Karim Kaderali, Santa Barbara Axxess

Santa Barbara Axxess was founded by Karim Kaderali and a friend in Santa Barbara, California in 1999. By creating an upscale local Membership Program that was unique and trackable, they figured out how to bring local businesses the right local customers. Shortly after launch, they received a startup loan from WEV to print the physical books for their members.

Andrea Wasko & Meaghan Gilbert, Connoisseur Creations

Andrea Wasko and Meaghan Gilbert of Los Osos, California launched their flagship product, the Quick Pickle Kit after starting Connoisseur Creations in 1996. After struggling with weight issues, Andrea wanted to develop a healthy alternative snack that would help people in similar situations. The Quick Pickle Kit is a safe, quick, simple, and natural way to make delicious pickles in the comfort of your own home.

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 on a monthly basis. The feedback he received from his customers, largely Cal Poly SLO students, was extremely positive. Through simple word of mouth, his waiting list to lease an e-bike grew to several hundred names. In June of that year, BoltAbout joined the Summer Accelerator Program at the Cal Poly CIE SLO HotHouse, at which point they became SBDC Clients.

Robin King, Rene TreVor Jewelry

Robin King always dreamed of having her own business but never imagined it would come from such tragic circumstances. On the same day that she lost her mother to her battle against cancer, her 25-year-old son’s life was also taken. But part of her healing came through creativity. Not long after their deaths, Robin began making keepsake jewelry for herself and a few family members as a way of dealing with their recent losses and to keep their loved ones close. In loving memory of her mother and son, the name and concept for her business were conceived. 

Martín Madriz, The Green Waffle

In mid-2015, Martín Madriz found himself uncertain how to get his waffles off of the griddle and into grocery stores. El Pajaro CDC’s Kitchen Incubator gave him the space and support he needed.

Vicente Quintana, El Nopalito Produce

Vicente Quintana started El Nopalito Produce in Watsonville, CA with a 30-pound box of cactus paddles. In six years, he turned his kitchen-table business into a thriving concern with six employees, processing 10,000 pounds a week and distributed in more than 30 markets across central California.