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


2018 Faces of Entrepreneurship Winners

With Love Market & Café, 2018 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.

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Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas, 2018 faces of entrepreneurship winner

If several years ago you would have told Alicia Villanueva that she would be making over 40,000 tamales a month, she would not have believed you. By day she cleaned houses and did home care. Every night she dreamed of starting her own business. Since arriving in the United States in 2001, she had a passion for sharing her Mexican culture and the best way to do that was through cooking tamales.

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Meet our previous Faces of Entrepreneurship winners


Our Latest Success Stories

  • Angel Garcia, AG Machining Angel Garcia, AG MachiningIncorporated in 1999, AG Machining started as a two-person machine shop that did only milling. Now, it is a thriving family-owned manufacturer with 105 employees and a long list of machining capabilities. In 2009, owner Angel Garcia considered moving the operation to Mexico to cut costs.
  • Sally Gerbo, Gerbo Designs Sally Gerbo, Gerbo DesignsSally Gerbo founded Gerbo Designs, a boutique branding firm, in 2007. The company provides brand strategies, web design, and marketing materials for businesses. Sally’s passion, creative vision, exceptional detail, and innovative design help her clients build strong brands.
  • Bonnie Arnwine, National Autism Resources Bonnie Arnwine, National Autism ResourcesNational Autism Resources was founded by Bonnie Arnwine. It is an e-commerce business featuring products and services for caretakers of people on the autism spectrum. With a son on the spectrum and an award-winning book – Starting Sensory Integration Therapy – Bonnie felt confident that there was a need for her business. Still, she went ...

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  • Pierre and Jenn Davis, Ade Dream Ade Dream is a labor of love for husband-and-wife team Pierre and Jenn Davis. They started the business in 2014, a year after their first child, Pierce, was born. Pierre’s sister made some baby accessories for the new parents using traditional African fabric from Pierre’s home country, The Gambia. Jenn constantly received compliments and requests ...
  • John Diskin and Rita Capponi, Grand Central Palm Springs When John Diskin and Rita M. Capponi moved to Palm Springs with dreams of opening a restaurant, they didn’t imagine the two-year journey they’d take to making that dream a reality. Finally, on November 15, 2018, John and Rita were ready to share Grand Central Palm Springs with the community.
  • Liza Spiridon, Cali Strong Candles During California’s recent wildfires, Registered Vet Technician Liza Spiridon was living on the Central Coast but knew people in the communities impacted. She decided that she needed to use her skills to help, so she got involved by donating her time helping animals to safety and assisting the people who had lost their homes and ...
  • Rosa Guerrero, California Vegan Food Company Rosa Guerrero Contreras had a dream of launching her own plant-based food business for the last five years. What started as a hobby soon became a passion, but Rosa wasn’t quite sure of how to convert that passion into a business. Last spring, Rosa joined Centro’s Basic Entrepreneurship Program to launch California Vegan Food Company ...
  • Susan Difuntorm, Smiles & More Photo Booth Susan Difuntorm is a retired Air Force veteran of 23 years, recent State of California retiree, a mother, grandmother, and a dear friend to many. This fun-loving grandma has had a camera in her hands since she can remember. She combined her love for taking photos with her desire to start a business of her ...