Annually, CAMEO’s 400+ members serve about 200,000 very small businesses with training, business and credit assistance, and loans. These firms — largely startups with less than 5 employees — support or create 300,000 new jobs in California.
Why Our Work Matters
Dionne McCray, Iva JewellDionne McCray is the founder, designer, and owner of Iva Jewell by Dionne. She makes accessories for the daring, brave, and beautiful woman who likes bright colors and big prints. “I’ve always been happiest when I am making things,” she said.
Adam Morales, Smokey Lips BBQWith more than two decades of experience in the culinary industry, Chef Adam Morales discovered a passion for barbecue that kindled the flames of his entrepreneurial spirit. Smokey Lips BBQ began as a hobby. It then evolved into a full-time venture when the pandemic forced the closure of the upscale steakhouse where Chef Adam served as Executive Chef.
Mohammad, Tailoring and AlterationsMohammad fled Afghanistan with his wife and three children in 2010. They stayed in Turkey until they resettled in the United States in 2018. Despite the hardship he initially faced in the first two years, he built a successful family tailoring and alterations business in his new home of Sacramento. Mohammad overcame economic, cultural, and language barriers to find stability and build a home.
Pamela Marquez, Puzz E Gata JamaicaPamela founded Puzz e Gata Jamaica in 2020 to share the benefits of the sweetened, cinnamon-spiced hibiscus flower tea across Northern California. For a long time, she had been unable to find any product that matched the traditional recipes she had encountered in Mexico. This year, she began working with the California Capital Women’s Business Center to develop strategies for the sustainable growth and innovation of her mission.
Lisa Henschol, Hyperion AcademicsLisa Henschol is the director of Hyperion Academics, a Kindergarten through 8th grade full curriculum, educational platform. Hyperion engages students with cognitive learning and gamification strategies. The teaching construct that Hyperion Academics utilizes around their platform aids in relieving overcrowded classrooms, especially in special education classes. Hyperion Academics is WCAG compliant.
Reem Assil, Reem’s CaliforniaIn 2010, the dream of Reem’s was born at the doorstep of a street corner bakery in Beirut, Lebanon. Founder Reem Assil says, “The scent of za’atar, yeasted bread, and sweet orange blossom syrup right out of the oven and the sounds of laughter and chatter in Arabic all around me conjured up memories of my childhood and my yearning to create home and community in the US."
Ahriana Edwards, Vaila ShoesWhen Ahriana Edwards landed her first corporate internship, she was thrilled—until it came time to shop for shoes. For Ahriana, the limited shoe options available to women with larger feet had been a source of frustration and insecurity since middle school.
Ana Guerrero, FirstGen_ResilienceAna Yessica Guerrero is a social entrepreneur who dedicates her life to empowering first-generation Latinx students to reach their full potential. She is a proud immigrant from Mexico City and grew up on a ranch in Goleta, Calif. As a first-generation student herself, she had numerous aspirations and goals. Ana was an eager and determined scholar, yet she received little academic guidance and a lack of resources.
Elfie Weiss, Hotcakes BakesElfie’s father used to work as a pastry chef when he was a young man in order to pay for his dancing lessons at the Paris Opera. Elfie’s father shared with her his love for preparing the essential bread and “sweets of life.” Elfie trained primarily with her father as well as in Paris’ renowned bakery Gerard Mulot and Laduree.
Ke’Anna Dodds, RUE KitchenKe’Anna Dodds is a classically trained private chef from Vista, California, who has worked for world-renowned chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and many others. Her business was thriving, and she was working with a growing number of regular clients.
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