Lee Ann Knodel Awarded “Chip Goodman Entrepreneur Teacher of the Year Award” AND Finding Common Ground venture takes second place!

By Dyan Bomer on Apr 24, 2015 at 12:01 PM in Press Releases

Lee Ann Knodel Awarded “Chip Goodman Entrepreneur Teacher of the Year Award” AND Finding Common Ground venture takes second place!

Lee Ann Knodel, ROP-CTE instructor of the Dons Net Café, was bestowed with a prestigious award, Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year, from the Board of Directors of Project ECHO at UCLA on April 12, 2015.  Project Echo (Entrepreneurial Concepts Hand On), is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing students with vocational and entrepreneurial skills as a way to aid them and educators around the world. The Dons Net Café has been involved and has been highly competitive at this annual competition, usually placing in the top 3.  “I truly enjoy mentoring the Dons Net Café students and their excitement about business is contagious,” stated Teddy Ho.   Teddy Ho, UCLA MBA Graduate and local business owner of “BarkBack, is the teams committed mentor who also became employer of one of the Dons Net Café student employees, Benjamin Corral.

This award was presented at the Project Echo Business Plan competition on April 12, 2015. Although, Knodel traveled to New York with a group of her senior Dons Net Café students for a National Trade Fair, she sent a short clip thanking the Project Echo Program.

While, Knodel could not attend the event, a group of three students were still able to compete and showcase their newest business, Finding Common Ground. This is a partnership between Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara, California and Escuela Agrícola de San Francisco, Asunción, Paraguay. This group consisted of two dedicated sophomores (Elizabeth Avila and Julia Danalevich) and one junior (Victor Valadaz) decided to take on the Project ECHO business competition held at UCLA, with their senior CEO, Maddie Mender. The Common Ground business plan had some tough competition (from Senior led teams) but they were well prepared. At their best, the Dons Net Cafe managed to place second place overall in the competition bringing home a huge gold trophy and a monetary investment in their business of $600.

The Dons Net Café would like to thank Teddy Ho of Barkback, Chris Morales and Will Freeland of Montecito Bank & Trust, and George Rusznak of SCORE for their mentorship and support of during intense competition time.

The Dons Net Café, a Regional Occupational Program of the County Education Office, is a student-run business that represents a twenty-two-year commitment to inspire students to create positive social and environmental change through ethical commerce and service-learning. These efforts represented through participation in Junior Achievement, Virtual Enterprise, Voluntary Income Taxes Assistance (VITA), Roots and Shoots and Service Learning. All Profits benefit employees and associated projects one hundred percent, because they believe in “Doin’ Some Good in the World.” Further information is available by contacting this number (805) 963-8597 or [email protected]