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

  • Charina Vergara, Titas of ManilaCharina Vergara, Titas of ManilaCharina Vergara began her culinary career as a food vendor at local night markets where she offered original Filipino cuisine. In 2019, she was offered a business opportunity to take over an existing Filipino restaurant. Ms. Vergara & her business partner jumped on the chance and became the new owners of Titas of Manila in ...
  • Ken Granderson and Dale Dowdie, Black FactsKen Granderson and Dale Dowdie, Black FactsBlackFacts.com is the longest-running data-driven repository of Black history on the internet. BlackFacts.com was created in 1997 by Ken Granderson and Dale Dowdie, two black technologists, who saw there wasn’t a place to get facts about African-Americans online, so they built a place for Black communities to be in control of their narratives. A labor ...
  • Marcos Murrilo, Tapa the WorldMarcos Murrilo, Tapa the WorldMarcos Murrilo came here from Mexico in 1996. His first job in the U.S. was working at Tapa the World restaurant in Sacramento. There, he was the executive chef for 11 years. Marcos created several of the specialty dishes that are still on the menu today. 

More Stories

  • Monica Martinez, Don Bugito
    In 2010, Monica Martinez had a vision for a highly sustainable, insect-based snack company. She wanted to honor the indigenous, pre-Hispanic culinary traditions of Mexico. Over the course of the next decade, Monica got the company off the ground mostly with her own funds. She worked as the sole employee of Don Bugito.
  • Jennifer Sutherlin, Delta Glass Co.
    Delta Glass Co. was founded in 1953 by Nelson Palmer. Kenneth Frost later joined Palmer as a partner in the business. The business was originally located on Main Street, only one block east of their current location.
  • Michael and Deborah Baldini, Biordi Art Imports
    A leading importer of the finest Italian Ceramics from Italy, Biordi Art Imports offers hand-painted dinnerware and home décor from artisans in Italy. Biordi Art Imports has been a historical treasure in San Francisco’s North Beach for 75 years.
  • Soichi and Raechel Kadoya, Soichi Sushi
    Chef Soichi Kadoya was a highly respected fixture in San Diego’s sushi scene. After 25 years of training in Japanese cuisine, he and his wife Raechel were ready to branch out and start their own restaurant.
  • Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers
    Inspired by her grandfather’s love of gardening, Ariana Marbley decided to open her florist shop, Esscents of Flowers, in Oakland, California in 2016. As an East Oakland native, she is proud to own a business in a community that is rich in culture and political awareness.