Charina Vergara, Titas of Manila

Charina 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 West Covina, CA.

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.

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.

Lina Mills, Creative Ideas Catering

Lina Mills worked in the catering business for 25 years. Then she had to go on disability leave for three months due to a back injury. While out on leave, her clients kept calling to ask where she was going next. They wanted to hire her again.

Sana Javeri Kadri, Diaspora Co.

Everything about Diaspora Co exudes passion. From the company’s growing line of consciously sourced and sustainably grown spices and its vibrant digital media channels to several creative product partnerships.

Leah Park Fierro, Milkfarm

After six years as manager of Silverlake Cheese Shop, Leah Park Fierro knew she wanted to start her own business. She wanted to express her passion for educating the community on the fine tastes of artisan cheese. Her startup, Milkfarm, is a neighborhood cheese shop that sells hundreds of international cheeses. They also sell artisanal wine, beer and charcuterie from small, independent local producers.

Shani Jones, Peaches Patties

Peaches Patties is owned and operated by Shani Jones and Yeheyis Bedada. The duo bake and cater traditional Jamaican dishes and patties. The name for Peaches Patties comes from Shani’s mother, who is lovingly referred to as “Peaches” by friends and family. According to Shani, if you visited the Jones family household anytime in the late ’80s or ’90s, you might have found a Jamaican beef patty shoved in between the sofa cushions.

Shannon Saathoff, Once in a Licetime

Entrepreneur Shannon Saathoff launched Once in a Licetime in 2014 to answer the needs of parents searching for support and treatment to eradicate lice. She now has seven locations across Southern California. The Orange County Small Business Development Center (OC SBDC) presented the official grand opening for Once in a Licetime’s location in San Juan Capistrano on June 8th, 2018.

Teri Beckett, SKS Engineering and Planning, Inc.

Teri Beckett is the founder, President, and Chief Engineer of SKS Engineering and Planning, Inc. As a civil engineer, ocean engineer, and arborist leading a team of four, Teri works to ensure coastal construction projects are environmentally compliant.