Category Archives: California Capital News and Updates

California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom Visits California Capital Women’s Business Center to Celebrate Women in Business and “Mom-Preneurs”

SACRAMENTO, CA | Yesterday, the California Capital Women’s Business Center (WBC) had the honor of hosting California First Partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, for a luncheon honoring California’s women entrepreneurs.  

Presented in partnership with the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (also known as CalOSBA, part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development) with sponsorship from U.S. Bank, the event sought to highlight the unique contributions of women business owners to the economy and their communities.  

Women-owned businesses are vital to our communities, as women tend to lead with our values, considering not only our own bottom lines, but the success of our communities,” said the First Partner in a statement on her Instagram page following the event.  

Following remarks from WBC Director Sophia Kanaan, California State Senator Nancy Skinner, who also chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus, and Director Tara Lynn Gray of CalOSBA, the business owners and state representatives from a variety of agencies participated in a roundtable discussion where they shared their perspectives, challenges, and hopes for the future of their business.  

The entrepreneurs in attendance have worked with the California Capital WBC to launch, sustain, and/or grow their businesses. The industries they represented showcased the diversity of California’s small business ecosystem: businesses owners joined from spaces including childcare and early childhood education, cosmetology, artisan goods, hospitality, consumer packaged goods, and more. 

“Hearing [the First Partner] speak today, validating all of our speed bumps and achievements as an entrepreneur herself, gave myself if not all of us, the little extra push we needed to keep going,” said Charone DeShazier, owner of Enorah Jewelry and one of the entrepreneurs in attendance.  

As the California Capital Women’s Business Center continues to grow their innovative training and networking programs, their clientele will continue to thrive and access new opportunities.  

Two California Capital Clients Honored at SBA Sacramento District Small Business Awards

The sustainability of small businesses is always worth celebrating—and when that comes with an official award, all the better. On Friday, May 3rd, two small businesses that have worked with California Capital programs were honored at the 2024 SBA Sacramento District Small Business Awards, as part of National Small Business Week. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in distinct categories.  

ExcelDent Dentistry, owned by Gabriela Solano and her husband Dr. Miguel Guerra, won Startup of the Year.  

From the beginning of their business journey, Gabriela has worked with Charles Thomas, a California Capital Women’s Business Center business counselor. Charles nominated ExcelDent for the award and presented the award at the ceremony. As they navigated the purchase and operation of their dental practice in Sacramento, Charles helped Gabriela and Dr. Guerra understand their finances, business planning, and permit requirements. “Charles brought a mix of professionalism and encouragement right from the start, which was exactly what I needed to get our dental office off the ground,” says Gabriela. “He guided me through all the essential resources and made sure we dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s with every agency involved.” 

Anvaya Solutions, owned by Shobha Mallarapu, was named Contractor of the Year. has worked with California Capital APEX Accelerator counselor James Aldea over the years to prepare to bid (and perform!) on government contracts, and she has grown to be a major player in the cybersecurity space.  

As entrepreneurs continue to power our local economies and communities, California Capital is proud to put their stories at the forefront and ensure they get the recognition they deserve.  

“It Always Takes a Team”: How Patrick Bellard Found Support to Launch His Trucking Business

A typical morning for Patrick Bellard begins at 3:45: he is up, finished with his workout, and ready to take on the day’s work orders by 6.  He’ll start his shift at a hauling service, delivering materials for various construction projects including freeways and community development, attend classes in business administration at CSU Sacramento in the afternoon, and return home to spend time with his two daughters. With this ambition and dedication to providing a steady livelihood for his family, Patrick decided in late 2023 to purchase a semi-truck and trailer of his own to begin building his own construction delivery company, Timeless 500.  

With in-depth advising from Sacramento Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and funding from the California Capital Direct Lending center,Patrick purchased his truck in early 2024 and has begun building his clientele operating Timeless 500.  

As Patrick recalibrated his plans for the future after a move to Sacramento from the Bay Area, his studies in business and his experience with the trucking industry led him to a vision of himself as a multi-industry entrepreneur, with a brand that incapsulates his values of hard work, empowerment, and service. He decided to start by launching his own long-haul trucking company—but he knew he would need funding to get started.  

At the recommendation of a friend, Patrick connected with Sacramento Valley SBDC for training on the technical aspects of running a business and preparing to apply for a loan. Patrick’s business advisor, Kevin Herndon, helped him write a strong business plan and realistic two-year financial projections, two documents that every business owner needs when seeking financing.  

“[Kevin] was awesome. He really helped me go through the process” says Patrick.  “I was new to it, and for a while it seemed tedious to me, but it was a great learning process for me.” 

In addition to the technical assistance, Kevin helped Patrick foster a relationship with the California Capital Direct Lending team, knowing that non-traditional financing would be a better fit for a start-up like Patrick’s. 

“I was having a hard time with conventional banks trying to get a conventional loan, so I came over to California Capital,” explains Patrick, reflecting on the importance of working with a team that believed in his vision. “Through them, they made it happen for me. They helped me make my dream come true.”  

Thanks to his perseverence, and the expertise that he tapped into at Sacramento Valley SBDC, Patrick accessed a $50,000 loan to purchase a semi-truck and cover working capital expenses to get Timeless 500 off the ground.  

As he expands his business and his story, he is quick to shout out those who helped him lay the foundations.  

“Sacramento Valley SBDC and California Capital helped me every step of the way,” he reflects, adding that the support has continued after his loan closed. “I didn’t have to do everything myself. It always takes a team.” 

While he sub-contracts with his previous employer to build his clientele, Patrick continues to dream of ways to expand the Timeless brand and provide motivation for other aspiring entrepreneurs.  

“I’m looking for sustainability in my business, and I’m also into teaching and helping people,” he says. “I’m just here to say that you can do it—I’m living proof. Stick to the prayers, work hard, make it happen.” 

Bear & Crown Pub Brings British Classics to Old Sacramento

For Joe Wilson and Jesse Ledin, owners of Bear & Crown Pub, opening a British eatery in Northern California was a new endeavor in their personal and professional lives—but in many ways, it was familiar territory.  The restaurant, which celebrated its grand opening in August of 2023, is an embrace of the unique backgrounds of each of its founders.   

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Ledin has worked in the restaurant and hospitality industry for nearly two decades, with experience ranging from banquet catering to overseeing restaurant openings, while Wilson is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) bringing extensive accounting experience and his British heritage to the enterprise.  Despite their experience, being a start-up restaurant presented challenges for accessing capital through a traditional bank loan—so when they were looking for funding to finalize their launch, they turned to California Capital and secured a loan that allowed them to complete their renovations of their Old Sacramento location.


Born in London to English parents, Wilson grew up eating—and enjoying—beloved British dishes. When Ledin stepped back from his role at another local restaurant, and the couple realized that their combined skillsets would translate well into operating a restaurant together, the idea of opening a traditional British pub immediately came to mind.  

“We saw a gap for a British pub in Sacramento, and we were craving that homey feel,” explains Ledin, adding that they were intent on opening near midtown or downtown Sacramento, where they live.  

What was originally envisioned as a hole-in-the-wall canteen, says Wilson, has developed into more of a California spin on the time-honored public houses of the United Kingdom. “It reflects my upbringing, because I’m both British and American, and the playful modern spin fits us more,” he says.  

To be sure, the brand itself is a deliberate nod to both locales. Bear & Crown follows the usual naming convention of pubs by having two nouns joined together, says Wilson, explaining that they chose bear to honor California and crown as a salute to hometown NBA team, The Kings. With a logo designed by local artist Spencer Parry, Bear & Crown is as Sacramento as a British-themed eatery can be.


When they began to pursue the project in earnest, Ledin’s connections in the Sacramento restaurant industry proved to be invaluable mentors, and Wilson’s knowledge of accounting and business management made the planning s

eamless. Both of their families are supportive of the vision as well, and have invested in the start-up costs. With support from California Capital, they were able to finish their tenant improvements and open on schedule.  

“Working with [California Capital] was really easy, and it was great to have them visit the site and see the behind-the-scenes of how we were putting the money to use,” explains Wilson. “Working with a nonprofit lender was also a reflection of our love for the local community.”  


Since their grand opening, the founders have kept their staff—and themselves—busy.  They are running promotions for Sacramento Kings fans heading to games at nearby Golden 1 Center, hosting private events and preparing to host more community events with their new entertainment permit.  In the coming months, they also plan to pilot a seasonal initiative in which they will partner with local nonprofits to offer a special menu item whose sales will support the nonprofit of the season.  

Add this to their regular happy hours and weekly, rotating Sunday Roast menu, and it is clear that Wilson and Ledin are staying true to the long-established tradition of pubs being more than a restaurant: Bear & Crown is quickly becoming a hub for entertainment, community building and inclusivity.  

Sacramento Barber Ronald Burt Brought His Vision to Life with Funding and Business Assistance from California Capital

For Ronald Burt, owner of The Lux Barber Lounge, styling services are not just another fact of life–they’re an opportunity to feel your best. At his Midtown, Sacramento location, Ron provides his clients with barber and styling services designed to make them feel pampered and refreshed. Before launching The Lux Barber Lounge, Burt worked with Women’s Business Center business counselor, Prashante Bailey-Lewis. After meeting at a networking event through the WBC’s Motivated Entrepreneurs program, Bailey-Lewis helped Burt fine-tune his business plan and create financial projections to apply for funding through the California Capital Lending Center.  

After completing barber school in New York, Burt returned to his home state of California ready to expand his operation. “I’m passionate about looking fresh and making people feel good, so it just made sense to make it a career,” Burt says, reflecting on being inspired by his cousins in the industry. After completing school, Burt rented stations at various shops, but after relocating to Sacramento in 2021 to be closer to family, he knew that the growing Midtown grid held promise for living out his dream.  


To bring his vision of a high-end barber shop in a prime location to life, Burt knew that he would need to get a business loan. When he heard about the WBC’s Motivated Entrepreneurs meet-up that focused on how to access business funding, he almost did not attend–he had gone to similar events and had never been connected with the right resources.  

But through Motivated Entrepreneurs, Burt learned about the holistic approach of California Capital’s no-cost services–which can take entrepreneurs from addressing business obstacles with a counselor to applying for funding from the in-house Lending Center–and he decided to begin working with WBC business counselor, Prashante Bailey-Lewis to prepare his loan application. 


“Prashante told me she had experience in the beauty industry, so it was kind of a perfect match in terms of mentoring and counseling,” explains Burt. “I had a business plan, but she helped me tweak it, make it better, and also write financial projections.”

 With this guidance, Burt put together a comprehensive loan application and was approved for funding in late 2023. Burt used the funding to secure a lease in the heart of Midtown, Sacramento and purchase state of the art equipment to complete the build-out. Burt celebrated the grand opening of The Lux Barber Lounge in November of 2023, and was also named a finalist of the Motivated Entrepreneurs Small Business Showcase pitch competition. By connecting to resources and a team of experts that believe in his vision, Ron Burt is raising the bar styling services available in Sacramento.  

Sacramento Valley SBDC Partners with Yuba County to Launch Business Start-Up Program

Marysville, CA | Small businesses now have the opportunity to take part in free entrepreneurial education – and a chance at $10,000 – through a new startup program from Yuba County and SBDC. This week, Yuba County opened applications for Yes to Start Ups, a business incubator program established in partnership with Sacramento Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The program is a free, online training series that offers fundamental business education, resources, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs starting or growing new businesses in Yuba County. The series will culminate in a pitch competition where participants will receive start-up funding grants of up to $10,000. Applications are available on and are accepted until January 14. To participate in the program, legal business entities must be registered or plan to register in Yuba County. The 6-week series will take place virtually on Tuesdays, Jan 30 through March 5, 2024.

“Yuba County is a great place to start a business,” says Rachel Downs, Business Engagement Manager with Yes to Yuba. “We have strong communities that love to shop small and support the local economy, and we’re proud to create new opportunities for the area’s entrepreneurs to thrive.”

The series will be taught by a business advisor from Sacramento Valley SBDC, a business development nonprofit that serves Yuba County businesses with no-cost advising and education. The six-week training will focus on writing a business plan—including financial projections, market research, and pitching to funders—and will prepare participants for the pitch competition.

“This program provides an innovative way for entrepreneurs to grow their business and help them to develop a winning pitch to access funding.,” explains SiewYee Lee-Alix, Director of Sacramento Valley SBDC. “We are looking forward to watch business owners pursue their dreams and to continue supporting them.”

Through the capstone pitch competition, the entrepreneurs who complete the educational portion of the program will have the opportunity to receive start-up funding. This increase in access to funding is another significant step towards elevating Yuba County as a location where businesses can start, grow, and thrive.

Through California Capital partnership, City of Lodi expands funding opportunities for local businesses

Today, the City of Lodi Economic Development Department launches its partnership with Sacramento-based nonprofit California Capital Financial Development Corporation (FDC) to create a new loan program for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the City of Lodi. Through the Hometown Microloan Program, low-interest loans of up to $50,000 will be available to Lodi-based businesses with 10 or fewer employees.

“This new source of lending offered by the Lodi City Council is intended to provide a path forward to greater economic growth for startups and small businesses based in Lodi who have experienced hardships in obtaining capital,” explains Astria Trupovnieks, City of Lodi Business Development Manager. Trupovnieks developed the microloan program over a 12-month period in consultation with lending institutions in Lodi, regional nonprofit microlenders and community development nonprofits.

While any businesses who fit the borrowing criteria may apply, these loans are particularly designed to reach first-time borrowers and low-income, minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses. The partnership with California Capital FDC, a mission-based lender that provides loans to businesses who have been denied funding from traditional sources, will be instrumental in providing long-term financing support for Lodi’s growing businesses.

“California Capital provides complimentary business advising as part of the loan application process, ensuring that the applicants are prepared to manage their business and finances effectively,” explains Robert Gonzales, Director of Lending at California Capital, adding that business owners also will have access to ongoing no-cost advising after receiving a loan.

To add to the mission-based approach of the program, the loans will have a fixed interest rate of 5%, which is far below the current prime market rate. These favorable terms are made possible by the City of Lodi who will buying down the interest rate from 9.75 percent in addition to paying all loan fees. Leaders from both entities are optimistic, says Trupovnieks. “Plans are already underway to expand funding for the program to increase the number of businesses assisted in the future.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the Hometown Microloan Program is invited to visit or

With a loan from California Capital, Edwin Balli is Transforming Rio Pub into a Community Hub

Edwin Balli isn’t new to business ownership—but with the purchase of Rio Pub in Rio Linda, California, he is taking on restaurant ownership for the first time. This year, Balli worked with Sacramento Valley SBDC and the California Capital Lending Center to enter the restaurant business and relaunch Rio Pub as a neighborhood institution.   

With a background in the tech industry, Balli launched his first business building custom computers and point-of-sale systems for small businesses with a college friend in 2012. From there, working as a business systems analyst for firms like LinkedIn and Facebook, Balli refined his skills of keeping a business running, so that by November of 2022 when he was ready for a pivot away from Silicon Valley, he was prepared to step back into business ownership.  

Knowing that he did not want to start a new enterprise from scratch, Balli worked with a broker to search for turnkey businesses on the market to buy. His one stipulation: he was not looking for businesses in the restaurant industry. “Then Rio Pub came up,” Balli says, laughing. “We came to see it and instantly fell in love with the neighborly vibe and the friendly people.”

Tapping Into Resources

Balli instantly envisioned the ways that he could revamp the space—he was sold, and he was looking to buy. To prepare to make an offer and enter unfamiliar business terrain, Balli worked with Panda Morgan, a business advisor with Sacramento Valley SBDC, a program of California Capital FDC.   “I had built business plans for start-ups, but never for an existing business,” he says, explaining that different considerations in the formatting and growth projections. “Working with Panda is what helped me realizing that [the business] was viable.”  


After working out what his purchase offer would be and the capital infusion he would need to make it possible, Balli was referred to the California Capital Lending Center to apply for a loan. Without restaurant industry experience, Balli had a hard time finding funding opportunities from traditional lenders—but as a mission-based lender, California Capital was able to take a holistic approach and consider Balli’s business experience and detailed business plan. Ultimately, Balli was approved for funding and celebrated the grand re-opening of Rio Pub in October of 2023. Continuing to work with his business advisor, Balli is honing his skills in accounting, managing inventory, and is applying his business analyst background to assess his progress and plan for growth.  

Creating a Community Hot Spot

Since opening, Balli has worked hard to build trust in the local community and establish a steady clientele base. “I want to get the ‘new owner, new mentality’ message to the community,” explains Balli. “We’re hosting events and making the space more family-friendly. The first thing I bought when I got the place was an arcade machine.” 

To be sure, Balli is well on his way to hosting events every night of the week: their current calendar boasts brunch on Sundays, Taco Tuesdays, Trivia Wednesdays and Karaoke Thursdays. Another local business, D-Dub’s Grubs, rents the kitchen space and serves up innovative and indulgent eats for the pub’s customers.  The consistency is paying off, says Balli. “My goal is to pub Rio Pub on the map beyond Rio Linda and get clients from areas like Natomas, Antelope, and Elverta.  I’m getting feedback from bartenders that they’re seeing new faces.”   

With a clear vision and the skills, expert advisors, and community buy-in to make it a reality, Edwin Balli is well on his way to making Rio Pub a destination for family-friendly fun.

Meet the finalists of the Small Business Showcase Pitch Competition!

Next month, the Women’s Business Center will host the Final Round of their Small Business Showcase Pitch Competition, the capstone event of their Motivated Entrepreneurs networking program. Five entrepreneurs will present their business pitches at the free event, and the top three will receive cash prizes. The competing business owners were selected after completing the first round of the Small Business Showcase in November, where 13 total businesses presented for the chance to pitch at the larger event. 

Preparing for a pitch competition is an impressive feat: the businesses owners you’ll meet below worked hard to finalize their business plans and translate that into a succinct, 3-minute presentation that demonstrates who they are, knowledge of their industry, and how their business solves a problem in that market.

The Final Round will take place on Tuesday, December 12 from 5pm-8pm at 1442 on the Blvd. We hope you’ll join us to cheer on the finalists, learn what it takes to effectively pitch a business, and network with local small business champions.

In the meantime, let's meet the businesses who will pitch at The Final Round!

Itacate, founded by Martha y. Díaz

After falling in love with backpacking and realizing that options for Latin-inspired meals in the back country were limited, Martha Y. Díaz created Itacate – a Latin backpacking food company for adventurers with great taste and strong values.

DRVA Emergency Rescue, Founded by Taneika Jones

Taneika Jones is squashing any and all stereotypes of women in the automotive industry with her company, DRVA – a certified green, woman owned and operated Emergency Roadside business dedicated to rescuing stranded motorists experiencing roadside emergencies. 

The Lux Barber Lounge, Founded by Ron Burt

Ron Burt, proud founder of The Lux Lounge, has over 10+ years of barber experience and is dedicated to helping clients look and feel their absolute best. 

TAP Wine Lounge, Founded by Cynthia Dees Brooks

With her love for food, wine, art, music, & community, Cynthia Dees Brooks opened up the The Artisan Pour (TAP) Wine Lounge where guests live in the moment and enjoy luxury wines from Black-Owned wineries 

Best In Tents, Founded by John Miller and Seth Abbott

John Miller used his passion for nature and live music to create Best in Tents with his business partner, Seth Abbott – luxury camping with full power accommodations at music festivals along the west coast. 

We hope you’ll join us on December 12th to hear more from these inspiring, visionary entrepreneurs!

Like we said, preparing for a pitch competition is no easy feat. Let's meet all of the participants from Round 1 who are working hard on their businesses!

Bahiya Spaulding, Founder of Rock Your Crown Beauty

Specialized products and support services for women of color experiencing hair loss. 

Ashley Geoffrey, Founder of The Suite Spot Collective

Commercial real estate and turnkey rental services for beauty industry entrepreneurs. 

Da'Shena Payne, Creator of The Moisture Oil Comb (MOC)

An innovative hair care tool designed to make hair oiling fast and easy. Part of CAGED. 

Iyanna Jennings, founder of Nouvelle Healing

An inclusive reiki healing studio offering other mind-body healing services. 

La Toya Holmes-Green, Founder of g4 All Access Transport

Non-emergency medical transportation designed to increase accessibility. 

Pamela Marquez, Founder of Puzz e Gata Jamaica

Homemade, authentic agua de jamaica inspired by the flavors of Mexico.

Naeemah Capers, founder of House of Priti

A membership-based community for women and moms to learn the basics of investing.  

Christa Lee, Founder of Priti Mobile Notary

A remote and mobile notary service to make notarization quick and accessible. 

These entrepreneurs are the reason our local small business ecosystem is vibrant and growing!

Big Day of Giving 2023: Supporting the Future of Sacramento’s Small Businesses

As of today, early giving for Big Day of Giving 2023 is open, bringing the opportunity to support hundreds of non-profits across the Sacramento region. This year, California Capital Financial Development Corporation is proud to participate in Big Day of Giving as we celebrate our 40th anniversary. We’re raising funds that will

Melissa Muganzo-Murphy, founder of Mindy’s Kitchen

directly benefit diverse small business owners by allowing us to reach more entrepreneurs from marginalized communities with no-cost business development resources and access to capital.  

“I have worked for California Capital for over 30 years, and I am still inspired every day by the creativity and resilience of our region’s small business owners,” says Deborah Lowe Muramoto, President and CEO of California Capital. “We are looking forward to strengthening our programming to continue meeting the needs of entrepreneurs.”  

It is no secret that the past three years have been challenging for small business–but the resourcefulness of entrepreneurs is unparalleled. Taking advantage of guidance and education from organizations like California Capital, countless small business owners have pivoted their operations, accessed emergency funding and capital infusions, and even expanded.   

“The Sacramento region is full of creative, ambitious individuals,” continues Lowe Muramoto. “Being able to support their dreams and see the impacts they have in their communities makes our work so gratifying.”  

Brittney Hoffman, founder of Glass House Garden

From artists like Brittney Hoffman, who seeks to spread joy with her unique products, to community leaders like Melissa Muganzo-Murphy, who is using their business to increase access to nutritious food for under-resourced communities, small business owners are positive changemakers.  

If you are passionate about seeing entrepreneurs succeed and grow into thriving small business owners, consider supporting California Capital’s work for Big Day of Giving 2023. Your donation will allow us to continue providing no-cost business counseling and educational courses, and access-to-capital programs. Give today and remember to #ShopSmall!  

Head to to donate.