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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Students create retractable surfboard leash, win $5,000

Nicole Haun
City College students with their patent-pending product, Re-Leash, (from left) Sara Skaugrud, Doni Nahmias, and Paige Grandstaff. Students show their product to the judges at the Scheinfeld Center 4th Annual New Venture Challenge in the Fé Bland Forum on Friday, May 2. The judges panel (from right) is comprised of Lynda Weinman from, Christopher Morales of Montecito Bank & Trust, and Serial Entrepreneur Kathy Odell.

Jittery jaws and knocking knees were unable to prevent students from dazzling the judges with professional product pitches.

From a specialized dog leash to a retractable surfboard leash, 10 teams pitched a variety of solutions to everyday problems.

The room was zealous with anticipation as the New Venture Challenge commenced on Friday, May 2. Rolling Stones’songs played lightly in the Fé Bland Forum on City College’s West Campus, while people were ushered into a clustered standing room only event.

“Every student will go home rich today—with the spirit of entrepreneurship,” said Melissa Moreno, director of the Scheinfeld Center and manager of the New Venture Challenge.

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Moreno’s New Venture Challenge team includes Antwanette Ramirez, program assistant, as well as Susana Ortega.

Students were given the opportunity to deliver an eight-minute business pitch with $5,000 of prize money on the line. Prepared with PowerPoint presentations and witty spiels; their dreams’ were brought to the table for all to finally experience.

First place went to a team of five City College students: Doni Nahmias, Kian Maalizadeh, Paige Grandstaff, Sara Skaugrud and Shawn Michael. They created Re-Leash, a retractable surfboard leash.

Re-Leash strives towards saving lives and making a popular hobby safer. As Re-Leash wrapped up, the room erupted with the most thunderous applause of the evening.

“We put in hours and hours…and practiced our pitch hundreds of times,” said Doni Nahmias, 21, business major.

“This never would have started without Melissa Moreno’s entrepreneurship classes. We do have the funds now and we’re going to go into production as soon as possible.”

This year’s judges were Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chair of, Kathy Odell, CEO of NutraHealth Partners, and Chris Morales, Wealth Management division of Montecito Bank & Trust.

The third place prize went to City College’s entrepreneurship student, Tom Garnett, creator of Monocool. Monocool offers a convenient solution to having reading glasses when all you need is a monocle to slip in your pocket to check your smart phone every so often.

Second place went to Adele De Batz, of Antioch University, and creator of Goddess Moto. Her business offers women protective motor cycle apparel. Goddess Moto’s products are made of stylish light weight material and is road rash free.

The event sponsors were: Montecito Bank & Trust,, The Bank of Santa Barbara, and the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.

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