2:30 p.m. The community is welcome to attend.

Information about tickets and sponsorships for the NAWBO-SB Foundation Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner are available at or by contacting Cathy Feldman, NAWBO-SB Foundation Board chair at (805) 682-8380.

For more information about the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s New Venture Challenge, go to


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