Category Archives: California Capital News and Updates

California Capital Meets With Delegation of Kosovo National Assembly Members to Discuss Women’s Economic Participation

May 17, 2022 | This morning, California Capital Financial Development Corporation met a delegation of representatives from the National Assembly of Kosovo for a conversation on expansion of women’s economic participation and business development models. The delegation, whose trip was made possible through the Open World program of the Congressional Office for International Leadership and Global Ties Sacramento, consisted of Members of Parliament Ms. Tinka Kurti and Mr. Enis Kervan. Representatives of the Women’s Business Center (WBC) and Lending Center provided insight into how California Capital addresses pressing local and universal business issues.

“Supporting microbusinesses can look different across cultures,” explains Deborah Lowe Muramoto, President of California Capital. “But we learned that the need for more people–particularly women and ethnic minorities–to successfully enter the workforce is common between Kosovo and California.”

In-Depth Discussion

With the issue areas of particular importance to the visiting Members of Parliament including gender equality, microbusiness, and minority rights, the conversation focused on how California Capital’s technical assistance and lending programs are designed to serve and grow women- and minority-owned businesses.

Knowledge sharing included best practices for reaching specific communities with resources, and WBC Director, Sophia Kanaan, provided insight into specific programs–such as Licensed to Care–that provide culturally competent training to empower women to open and operate businesses. For their part, the representatives of the delegation, who were joined by a bicultural/lingual facilitator and an interpreter, shared context of the types of businesses that women in Kosovo typically own, and the ways in which the government supports microbusinesses in the country.

“We were honored to host this meeting with representatives from the National Assembly of Kosovo,” says Lowe Muramoto. “Any opportunity to share information and learn from others is one we are grateful to accept.”

Creating Global Ties

It is clear that, while systems and economies may differ, entrepreneurship is an important area of opportunity for populations around the world, and conversations like today’s are crucial to expanding the positive impact of business ownership.

More than 30,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in the Open World program. Open World offers one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs to promote mutually beneficial options for depolarized engagement between future national leaders. It is a unique but no less powerful tool for Congress to engage legislatures in critical regions of the world.

Global Ties Sacramento, a Division of World Trade Center Northern California

Global Ties Sacramento influences positive global change and fosters mutual understanding through the facilitation of professional, cultural, and educational exchanges. Connecting international leaders with the Greater Sacramento Region, they provide opportunities for people from around the globe to engage in meaningful dialogue, build relationships, and create a more peaceful world. Global Ties Sacramento is a division of World Trade Center Northern California, and a member of the Global Ties U.S. network. Global Ties Sacramento is the only organization of its kind in the Greater Sacramento and Central Valley regions. On an annual basis, Global Ties Sacramento hosts over 400 international visitors, contributing over $550,000 to the local economy through hotel stays, dining expenditures, and participation in cultural activities. In addition to the economic impact, their work expands cultural fluency, showcases global perspectives, breaks down barriers, and provides citizen diplomats the opportunity to shape and advance foreign policy goals.

COIL, a Support Agency of the Congress

Founded in 1999 by Congress, the Congressional Office for International Leadership (formerly known as the Open World Leadership Center) maintains a vast network of more than 30,000 alumni in strategic countries including Russia, Ukraine, and others in the Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It’s Open World program supports legislative diplomacy efforts for Members of Congress by conducting exchanges that establish authentic communication and enduring relations that are maintained through its extensive alumni network. Program participants are provided with exposure to the work of Congress, American politics, accountable governance, and volunteerism while being home hosted by American families. To learn more about the Open World program, please visit https://www.openworld.gov/.

iBank Report: More than 10,000 Jobs Created or Preserved at California Small Businesses through COVID-19 Micro Loan Guarantees

May 10, 2022 | Today, the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) celebrated a new COVID-relief milestone — more than 10,000 jobs have been created or preserved for Californians operating or working at small businesses throughout the state since April of 2020.

Created through a $50 million investment by Governor Newsom, IBank’s COVID-19 Micro Loan Guarantee initiative gives lenders the confidence they need to lend to small- and microbusinesses that otherwise struggle to access capital at a time when they need it most.

“Creating or retaining ten thousand jobs at the smallest of California’s small businesses is significant,” said IBank Executive Director Scott Wu. “IBank’s COVID-19 Micro Loan Guarantee initiative is not only helping small businesses keep the lights on and the doors open, it’s helping the owners and employees persevere through a dark and difficult time and emerge on the other side of the pandemic.”

Nonprofit Partnership

 

In partnership with California’s nonprofit Financial Development Corporations and lenders statewide, IBank — housed within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development — to date enabled California’s smallest businesses to access more than $92 million in approved loans.

“These are the moments you feel like your work matters; like you’re making a difference. Especially when you consider these businesses average five or fewer employees,” said Megan Hodapp, manager of IBank’s Small Business Finance Center. “IBank couldn’t do it without our Financial Development Corporation partners and the lenders who use our loan guarantees. They make all our work possible.”

Broad, inclusive outreach, largely aided by California’s mission-driven, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) ensured expanded access to the program, including access for underserved populations and underserved communities. Approximately 86% of the loan guarantees are serving small businesses owned by females or minorities or that are located in low- to moderate-income areas.

IBank’s loan guarantee programs have been incredibly successful with low rates of default, a testimony to the efficacy of the program. As a result, lenders are building confidence in small businesses’ ability to pay back loans that help those businesses start, grow, and thrive.

Capital Region Small Business Week Returns in May, Bringing Business Networking to Sacramento

Today, California Capital Financial Development Corporation (FDC) announced their participation as planners and hosts of Capital Region Small Business Week 2022, to take place May 2-7. Coinciding with National Small Business Week, Capital Region Small Business Week is the local series of educational, networking and celebratory events across the capital region.  With a week of virtual and in-person offerings, this year marks the first time the event has been held in full form since before the covid-19 pandemic.  

“The small business owners of Greater Sacramento have been an incredible force during the ongoing pandemic,” says California Capital Women’s Business Center (WBC) Director, Sophia Kanaan. “In addition to honoring their impact and resilience, our hope with these events is to connect them to local experts and resources to help them thrive and grow.”  

Sharing expertise

Indeed, the line-up of speakers reflects the vast knowledge and experience of the capital region’s small business ecosystem: The events of Capital Region Small Business Week will offer a diversity of perspectives on crucial small business topics–from taxes and accessing capital, to technological innovation and international business–from representatives of government agencies, higher education, startup networks and civil society.  

In addition to educational events, Capital Region Small Business Week focuses on building connections within the region’s business landscape. With in-person mixers and matchmaking events, the week will put small business owners in contact with business development leaders to share perspectives and find opportunities for partnership.

Building networks in Sacramento

“When entrepreneurs know that they’re admired and supported, and know how to take advantage of that support, their ideas thrive. And that effect ripples through their communities,” continues Ms. Kanaan, who will lead the California Capital WBC team in hosting a May Mixer to close out the week on Friday, May 7.  Click here to view the full schedule of events. 

These events align with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week, which the SBA has designated for more than 50 years to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

California Capital FDC launches new Sacramento Valley SBDC

March 9, 2022 | After a year-long application, vetting and onboarding process, the Sacramento Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is open for business, and California Capital Financial Development Corporation (FDC) is thrilled about the opportunity to host the program. 

In January of 2021, the NorCal Small Business Development Center program sent out an open request for proposals to host SBDC service centers within its 36-county territory for the purposes of delivering no-cost one-on-one advising and free or low-cost trainings to small businesses.  

The SBDC is the largest technical assistance provider for small businesses in the U.S. and is part of a national network of nearly 1,000 centers, which are funded by grants through the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA).  In California, these are supplemented by the State of California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).    

Previously called the Capital Region SBDC, the renamed Sacramento Valley SBDC is one of 16 service centers in Northern California where small businesses can get the help they need to start and grow their enterprise. 

“Coming out of the COVID business crisis, the SBDC recognizes the need for innovative approaches to entrepreneurship,” said NorCal SBDC Associate Region Director Ann Johnson-Stromberg. “Every partner has something different to offer and we are excited about this one with California Capital.” 

The SBDC is the largest technical assistance provider for small businesses in the U.S. and is part of a national network of nearly 1,000 centers, which are funded by grants through the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA).  In California, these are supplemented by the State of California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).   

In 2020, the NorCal SBDC provided workshops to 39,575 attendees, and no-cost, one-on-one advising to more than 26,000 small businesses through its combined 20 service centers and regional programs in the northern half of the state.  The positive economic results included assisting clients access an unprecedented $539 million in loans and investment capital last year. The program also helped clients start 316 new businesses, created 8,500 new jobs and helped increase sales by nearly $266 million. 

SiewYee Lee-Alix, an experienced business advisor and former program development manager with California Capital FDC, was hired in January to lead the newly launched center in Sacramento that will provide services to small businesses in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. 

“SiewYee’s deep knowledge of the business development landscape complements her passion for connecting small business owners to the resources they need, and seeing them thrive,” said California Capital FDC president and CEO, Deborah Lowe Muramoto. “As an integral part of the California Capital FDC team, she used her expertise in procurement and program development to help small businesses remain open and even expand during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

SBDC Day is Wednesday, March 16, 2022. SBDC Day is a national, collective proclamation of the impact America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have on the success of our nation’s dreamers, innovator, and doers: America’s small businesses.  

For more information on Sacramento Valley SBDC or to apply for SBDC Services, visit www.sacramentovalleysbdc.org or call (916) 655-2100. 

# # # 

About the California SBDC Program

The California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program is the leader in providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with the tools and guidance needed to become successful. Local SBDCs provide comprehensive and expert guidance on issues such as start-up basics, financing, business and marketing plan development, exporting, technology advising, procurement and government contracting.  One-on-one advising is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and local partners and is offered at no cost. Consulting is supplemented by low-cost or free seminars and conferences. These services are delivered throughout California via an extensive network of 49 Small Business Development Centers. The California SBDC network serves more than 65,000 small business owners annually. Learn more by visiting: www.californiasbdc.org 

About SBA 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. Small business is critical to economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam. www.sba.gov 

New Microbusiness Grant Program to Make a Big Impact

March 3, 2021 | The Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce the new Microbusiness Grant Program that is being funded by the State of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) and administered by the County. Through this programmicrobusinesses in the County that have been adversely affected by the pandemic will have the opportunity to apply to receive relief grants of $2,500.

The application period will be open April 1-29, 2022. More information about the Microbusiness Grant Program can be found on the website here.

“It’s much more than just being optimistic” : The Importance of Mental Health for Entrepreneurs with Life Coach Asia Hilario

January 6, 2022 | Oftentimes, a new year brings with it new resolutions, and refreshed focus on personal and professional goals. For Asia Hilario, a certified Life Coach and successful mental health blogger and podcaster, the new year is also the perfect opportunity to uproot the beliefs that are keeping us in cycles of burnout and stress.

In addition to growing her own business, Ms. Hilario is the teacher of our upcoming eight-part mental health series, Preparing For Harvest, which begins January 21st. (It’s offered free of charge–click here to sign up!) We sat down with her to discuss her business journey, tips for entrepreneurs to cultivate mental health, and why the harvest is a fitting metaphor for self-love. 

*Note: this is a transcript of a longer conversation. Some comments have been edited for length or clarity* 

 

California Capital: How did you get your start as an entrepreneur?

Asia Hilario: I originally started as a fashion blogger after people on social media reached out asking me to share about my outfit choices. I started that blog, and it got some traction, but my heart wasn’t in it. After more people reached out suggesting I write about my philanthropy, which I had been doing for years but didn’t promote, I transitioned to a lifestyle and mental health and wellness blog. A few months after launching, one of my posts went viral and my blog was read in 160 countries. 

When more people started messaging me looking for advice, someone suggested that I become a life coach. I didn’t know people got paid to do that! So I got my certification and launched my coaching business in 2020. I was able to leave my corporate job and work on my business full-time just eight weeks after launching. 

 

CC: What services do you offer now? 

AH: Now, I offer a 12-week self-love program, which includes individual and group counseling. There are modules, coaching and accountability calls, and guidance during the 12 weeks. We cover the “7 S’s” of Self-Love during the program. I’ve had about 25% of my clients leave corporate jobs to become entrepreneurs. 

 

CC: Do many clients come to you looking to make the jump to business ownership?

AH: They don’t necessarily come to me thinking they want to pursue entrepreneurship, but through the program they realize they don’t feel aligned with their current job any more. It takes a lot of bravery and healthy self-esteem to really go after what you want, and self-love is where that starts. 

 

CC: Why did you decide to focus on mental health as a career? 

AH: I’m a childhood abuse survivor, so with that background I grew up with a lot of self-limiting beliefs. I also have depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I firmly believe that mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, and it also helps us handle stress and make healthy choices. In regards to entrepreneurship, it’s tied to the belief that we can thrive and have success in a chosen industry. 

Once I started taking care of my mental health, my whole world changed. I think everyone could benefit from learning how to take care of their mental health. I’m also a former crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line, so it has always been a passion of mine. 

 

CC: Do you see common themes among your clients who are entrepreneurs? 

AH: Definitely: burnout, imposter syndrome, stress, overwhelm, feelings of inadequacy. Those are the most common themes. During Preparing for Harvest, I’ll talk about “self-concept”, which is a collection of beliefs about oneself. Many entrepreneurs don’t realize that a lot of their thoughts, actions, and beliefs are rooted in childhood, trauma, or other past experiences. 

 

CC: How does self-concept impact mental health? 

AH: Unless we get to the root of our self-concept, we’ll be recycling the same challenges. The people that don’t see change in burnout, etc., it’s because they’re only going surface level. They’re not digging deep enough. In terms of self care, self-concept is really big because we have to dig into what identity we’re anchored to that is keeping us from doing what’s good for us. 

Because we know what to do! It’s just getting ourselves to do it that is the challenge. 

 

CC: What do you wish more people knew about mental health/wellness? 

AH: I wish people knew that it’s much more than just positive thinking and being optimistic. 95% of what we do, say, think is on autopilot by our subconscious. It’s kind of scary to think that we’re not really in control. Our subconscious is our master program, so unless we reprogram we’ll just repeat the same patterns. Will power can only go so far, and just being positive doesn’t get to the root of our problems.  

I also think that people forget the brain is an organ. We think mental health is just in our heads–we don’t hold it to the same standards that we do our bodily health. When we experience something traumatic we sweep it under the rug, rather than seek the help we need to make sure we heal properly. Chronic stress hugely impacts our mental health and brain. I read recently that 72% of entrepreneurs are affected by mental health issues compared to 48% of non-entrepreneurs.

 

CC: Why did you choose the name “Preparing for Harvest” for your upcoming series with the Women’s Business Center? What does that concept mean to you in relation to mental health?

AH: As entrepreneurs, when we’re producing fruit that is not good in our business, do we change the branch, or do we change the soil and the environment that we’re growing these fruits in? I like that analogy because unless we uproot and change things, we’ll produce the same fruit. 

We think mental health is on the surface level, and a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of us can be addicted to the stress and we don’t know it. I wanted to create an analogy that would show the importance of digging deep. 

Preparing for Harvest runs January 14-March 4 and is offered online, free of charge. If you are ready to dig deep and plant the seeds of mental health and business success, click here to register.

Meet Emily Sanders, Founder of Connect to Change and Winner of Fall 2021 Startup to Success Pitch Competition

Emily Sanders is a survivor of human trafficking and homelessness, and founder of Connect to Change.

December 13, 2021 | When speaking with small business owners, it becomes clear that for many, entrepreneurship starts with a mission. For Emily Sanders, that mission is profoundly personal. Through her nonprofit, Connect to Change, Emily has begun a mission of “Empowering Lives Today for Success Tomorrow!” by connecting women experiencing homelessness who have become victims of human trafficking on the street to the resources and support they need to escape abusive situations and build fulfilling lives.  

As a survivor of homelessness and human trafficking, Emily knows how pressing the threat of both is in the Sacramento area. “Sex trafficking and homelessness are serious issues. In fact, Sacramento is a hot spot according to detectives, KCRA3 reports,” she explains. “I have a profound passion for helping these women in need as I understand what they are currently up against.”

 

BUSINESS SUPPORT THROUGH WOMEN’S BUSINESS CENTER 

Last week, Emily graduated from the 16-week Startup to Success Generator Series offered by business consultant Natasha Palumbo via the California Capital Women’s Business Center (WBC). Over the course of the program, she worked with a cohort of other early-stage entrepreneurs to gain in-depth knowledge of how to create a workable business plan, prepare financial projections, and successfully pitch Connect to Change to possible funding sources. The course culminated in a friendly pitch competition, during which all participants pitched their businesses to a panel of judges made up of WBC consultants and local small business advocates. Emily was named the winner of the competition, with the judges commenting on her impressive preparation, knowledge of the industry, and personal dedication to the endeavor.

 

STARTING SMALL FOR BIG CHANGE

While she is in the process of establishing the business  foundation of Connect to Change, Emily has begun to network with the populations she ultimately hopes to reach with her services. She is beginning with outreach events to build relationships within these communities, and express to women in crisis the options that are available to them. 

 “Baby steps will lead to big leaps,” she says, expressing her ambition to someday offer comprehensive services within Connect to Change. As she grows, she hopes to offer housing programs and safe houses, and become the main resource center that women can depend on as a way out of crisis. 

Emily’s accomplishment and vision for Connect to Change are proof that entrepreneurship is about much more than just offering a product or service–it is about hope.

“It’s made me more resilient”: Maestro Coffee House Owner Antronette Robinson Says Being a Veteran Is Key to Her Business Success

Antronette Robinson opened Maestro Coffee House in Natomas in July, 2019.

November 5, 2021 | Antronette Robsinson’s life has taken her down many paths: she is a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces, and a Registered Nurse serving as the Nurse Service Chief of Community Care with the Veteran Administration Health Care System. Most recently, she has taken on the role of entrepreneur, running Maestro Coffee House in Natomas while maintaining her full time job. In many ways, says Antronette, her training in the Army prepared her for the particular challenges of entrepreneurship.  

Antronette began her career in nursing in 1994 as a Licensed Vocational Nurse, going on to obtain her Registered Nurse license and serve as a critical care nurse in the Army for 12 years. After an honorable discharge, Antronette went on to work with the Veteran Administration Health Care System in Community Care. “Being a platoon leader in the military overseeing over 500 soldiers, in addition to the leadership classes they required, prepared me for management on the civilian side of things,” Antronette says, explaining her current role as the Nurse Service Chief, where she manages over 150 employees.

Working Towards Entrepreneurship

It took time, however, for the idea of business ownership to enter into Antronette’s plans. Around 2018, she visited the business of a friend from church, a coffee shop named Maestro Coffee House. After talking to her about what owning a coffee shop was like, she began her own research. 

“That’s when the wheel started turning and I thought, ‘I could totally do this’,” explains Antronette. “I decided I would open up a business that could give back to the community, something that I would love to keep and pass down to my kids as a family-owned business.”  

Building on her love of tea and coffee, owning a coffee shop felt like a natural choice. After visiting numerous local coffee shops, networking with other cafe owners, and completing barista training courses, the opportunity to enter the arena presented itself. When the owner of Maestro Coffee House closed her business, Antronette worked with the property owner to start a new lease, and opened her revamped Maestro Coffee House in July of 2019. She decided to keep the name that two previous owners had used for the business, building on the established reputation. With this opening under new ownership, Maestro Coffee House became the only non-franchised and black-owned coffee shop in the immediate area.

Army Training Informs Business Journey 

Antronette became certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran business owner, and through the entirety of her business journey, she has returned to her training in the Army for guidance. 

“I attribute my confidence as a business owner to the leadership courses I took during my time in the military, and my abilities as

Antronette served as a critical care nurse in the US Army for 12 years.

a manager to my experience as a platoon leader,” she explains, adding that her time in the Army also made her more resilient and determined as a business owner, equipping her to think outside the box. 

Thinking outside the box has certainly been necessary during Maestro Coffee House’s first two years in operation, as the Covid-19 pandemic hit just a few months in. While working full-time at the Veteran Administration, Antronette pivoted her cafe operations to be covid-safe. She added curbside pickup options and began selling via food delivery apps like DoorDash and Grubhub. Working with California Capital business consultant Danielle Marshall–a fellow veteran and entrepreneur, who Antronette met at the cafe and connected with immediately–Antronette has successfully pivoted and stayed up to date on the resources available to help businesses succeed during Covid-19.

Well-Deserved Recognition

Reflecting on the early days of the pandemic, Antronette says that she is glad that she kept her full-time job. Despite the long hours and competing priorities, having extra income was crucial to Maestro Coffee House staying afloat. 

“My income from the VA helped me to continue to pay my employees [at Maestro],” she explains. “I did not want to lay anyone off. Using my income from nursing to supplement business costs, I was able to keep everyone employed.” 

Antronette with California Governor Gavin Newsom outside Maestro Coffee House in January 2021.

This dedication to her staff did not go unnoticed. Maestro Coffee House was visited by California Governor Gavin Newsom in January of 2021 to highlight the importance of the proposed provisions in the State of California budget that ultimately established the California Relief Grant. Joined by Danielle Marshall, Antronette shared her perspective on what challenges small business owners face, and services that the State could offer to address them. Following this visit, Maestro Coffee House was also featured on KCRA 3 News for a piece discussing Governor Newsom’s initiative.

Connecting with Community

Looking ahead, Antronette and her team are eager to continue growing her business, and, while being mindful of covid-19 safety restrictions, looks forward to partnering with local groups to host events that uplift the community. Before the pandemic, Maestro Coffee House hosted art showcases for local high schools, and rented out their space to churches and other community groups. These types of events are key to Antronette’s vision for a business that functions as a hub for community networking, and are a great opportunity to show the youth what type of success is possible with the right mindset.  

Overall, Antronette says that her staff, her daughters, and the customers that have become regulars at the cafe are the highlights of her business journey. “I’m really blessed to be loved by my family and work family,” she says. “They’ve all taken ownership. You can’t ask for anything more than for employees to do that–that’s hard to come by.”

ICYMI: Small Business Success Series 2021 Highlights and Small Business Award Winners

October 29, 2021 | The California Capital Women’s Business Center’s second annual Small Business Success Series wrapped up today with the Small Business Awards & Recognition Ceremony. The series featured five days of business celebration, advice, and friendly competition. If you weren’t able to attend, check out the highlights below, and get excited for next year.

Monday 10/25: Get to Know Your Women’s Business Center Team

During this hour-long session, the counseling, program, and communications staff of the California Capital Women’s Business Center (WBC) introduced themselves and shared their “Top 5” tips and words of encouragement for entrepreneurs. 

Recurring themes included the importance of resilience, networking, and making use of free resources and services offered by California Capital FDC and other business development groups. To become a WBC client, click here


 

Tuesday 10/26: Small Business Owner Panel

The Small Business Panel featured entrepreneurs from a variety of industries in conversation with moderator and WBC business consultant Danielle Marshall. Panelists discussed their reasons for getting into business in their particular industries, the challenges they have overcome during the covid-19 pandemic, tips for keeping customers engaged, and their advice for aspiring business owners. Key takeaways included the importance of networking, the constant redefinition of “success”, and how large accomplishments can result from momentary failures. 

Click here to view the full panel


 

Wednesday 10/27: Pitch Competition Winners Announced 

The 2021 WBC Pitch Competition wrapped up on Wednesday, with five finalists selected for prizes ranging from $100 to $1000. The winners were: 

To learn more about each winner and tips for a successful pitch, watch the recorded session here.


 

Thursday 10/28: WBC Virtual Marketplace

The WBC Virtual Marketplace allowed small business owners to showcase their products and/or services to buyers and procurement specialists from boutique retailer Marshall Retail Group (MRG) and the Sacramento International Airport (SMF). 

The Virtual Marketplace featured six vendors, who are currently being highlighted on the California Capital website, (click here to view and get a head start on your holiday shopping!) and a live session during which representatives from MRG and SMF shared about upcoming opportunities and the process of doing business with them. 

View the full session here


 

Friday 10/29: Small Business Awards & Recognition 

The Small Business Awards & Recognition Ceremony capped off the week of celebrating the resilience and success of California’s small businesses. The title of Small Business of the Year was given to businesses across eight categories. Join us in congratulating the winners of the 2021 Small Business Awards! Click here to view the full awards ceremony.

 

Start-Up/Entrepreneur of the Year: Clutch

Founders: Anne Descalzo and Rachel Zillner
About: Clutch provides event management, project coordination, and staff management services. They connect organizations to the resources they need to achieve their goals including staffing, strategies, business services, and project management.

Website: clutchontracts.com

Community Engagement Business of the Year: Kaplan Solutions, Inc 

Founders: Glenn and Jill Kaplan
About: A small business focused on international trade and chemical distribution and expanded with the help of PTAC as an SB Vendor supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sanitizers, and disinfectants to State Agencies.
Website: kaplansolutionsinc.com

Small Business Community Impact Award: Resilient Families 

Founder: Jillian Van Ness

About: Resilient Families connects new and growing families through classes and discussion groups—outdoors and on Zoom—through touch, sound, and movement.

Website: growresilientfamilies.com

Small Business Expansion of the Year: Wear Your Love 

Founder: Jillian Lotz

About: Wear Your Love sells custom made wedding dresses all over the world via the internet. Each dress is made to order based on each bride’s measurements. Their gross sales grew significantly from $10,000 in 2015 to $550,000 in 2020. 

Website: wearyourlovexo.com

 
Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year: Words Unite Bookstore 

Founder: Ashley Booker-Knight 

About: Ashley Booker-Knight is a US Army Veteran and bestselling author. Words Unite Bookstore It is a traveling bookstore that operates as a pop-up bookstore that presents signed copies of books written by independent authors. She partners with AAFES Military Exchange to operate pop-ups.
Website: wordsunitebookstore.com 

Sustainable Small Business of the Year: All Events & Management Group

Founder: Lisa Montes

About: Formed to specifically benefit service, non-profit and local organizations that are community oriented. They pivoted during the pandemic to offer covid-safe events and support community organizations. 

Website: alleventsplus.net

Small Business Innovator of the Year: Kalbinur Tursunjan, owner of Deluxe Limousines LLC.

About: Kalbinur Tursunjan began working as a limousine driver, and at just was 22 years old, in March 2016 she took over ownership of Deluxe Limousines LLC from the previous owner. In that time, she has grown the business from one to four vehicles.  

Women’s Business Center Business of the Year: Connect Consulting Services 

Founder: Nora O’Brien

About: CCS consults with businesses to help them launch or enhance an emergency management program. They take a holistic approach to emergency management, business continuity and disaster recovery for organizations, businesses and government agencies.

Website: connectconsulting.biz

Association of Women’s Business Centers Annual Meeting: California Capital Business Counselor Charles Thomas Wins Advisor of the Year, WBC Director Sophia Kanaan Joins National Board of Directors

September 16, 2021 | Yesterday morning marked two significant achievements for the California Capital Women’s Business Center (WBC). During the annual meeting of the Association of Women’s Business Centers, Sophia Kanaan, Director of California Capital’s WBC, was inducted into the association’s Board of Directors, and Charles Thomas was announced as the winner of the Advisor of the Year award.

Sophia holds a Masters in Public Policy from McGeorge School of Law.

The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) is the leading non-profit that sustains the national network of Women’sBusiness Centers, bringing together more than 100 WBCs across the country. As a newly inaugurated board member, Sophia joins not only the largest, but the most diverse Board of Directors in the organization’s history. This new position will allow Sophia to build on her passion for connecting small businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources and mentorship crucial to their success, and to take her leadership to the national level.

Charles Thomas began working at California Capital in February of 2015.

Charles Thomas was named as the 2021 Advisor of the Year for his years of work helping hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses at various levels of maturity to achieve and surpass their goals. In her nomination statement, Sophia Kanaan noted that Charles’s determined service to his clients is grounded in his philosophy of the Three Ps: positivity, purposeful action, and paying it forward. Charles first began peer-to-peer mentorship as a teenager, volunteering as a peer counselor for elementary and middle school students in under-resourced communities, and has maintained his mission to uplift individuals from all walks of life. Eight other highly impactful business advisors were nominated from across the country, which speaks to the depth of expertise represented in the organizations that comprise the AWBC. 

The accolades received, as well as our accomplishments and commitment to small businesses are a testament to our WBC Director, Sophia Kanaan and her leadership,” says Deborah Lowe Muramoto, President and CEO of California Capital. “We just celebrated her sixth anniversary with California Capital, and I am so proud to congratulate her.” 

 “And, a very well deserved congratulations to Charles Thomas, our WBC Business Counselor,” Deborah continues.  “Thank you Charles for your true commitment to helping small businesses turn their dream of business ownership into a reality.” 

These achievements are a testament to the commitment that the California Capital WBC team makes on a daily basis to continue providing excellent guidance and service to California’s ambitious and hard-working small business community. 

Congratulations, Sophia and Charles!

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