Civil Rights Activist Lupe Anguiano, Spirit of Entrepreneurship Rock Star

Lupe Anguiano. Photo credit: Marie Gregorio-Oviedo
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship (SOE) Awards, presented by Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), is thrilled to announce that Lupe Anguiano will be honored as the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Rock Star: Lifetime Achievement Award. Anguiano is an entrepreneur and activist known for her work on women’s rights, the rights of the poor, and the protection of the environment who has founded two impactful nonprofits. She will be recognized at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards event, which will be held virtually on May 21.  Information at

In 1978, Anguiano founded an organization called National Women’s Employment & Education (NWEE) that offered a model program removing many of the barriers faced by women on welfare. By the early 1990’s NWEE had placed 3,000 women in jobs. Forty years later, still going strong at 75-years-old, she founded and directed Stewards of the Earth, a non-profit organization committed to protecting the west coast environment from agricultural pollutants, fracking and the downsides of development.

Anguiano, the daughter of Oxnard fieldworkers, will celebrate her 92nd birthday in March, has led a remarkable life that has included organizing grape boycotts for Cesar Chavez, developing a program for gang members in East LA, and founding a powerful women’s political group with Gloria Steinem. As an education specialist in the Johnson administration, Lupe worked on the nation’s first bilingual education bill and went on to hold various positions in the Nixon, Carter, and Reagan administrations. She worked closely with President Reagan and received a President’s Volunteer Award from him in 1983 for her work with NWEE.

Anguiano is the 11th recipient of WEV’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Rock Star Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has made an indelible impact on our community and who serves as a role model for women. Previous recipients include Lynne Tahmisian, Sara Miller McCune, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Betty Hatch, and Carol Duncan.

“Lupe Anguiano is truly deserving of this lifetime achievement award since she has been working hard to make our world a better place for more than 70 years,” said Kathy Odell, CEO of WEV. “This is the first time we have recognized the founder of a nonprofit with this award so it’s an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of this type of entrepreneurship in our society. Lupe’s pioneer work with NWEE changed the lives of thousands of women and created a model that is still being used.”

WEV’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards also celebrate outstanding businesswomen from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in ten industry categories.  Nominations are now open and community members are encouraged to nominate a woman entrepreneur (including themselves) to be recognized at the May 21 event.  Nominations are due by February 21,


For information about sponsorship opportunities contact Kate MacNaughton at or (805) 908-0091.

To arrange interviews with Lupe Anguiano, SOE Committee Members, past winners, or to request high-resolution photos or collateral, please contact Lysa Urban at 805.456.2356 or




About WEV

Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women.  WEV is a business resource network for anyone looking to start a business, grow a local business, or improve their business skills. WEV provides small business training, advisory services, financial literacy programs and small business loans in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. While WEV’s focus is on women, it welcomes people of all gender identities into the WEV community. Business courses, programs and loans are provided in both English and Spanish.
Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and small business advisory services to more than 28,000 people throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made more than $6.9 million in small business loans and helped nearly 5,300 local businesses start or expand, generating an estimated $873 million in annual sales and creating over 12,400 local jobs. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center and Microlender, as well as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).