Erin Foate, Dachs 2 Danes

In 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 turned her down. It was then that she was referred to the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center (IEWBC).

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 of being “with Dog”.

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.

Cindy Greaver, Mrs. G’s

Cindy Greaver and her husband, Kent, began Mrs. G’s over twenty years ago when she started making hot pepper jellies as gifts for friends and family. Since then, her heady, homemade confections have caught fire with customers and fans across the country.

Angel Garcia, AG Machining

Incorporated 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.

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.

Don & Jake McPeck, Mess Hall Canteen

Don McPeck started his business with only an idea. His gourmet food truck, Mess Hall Canteen, got started thanks to The Food Network. An appearance on the show Food Truck Faceoff gave Mess Hall Canteen a vehicle — in more ways than one.

Meredith Pizzi, Roman Music Therapy Services

Meredith Pizzi started playing trumpet in the fifth grade and joined her school’s jazz band. It was after a performance of “Gonna Fly Now” from the motion picture Rocky that Meredith recognized the profound connection she felt to others through the power of music. “We still talk about that concert. Feeling that level of connection and understanding and life-giving force that is music, that’s what it was for me. It opened my eyes to what happens when people come together and make music.”

Angela Bicos Mavridis, Tribalí Foods

Angela Bicos Mavridis, a San Marino, California resident, comes from an entrepreneurial family. Her father owned a drive-thru that served up burgers, fries, and shakes. This, she later realized, was a far cry from the way her grandmother cooked and ate in their homeland of Greece. Mavridis spent childhood summers there, enjoying scratch-made Paleo cuisine comprised of organic, local foods.