2016 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award Nominations Sought

The sixth annual nonprofit Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards for businesswomen in Santa Barbara County has opened nominations. Deadline is March 6.

Organizer Cathy Feldman said any woman entrepreneur can be nominated by going to the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation website and filling out the online form or by downloading the PDF form. She said self-nominations are welcome.

Outstanding women entrepreneurs will be recognized their success and contributions to the economy in 11 categories: Agriculture/Wineries; Emerging Business, one to three years old; Green/Social Entrepreneurs; Health; Hospitality, Tourism; Media & Communication; Nonprofit; Professional Services; Retail; Science & Technology; Wholesale, Manufacturing, Global Trade. See descriptions of each category on their website.

After the nomination form is received, the nominee will be sent a more detailed application to complete. Three finalists in each category, including the winners, will be selected by an independent panel of judges not from Santa Barbara. Judges are successful women entrepreneurs. Winners will be announced at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards that will be held May 6 at the Bacara Resort & Spa.


Lynda Weinman

Lynda Weinman, co-founder and former executive chair of Lynda.com, will again be emcee for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.

A special cash award will be given and funded separately from the support received for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards. The Santa Barbara Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award is made up of donations from successful business people in Santa Barbara. This cash award will be given to one of the 2016 women winners whose business is less than 5 years old. Donors to the Entrepreneurs Giving Back Award will select the winner and present the check May 6.

Proceeds from the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards event will benefit high school and college student entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County. Students who receive cash prizes as seed money (and some scholarships), are the winners of SBCC Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge one-day business pitch awards. The top three student winners at each level are selected by judges a week before the SOE Awards and attend the awards dinner and ceremony as the foundation’s guests.