Navigating the Small Business Maze

Come hear a panel of community leaders who will answer your questions surrounding starting, funding, and growing your small business. Santa Barbara has numerous resources for consulting, courses in entrepreneurship, funding, and other assistance, some of it free of charge. Here is your chance to kick start your entrepreneurial adventure!

Featured Speaker(s)

Melissa Visconti Moreno, J.D., is an entrepreneur, educator, author, and consultant.

She is the founding Executive Director of the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Santa Barbara City College in California. The Scheinfeld Center became a national award-winning program and serves as an educational model for other colleges. Under Melissa’s direction, the Scheinfeld Center was awarded two regional designations and she serves as Director of both the Small Business Development Center and the Center for International Trade Development.

Melissa was born with a passion for teaching and continues to teach students in entrepreneurship. Her core philosophy for young entrepreneurs is spend more time doing and believes the two-year college setting is the perfect venue in which to kick-start entrepreneurs.

Julie Samson is a business strategist specializing in the startup of microbusinesses. She is founder of The Brilliant Edge, which is dedicated to building financially resilient communities by empowering individuals to create livelihoods that do a world of good, starting from the inside out. Julie’s unique approach blends Lean Startup strategies from the tech world with methods for building business acumen and personal efficacy. Her flagship program is LightBox Accelerator - which simplifies startup and makes it time and cost efficient to start a business in 90 days or less. With over 20 years experience as a small business owner, she serves as an instructor and business development specialist for Women’s Economic Ventures, a business advisor and startup specialist for the Small Business Development Center in Ventura, and an entrepreneurship instructor for SBCC’s Center for Lifelong Learning.

Lisa Champagne-Minyard began her affiliation with WEV in 2009 as an instructor for the Self-Employment Training (SET) course, and in September of 2011, her role expanded when she became Program Manager of WEV’s Thrive in Five® Program. Lisa’s 16 years of training, coaching, and consulting experience includes helping organizations in the areas of hiring and developing staff, sales, customer service, team-building, and management and leadership development. Her clients have included new entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses in a range of industries. Among other activities, Lisa has facilitated CEO Roundtables and Management Roundtable groups that are geared toward personal and organizational development and accountability. As an entrepreneur herself, Lisa has operated a consulting practice, previously owned a small business in the garment industry, and managed Japanese market sales for over a dozen American manufacturers of casualwear.