Success Stories – Green Micro-Businesses

  • Liza Spiridon, Cali Strong Candles During California’s recent wildfires, Registered Vet Technician Liza Spiridon was living on the Central Coast but knew people in the communities impacted. She decided that she needed to use her skills to help, so she got involved by donating her time helping animals to safety and assisting the people who had lost their homes and ...
  • Zea Sonnabend, Fruitilicious Farm Zea Sonnabend’s organic farming bona fides cannot be overstated. With an MS in Plant Breeding from Cornell University and 35 years of experience as a farmer, gardener, inspector, educator, policy specialist, organizer, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more qualified. Yet running her own farming operation still came with its challenges.
  • Matt Maxwell, BoltAbout The idea to start BoltAbout came to Matt Maxwell in November 2015, when he was frustrated by public transportation options. He found the perfect alternative in the form of electric bikes. In April 2016, he decided to turn this passion into a business by launching a pilot program to lease a small fleet of e-bikes ...
  • Jen Musty, Batter Bakery Jen Musty launched Batter Bakery in 2008 after two years of working on her plan and recipes. Since then, Batter has grown from a one-woman business to a full-fledged local bakery that’s made a name for itself alongside several iconic San Francisco favorites. During its first years, Batter’s only retail spot was a tiny kiosk ...
  • James Holtslag, The Heart and Trotter Civic San Diego provided Accion San Diego, a nonprofit microlender, $400,000 in lending capital from the Civic San Diego Loan Fund in 2017. This capital is supporting small businesses in communities that have a median household income of $60,000 or below. One of the businesses who received funds was The Heart and Trotter Butchery located ...
  • Abraham Lopez, YucaTech Technology Solutions Abraham Lopez immigrated from Mexico in 1998, and worked hard to master English and earn an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems, all to further his dream of opening his own electronics repair store. Thanks to help from Renaissance Marin and their Small Business Development Center, he is now the proud owner of YucaTech Technology ...
  • Tara Cooper, ‘Ohana Organics Tara Cooper had the know-how to make fantastic organic butters and salves, but needed help with the business end of things. North Coast SBDC gave her the tools and assistance she needed, and introduced her to a group of local organizations who helped her grow her award-winning company.
  • Michael Barriere, BarrierEnergy Associates Inspired by the economic downturn to diversify his development agency, Michael Barriere turned to Women’s Economic Ventures for the training and microloans he needed to launch BarrierEnergy Associates.
  • Max Aram & Chris Blevins, PickMySolar.com PCR SBDC Business Advisors Martha G. Castro and Harold C. Hart-Nibbrig helped Max Aram figure out how to monetize his idea, conduct market research, develop a business plan with financial projections, incorporate the business and develop a partnership agreement once Chris Blevins came on board.
  • Rhonda Wiedenbeck, Beck’s Bakery “I had so many ideas and concerns around starting and running my business, and my SBDC business advisor helped me to focus and prioritize them so that I could achieve great success.” -Rhonda Wiedenbeck on North Coast SBDC.
  • Penny Baldado, Cafe Gabriela Penny Baldado moved to the United States from the Philippines and opened her own cafe thanks to training and financial assistance from CAMEO member AnewAmerica.
  • Leslie Labowitz-Starus, Foodology Leslie Labowitz-Starus used funds and training she received from VEDC to sustain her organic and natural food small business through the recession.
  • Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson, Mendocino Solar Bruce Erickson and Maggie Watson were employed by Mendocino Solar and then bought out the owner in 2005. To transition from employees to the boss, they met with West Company consultants who assisted them with financial planning, employee management, social media, and funding that included a $12,00 stimulus grant and a $95,000 business loan.
  • Kevin Ho & Juan Miron, MIHO Gastrotruck Co-owners Kevin Ho and Juan Miron met while working in the restaurant industry and shared a passion for gathering friends and family around good food. In the spring of 2010, they launched MIHO Gastrotruck, a food truck that provided locally sourced, natural, healthy, good food.  One of the biggest hurdles they crossed was financing. They weren’t ...
  • Sarah Dvorak, Mission Cheese San Francisco – Sarah Dvorak knows cheese. Whether it be the sweet and nutty Estero Gold, the smooth and earthly Boho Bel, or the notoriously fragrant bleu cheeses from Northern Califiornia, this cheesehead breaks it down for you.