Local women business owners honored as 2021 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award finalists by WEV

WEV will present the 2021 Rock Star: Lifetime Achievement Award to Lupe Anguiano.

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) is proud to announce the 30 finalists for the 11th annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards (SOE) to be held virtually on May 21, from 12noon -1:30pm. The SOE Awards celebrate outstanding women business owners from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in ten industry categories. Community members are invited to attend the free, online event; register at Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.

A panel of independent judges, who all live outside the tri-county area, selected the finalists from an impressive group of applicants throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. This year, the judges also took into consideration the impact the businesses make in their community and the entrepreneurs’ resiliency to the challenges presented by the global pandemic.

Alison Kenis, Lynette Coverly and JoAnne Hadley are finalists to receive awards.

Stacy Harris, a judge from Phoenix, Arizona, said the finalists are “an impressive class of driven female entrepreneurs adapting to an unpredictable environment during the pandemic in support of community and creative services and products.”

“We are thrilled to honor these incredible women who have shown strength and creativity in keeping their businesses going through a tough year,” said Kathy Odell, WEV CEO. “It’s important to take the time to stop and celebrate these accomplishments not only to recognize the winners but so we can all be inspired by them.”

Along with the 10 category winners, WEV will present the 2021 Rock Star: Lifetime Achievement Award to Lupe Anguiano, an entrepreneur and activist known for her work on women’s rights, the rights of the poor, and the protection of the environment who has founded two impactful nonprofits.

World-renowned political activist and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem told WEV, “I’m so glad that you are honoring my longtime friend, Lupe Anguiano. She has been my trusted leader, from the farm worker struggle to today’s understanding that as human beings, we are linked, not ranked. She always has been ahead of me on the path, and she lights the way ahead.”

Major sponsors of the 2021 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards include American Riviera Bank, City National Bank, Cox, County of Ventura, JPMorgan Chase & Co, La Arcada, LinkedIn, and Ventura County Credit Union.

Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. WEV is a business resource network for anyone looking to start a business, grow a local business, or improve their business skills. WEV provides small business training, advisory services, financial literacy programs and small business loans in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. While WEV’s focus is on women, it welcomes people of all gender identities into the WEV community. Business courses, programs and loans are provided in both English and Spanish.

Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and small business advisory services to more than 19,000 people throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made more than $6.4 million in small business loans and helped more than 5,000 local businesses start or expand, generating an estimated $770 million in annual sales and creating nearly 12,000 local jobs. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center and Microlender, as well as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

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