Renata Maculans, Renata’s Creperie

Renata Maculans started her dream business in a truck. Her idea was to offer people in her town inexpensive, nutritious food that was also interesting and tasty. She went to the North Coast SBDC in 2000 for initial assistance in concept development and bookkeeping setup.

Lamees Dahbour, Mama Lamees

Most Americans have sampled hummus, that creamy Middle Eastern blend that is the perfect complement for vegetables and crackers. Well, the Bay Area is now excitedly trying new items like musakhan: pita bread with onions, almonds, and sumac.

Patricia Van Der Beek, CreArt Preschool

Originally from Brazil, Patricia Van Der Beek came to the US to make her childhood dream of starting a preschool a reality. She worked three jobs to put herself through a Master’s program in early childhood education. Then she won a scholarship that allowed her to complete a business management certificate at UC Berkeley. In 2015, with the help of the Marin SBDC, she was able to open CreArt Preschool.

Michelle Constant, CONSTANT Associates

Michelle Constant founded CONSTANT Associates in 2004 as a disaster and crisis management consulting firm. Their first contract involved the delivery of biological terrorism exercises for the government. But to grow, the firm needed expert help.

Mariatu Browne, Tu Organics Salon & Spa

Mariatu “Tu” Browne discovered her passion for hair at the early age of 9. She used to braid hair in her home country of Sierra Leone. Fast forward to California in 2006, where a generous investment from a friend helped her open her first salon, Tu’s Studio Hair Design. A series of personal hardships, coupled with the onset of an economic downturn, forced her to close her doors.

Yolanda Quam, The Fuel Shack

Not even two years young, San Clemente’s Fuel Shack displays expertise well beyond its age. Not only does founder Yolanda Quam’s breakfast and lunch kitchen boast the 13th highest national ranking, it provides a community atmosphere where every customer feels like family.

Tam Le and Richard Lai, Tam’s Restaurant and Sandwiches

Tam Le is no stranger to making food people can’t get enough of. Her bakery, aptly named Tam’s Bakery, was already a staple for dozens of Garden Grove families, college students, and locals. The immense popularity of an off-menu item, a soup served to royalty in her native Vietnam, prompted Tam and her husband, Richard Lai, to consider opening a restaurant.

Ivellisse Morales, bombilla

For a decade, Ivelisse Morales has been an expert in marketing, helping brands of all sizes with the power of creativity. In 2018, she decided to leave her career in corporate responsibility to start her dream company.

Shannen Enos Pousada, Enos CPR Services

When starting her medical career, Shannen Enos Pousada wanted to be a coroner. But she quickly realized that was not her path. The hospital where she did her coroner training had a busy emergency room with lots of opportunities to learn, so she switched to emergency medicine and became an emergency room nurse.