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. 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.