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 understaffed.

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 wellbeing, turning it into her newfound passion.

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 businesses.

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 on a monthly basis. The feedback he received from his customers, largely Cal Poly SLO students, was extremely positive. Through simple word of mouth, his waiting list to lease an e-bike grew to several hundred names. In June of that year, BoltAbout joined the Summer Accelerator Program at the Cal Poly CIE SLO HotHouse, at which point they became SBDC Clients.

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 on a corner of San Francisco’s Financial District.

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 in the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association (BIA).  Voted San Diego City Beat’s Best Butcher Shop the last three years, the Heart and Trotter is a whole animal butchery offering the highest quality, hormone and antibiotic free meats and products sourced from local sustainable ranchers and businesses.

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 Solutions.