Success Stories

When very small businesses succeed, they create jobs, they build their neighborhoods and communities, and transform lives so that California can thrive.

Annually CAMEO members serve about 21,000 very small businesses with training, technical assistance, and loans. These firms – largely start-ups with less than five employees – support/create 37,000 jobs for California’s economy.

When very small businesses succeed, they create jobs, they build their neighborhoods and communities so that California can thrive.

Find success stories based on the following categories:

Men | Women | Regions | Veterans | Immigrants | Minorities | Green Micro-Businesses  | Faces of Entrepreneurship

2019 Faces of Entrepreneurship Winners

Ricardo Rocha, RVS Technology Group

Ricardo Rocha of RVS Technology Group

When owner Ricardo Rocha was a teenager, he dreamt that he became a business owner. Years later, after immigrating from Mexico and working in the fields, he made his dream come true by opening a small computer service shop in Watsonville. Through El Pajaro CDC’s Business Incubator Program, RVS Technologies grew into a full-service provider that employs 12 people and works with small and mid-sized businesses.

Calvin Andrews, Lena’s Soul Food

Lena’s Soul Food has become a pillar in its community of East Oakland. Not only does owner Calvin Andrews employ dozens of people, including formerly incarcerated folks, but he also gives back by giving away unsold food to locals in need, many of whom are unhoused. Calvin is a client of Main Street Launch and one of CAMEO’s 2019 Faces of Entrepreneurship Award winners!

Our Latest Success Stories

  • Lupe Guerrero, El Pipila Lupe Guerrero, El PipilaIn 1988, Lupe Guerrero migrated to the US. She was in search of a better life for her and her two young daughters. After arriving in Berkeley, Lupe found a job at a taqueria where she worked 12-hour days, 6 days a week.
  • Erin Foate, Dachs 2 Danes Erin Foate, Dachs 2 DanesIn January 2011, Erin Foate moved back with her parents after graduating with a degree in business. She had no job, no car, and was living off her savings. Her parents and (then) fiancé helped cover her bills. She developed a business plan for a dog daycare and pursued an initial start-up loan, but they ...
  • Mark Saavedra, Airport Barbershop Mark Saavedra, Airport BarbershopMark Saavedra came to the small business world via happenstance. He was working at a market and learning to cut hair when his teacher suggested he take over the Truckstop Barbershop. He was unsure, but when friends and family who knew his talent and skills urged him on, his vision for himself changed. Instead of ...

More Stories

  • Sandra Ann Harris, ECOlunchbox ECOlunchbox had a well-established multi-tiered distribution network but the demand for its green consumer products was stronger than the small company could support due to undercapitalization. ECOlunchbox was frequently going out of stock on all its products due to high demand and lack of resources to adequately buy stock. Additionally, the bootstrapped company was seriously ...
  • Jon and Gila Kurtz, Dog Is Good Jon and Gila Kurtz launched their lifestyle brand for dog lovers, Dog is Good, in 2007. Gila, a professional dog trainer, saw an opportunity in the marketplace for fashionable clothing that expressed her love of dogs. Jon, a retired US Navy Captain was full of ideas for humorous, catchy phrases that playfully express the joy ...
  • Dinuka Ranasinghe, Kid Works Children’s Center Dinuka Ranasinghe studied law and passed the New York Bar exam. But after realizing law was not her passion, she decided to pursue her dream: working with young children. She began studying early childhood development and in 2008 purchased a preschool in Long Beach, California called Kid Works Children’s Center.
  • Cinthya Flores, Utz Threads Cinthya Flores is the successful owner of Utz Threads in Oakland, CA. The name Utz Threads comes from the word “good” in Maya Quiché; the language spoken by the women weavers that create their product in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.
  • Amy Truby, Mt. Shasta Counseling & Neurofeedback When Amy Truby learned about neurofeedback and its potential to change people’s lives for the better, she decided it was time to open her own practice. But she barely knew anything about running a business – especially when it came to taxes and bookkeeping.