Award recipients unveiled at an emotional 2021 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards! Image.
Award recipients unveiled at an emotional 2021 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards!
November 10, 2021
by Spirit Administrator
Views: 6412

Riverside, Calif., November 10, 2021 – With its first live and in-person event since 2019, the Spirit of the Entrepreneur returned to celebrate those entrepreneurs who have survived and thrived, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrating a “new era of innovation,” a stellar crowd of entrepreneurs and community members gathered at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside for the 19th annual gala black tie event. Audience members noted the emotional tenor of the evening, relishing the in-person experience with extensive networking. Commencing with a riveting performance of Nina Simone’s timeless classic, Feeling Good, the events of the evening echoed the hope of the lyrics, “It's a new dawn, It's a new day, It's a new life, For me, And I'm feeling good…”

The event also saw the introduction of a new award, the Mary Anne Fox Top Female Entrepreneur Award, presented by its namesake, Mary Anne Fox of Fox Transportation. The award was introduced to encourage, support and celebrate women’s entrepreneurship more widely.

This year's award recipients recognized at the black-tie gala, chosen from the 27 finalists, include:

  • Continental East Development, Inc., Lydia Percia Rattan – Murrieta – MARY ANNE FOX TOP FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR
  • StratosFuel, Inc., Jonathan Palacios-Avila - San Bernardino – GENERAL ENTREPRENEUR
  • Aleph Group Inc., Jales A. Mello – Riverside – HEALTHCARE ENTREPRENEUR
  • U. S. Rubber Recycling, Inc., Jeff Baldassari – Colton – MANUFACTURING ENTREPRENEUR AND BEST OF THE BEST AWARD
  • Pacific Capital Wealth Management, Chad Willardson – Corona- SERVICE-BASED ENTREPRENEUR
  • Lucky's Coffee Roasters, Tyler Smith – Claremont – SMALL/EMERGING ENTERPRISE
  • The Heart Matters Foster Family Agency, Carrie Mathews - Grand Terrace – SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR


    As part of the event festivities, the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition was held for five future entrepreneurs to deliver a 90-second pitch about their up-and-coming venture idea to the audience and were critiqued on their overall preparation, poise and professional presentation. The top three pitches were recognized and the top student walked away with a $4,000 prize. The fast pitch, which involves students from Cal State San Bernardino, is sponsored by local entrepreneur Garner Holt of San Bernardino. and City National Bank. The top 3 finishers were:

    • Chris Han - WeSync
    • Aaron Brill – Asset Brilliance
    • Monica Lozano Meza – Water Wall-e
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