SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center Announces Student Winners of its 11th Annual Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge

SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center Announces Student Winners of its 11th Annual Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge
May 03, 2021

SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center Announces Student Winners of its 11th Annual Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge

The Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge business plan and pitch competition returned for its 11th season on Friday, April 23, showcasing some of our region’s most exciting, innovative, and cutting-edge college and high school student entrepreneurs. The event was live streamed on YouTube and the video can be viewed on the Scheinfeld Center’s YouTube channel.

Students from Santa Barbara City College and University of California, Santa Barbara, kicked off the collegiate tier of the event, followed by the high school tier, which featured students from San Marcos High School. The aspiring entrepreneurs competed for over $15,000 in cash awards and startup support.

Military veteran Steven Benavidez from SBCC took home the Military Veteran Startup Award for the highest scoring business plan. His venture Argonauts Tactical will manufacture textile tactical gear for civil, law enforcement, paramedic, and private security use, such as medical pouches, magazine pouches, tactical belts, plate carriers, chest rigs, and admin pouches.

The $5,500 grand prize in the collegiate tier went to Santa Barbara City College student Elvis Idunate for his venture, Texas Tacos, which will provide students in Isla Vista delicious and portable Tex-Mex style breakfast tacos at an affordable price.

Eva Krognes from UCSB took home 2nd place and $3,000 for WTR Pearl, an innovative portable home water filter that uses a motor, impeller, and magnets to provide fast filtration and automatic shut-off once the water is completely filtered. The filter can be placed in any water container and it remineralizes water and adds electrolytes.

The 3rd place prize of $2,000 went to UCSB student Mihir Shevgaonkar for Solaris, a venture that will manufacture and deploy drones to provide farmers actionable insights that lead to increased profits and reduced costs. Solaris will help farmers decrease water and fertilizer usage, quickly recognize disease and pests, increase yields, and optimize harvest to become more competitive in the market.

In the high school tier, San Marcos students Kennedy Frisell and Ben Webber won 1st place and $1,000 for their venture, Happy Patch, which provides aesthetically pleasing adhesive covers for medical insulin delivery devices to keep them securely on the skin and maximize the life of the device.

Ava Cannizzaro from San Marcos earned 2nd place and a $600 award for her venture Soapgoat, which provides an eco-friendly plastic-free alternative to the everyday shampoo bottle along with environmentally safe soap.

Third place and $400 went to San Marcos student Adopho Gonzalez and Guilio Rambeili for their venture Strapped IN, which will manufacture a car seat accessory that stabilizes children's heads to prevent whiplash, providing them a safe and fun journey.

The winners were determined by independent judges who are established entrepreneurs and investors in their own right and hold senior level positions in their companies.  The collegiate judges panel included military veteran Curtis Riggs of the Military Influencer Conference;  Nitin Pachisia of Unshackled Ventures; and Mateo Neri of Emerald Peak Private Equity. Serving the high school tier were judges Rita Mounir of Allthenticate; Ronnie Rich of Fitbanker; and Warren B Ritter II of Wealth Management Systems.

 “After a demanding year that has laid bare many challenges in our region and across the globe, entrepreneurship and innovation restores hope in a bright future. Our region’s aspiring student entrepreneurs demonstrate that innovation, passion, and determination can succeed against all odds,” said Julie Samson, Director of the Scheinfeld Center.  “We invite our entire community to join in supporting their success."

About the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
The SBCC Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is a hub for entrepreneurial development within the South Central Coast community and is a resource for model programs for other California community college districts. The Scheinfeld Center, part of the Jack & Julie Nadel School of Business & Entrepreneurship at SBCC, trains globally competent entrepreneurs using a comprehensive approach that includes academics, hands-on experience, and support. Participants can build their business in the classroom and shore up gaps in their entrepreneurial skill set through the Scheinfeld Center’s distinctive combination of coursework, business plan and pitch competitions, industry internships, no-cost business consulting, mentoring, networking, and post-startup support. To learn more, visit

About Santa Barbara City College
Founded in 1909, Santa Barbara City College currently serves approximately 15,000 students each semester who enroll in courses for transfer preparation, career education, and foundational skills. SBCC was the 2013-2015 national co-winner of the prestigious Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence. The college was recognized for its quality and focus in four areas: facilitating underrepresented and minority student success, student learning outcomes, degree completion and transfer rates, and labor market success in securing good jobs after college.

Our Mission: As a public community college dedicated to the success of each student…

Santa Barbara City College welcomes all students. The College provides a diverse learning environment and opportunities for students to enrich their lives, advance their careers, complete certificates, earn associate degrees, and transfer to four-year institutions.

The College is committed to fostering an equitable, inclusive, respectful, participatory, and supportive community dedicated to the success of every student.

Julie Samson, Executive Director
Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, SBCC
(805) 965-0581, ext 3643,