Don & Jake McPeck, Mess Hall Canteen

Don McPeck started his business with only an idea. His gourmet food truck, Mess Hall Canteen, got started thanks to The Food Network. An appearance on the show Food Truck Faceoff gave Mess Hall Canteen a vehicle — in more ways than one.

Meredith Pizzi, Roman Music Therapy Services

Meredith Pizzi started playing trumpet in the fifth grade and joined her school’s jazz band. It was after a performance of “Gonna Fly Now” from the motion picture Rocky that Meredith recognized the profound connection she felt to others through the power of music. “We still talk about that concert. Feeling that level of connection and understanding and life-giving force that is music, that’s what it was for me. It opened my eyes to what happens when people come together and make music.”

Angela Bicos Mavridis, Tribalí Foods

Angela Bicos Mavridis, a San Marino, California resident, comes from an entrepreneurial family. Her father owned a drive-thru that served up burgers, fries, and shakes. This, she later realized, was a far cry from the way her grandmother cooked and ate in their homeland of Greece. Mavridis spent childhood summers there, enjoying scratch-made Paleo cuisine comprised of organic, local foods.

Manuel Guerrero, Hope Cafe and Creperie

Manuel Guerrero grew up surrounded by a family of entrepreneurs. He embraced this spirit and chose to pursue his entrepreneurial passion through his love of food. After attending culinary school in Mexico where he focused on international cuisine, Manuel furthered his learning by completing a barista training program in Seattle, Washington.

Marcia Charles, Pinky Rose Boutique

Marcia Charles has worked in fashion for her whole life. When Marcia was 15-years-old, she started working at department store warehouses in the Bronx. Over the next 35 years, Marcia grew into a self-taught fashion designer and merchandiser, and eventually a self-made small business owner.

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 in the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association (BIA).  Voted San Diego City Beat’s Best Butcher Shop the last three years, the Heart and Trotter is a whole animal butchery offering the highest quality, hormone and antibiotic free meats and products sourced from local sustainable ranchers and businesses.

With Love Market & Café, Faces of Entrepreneurship Winner

Andrew McDowell was laying on the beach in Cancun, reading My Business, My Mission – the story of businessmen and entrepreneurs partnering together to find solutions for economic growth to restore and impact lives. The immense impact of social enterprises in third world countries detailed in the book, and two years of collecting ideas, brought clarity to his vision. That day he made the decision to exit the world of digital advertising and start his own business.

Paul LaRocco, LaRocco’s Pizzeria

Despite having run two successful restaurants, banks considered Paul LaRocco’s pizzeria “too new” because he was self-employed. Thankfully, Pacific Coast Regional was there to get him the loan he needed to grow.

Toni Ricci, Elite Dance and Performing Art Center

Toni Ricci had achieved her dream of owning her own dance studio, but she hit a wall when she couldn’t qualify for a bank loan. Luckily, VEDC was able to provide her a microloan and the business counseling she needed. Today, Elite Dance has doubled its staff and tripled its students.