Santa Barbara, also referred to as the American Riviera, is internationally renowned for its enviable Mediterranean climate, dramatic mountain backdrops, and picturesque coastlines. The iconic city isn’t known nearly as well, however, for its vibrant, meaningful neighborhoods and generous citizens, according to local real estate expert, Kenny Slaught. The Investec CEO believes strong heritage, a prosperous small business sector, and dedicated nonprofit organizations play essential roles in creating these unique, proactive communities.
As early as 1925, Santa Barbara city planners, recognizing the natural charm of Southern California, developed legislation to preserve Spanish Colonial architecture, and the city became the first populace in the United States to consider the importance of historical buildings. The County Courthouse, the most common downtown destination for visiting tourists, is adorned with brilliantly colored tiles and murals that display striking scenes from the city’s past. A church that has been operating for over 200 years, The Old Mission, also known as the “Queen of Missions,” provides an amazing view into the formation of the New World through guided tours and an expansive museum.
Aside from a sought after tourist destination, Santa Barbara has presently become a center for young and developing businesses, said Kenny Slaught. Dozens of promising, new companies have been founded in recent years, and many, including AppScale, LastLine, TrackR, and Salty Girl Seafood, have come directly out of the University of California Santa Barbara. With over $200 million raised for area startups from private investors in the last year, the Central Coast boasts nearly twice the investment per capita in innovation than the greater Los Angeles area, a much larger market. While some may feel the tempting pull of Silicon Valley or Hollywood, local entrepreneurs recognize the significance of building a business in an environment that promotes growth. As a result, the region is one of the best places in the country to launch and cultivate startups, spawning remarkable biotech, medical, technology, and scientific businesses like Inogen, Raytheon, Sonos, and BioIQ.
The third pillar of Santa Barbara’s exceptional community is a widespread commitment to philanthropy by the county’s civic leaders, business professionals, and residents. The city’s deep tradition of nonprofit activity and generous giving is seen today through numerous charities, volunteer organizations and community initiatives, and dates back to 1928 with the creation of the Santa Barbara Foundation. Active local nonprofits eliminate the need for public officials to seek assistance from national foundations, and allow for immediate attention to be given to the needs of the community.
Kenny Slaught is a strategic investor, entrepreneur, and the Founder & President of Investec Real Estate Companies. Founded in 1983, Slaught has grown the business into the leading property development and management firm in Santa Barbara County through the acquisition of over three million feet of coastal California apartment, office, retail, and self-storage space. In addition to his business endeavors, Slaught is a passionate philanthropist and active supporter of nonprofits throughout the Southern California region.
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