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Success Stories – Green Micro-Businesses

  • Gladys Mondragón, Sunshine Organics
    Gladys Mondragon is co-owner of Sunshine Organics farm in Watsonville. With the help of Tania Zuniga from Kitchen Table Advisors, she has been able to expand production and bring stability to her business.
  • Dawn Russell, Treats for Chickens
    Treats for Chickens hatched in 2009 in West Petaluma, California. Those who knew Dawn thought she had simply lost her mind. She gave notice to her employer at a federal government agency in San Francisco to make treats for backyard pet chickens.
  • 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 ...
  • Lindsey Ott, Mama Tong
    Ever since she can remember, Lindsey Ott has loved babies and everything that has to do with the miracle of childbirth. In her 20s, she studied to become a midwife. Then, she found herself traveling in Hawaii and settled in an organic farm in Maui. There, she started learning about growing plants for sustenance and ...
  • 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 ...
  • Zea Sonnabend, Fruitilicious Farm
    Zea Sonnabend’s organic farming bona fides cannot be overstated. With an MS in Plant Breeding from Cornell University and 35 years of experience as a farmer, gardener, inspector, educator, policy specialist, organizer, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more qualified. Yet running her own farming operation still came with its challenges.
  • Matt Maxwell, BoltAbout
    The idea to start BoltAbout came to Matt Maxwell in November 2015, when he was frustrated by public transportation options. He found the perfect alternative in the form of electric bikes. In April 2016, he decided to turn this passion into a business by launching a pilot program to lease a small fleet of e-bikes ...
  • Jen Musty, Batter Bakery
    Jen Musty launched Batter Bakery in 2008 after two years of working on her plan and recipes. Since then, Batter has grown from a one-woman business to a full-fledged local bakery that’s made a name for itself alongside several iconic San Francisco favorites. During its first years, Batter’s only retail spot was a tiny kiosk ...
  • 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 ...
  • Abraham Lopez, YucaTech Technology Solutions
    Abraham Lopez immigrated from Mexico in 1998, and worked hard to master English and earn an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems, all to further his dream of opening his own electronics repair store. Thanks to help from Renaissance Marin and their Small Business Development Center, he is now the proud owner of YucaTech Technology ...
  • Tara Cooper, ‘Ohana Organics
    Tara Cooper had the know-how to make fantastic organic butters and salves, but needed help with the business end of things. North Coast SBDC gave her the tools and assistance she needed, and introduced her to a group of local organizations who helped her grow her award-winning company.
  • Michael Barriere, BarrierEnergy Associates
    Inspired by the economic downturn to diversify his development agency, Michael Barriere turned to Women’s Economic Ventures for the training and microloans he needed to launch BarrierEnergy Associates.
  • Max Aram & Chris Blevins,
    PCR SBDC Business Advisors Martha G. Castro and Harold C. Hart-Nibbrig helped Max Aram figure out how to monetize his idea, conduct market research, develop a business plan with financial projections, incorporate the business and develop a partnership agreement once Chris Blevins came on board.
  • Rhonda Wiedenbeck, Beck’s Bakery
    “I had so many ideas and concerns around starting and running my business, and my SBDC business advisor helped me to focus and prioritize them so that I could achieve great success.” -Rhonda Wiedenbeck on North Coast SBDC.
  • Penny Baldado, Cafe Gabriela
    Penny Baldado moved to the United States from the Philippines and opened her own cafe thanks to training and financial assistance from CAMEO member AnewAmerica.
  • Leslie Labowitz-Starus, Foodology
    Leslie Labowitz-Starus used funds and training she received from VEDC to sustain her organic and natural food small business through the recession.
  • Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson, Mendocino Solar
    Bruce Erickson and Maggie Watson were employed by Mendocino Solar and then bought out the owner in 2005. To transition from employees to the boss, they met with West Company consultants who assisted them with financial planning, employee management, social media, and funding that included a $12,00 stimulus grant and a $95,000 business loan.
  • Kevin Ho & Juan Miron, MIHO Catering Co.
    Co-owners Kevin Ho and Juan Miron met while working in the restaurant industry and shared a passion for gathering friends and family around good food. In the spring of 2010, they launched MIHO Gastrotruck, a food truck that provided locally sourced, natural, healthy, good food.  One of the biggest hurdles they crossed was financing. They weren’t ...
  • Sarah Dvorak, Mission Cheese
    San Francisco – Sarah Dvorak knows cheese. Whether it be the sweet and nutty Estero Gold, the smooth and earthly Boho Bel, or the notoriously fragrant bleu cheeses from Northern Califiornia, this cheesehead breaks it down for you.