Small Business Person of the Year
Mr. Alan Razzaghi
Freshlunches, Inc. – Northridge, CA.
Freshlunches was co-founded in 2007 by Alan Razzaghi and his wife, who wanted bridge to the gap between what families want their children to eat at school and what is available through the school lunch program. With a vision of providing healthy school lunches to families and schools, the company began with the Razzaghis preparing and packaging lunches at a small rental kitchen. Initially service was just 35 lunches daily, but grew to a few hundred within weeks. After outgrowing two smaller kitchens, Razzaghi remodeled and relocated to an older commissary in 2009, which has enabled the company’s continued growth. A strong believer in building a family atmosphere within Freshlunches, Razzaghi offers career growth opportunities for employees and hosts bi-monthly company-wide discussions covering a range of topics including the company, business management, innovation, entrepreneurship or personal finance and growth. Razzaghi has also initiated programs to identify, train and mentor the next generation of leaders from within Freshlunches.
Innovation Through Technology Business of the Year
FPA Technology Services, Inc. – Calabasas, CA.
Mr. Craig Pollack
FPA Technology Services, Inc. has provided outsourced IT services to growing businesses in the Los Angeles area since 1991. With its “business first” approach, FPA prides itself on being a trusted technology advisor helping clients leverage technology to achieve their business objectives. As a single source for all the technology services an organization may need, FPA offers three areas of service: managed IT services and general network implementation and support; information systems management; and application/web design and development. By providing a “one stop-shop” of IT services to organizations and with a “business before technology” approach, FPA is able to effectively handle all of a company’s IT needs, allowing client management to focus on achieving their business objectives.
Environmental “Green” Conservator of the Year
Ms. Jaime Nack
Three Squares Inc. – Santa Monica, CA.
Established in 2008 by Jaime Nack, Three Squares Inc. (TSI) is a cutting-edge sustainability consulting firm specializing in developing comprehensive sustainability plans for corporate entities, government agencies and academic institutions. The company, which is 100 percent women-owned, has consistently added employees and increased revenues annually. In 2012, TSI ventured into the technology solution arena with the development of the Three Squares Corporate Sustainability Program, and has since worked with a wide range of companies to develop custom sustainability plans and roll them out across their organizations. With the aid of cloud-based technology, TSI has developed a corporate sustainability portal that allows sustainability directors or HR managers to roll out online training across their organization with the click of a button. This new program will serve as a one-stop-shop for sustainability education linked to real-time data collection and will offer interactive training modules for corporate entities.
Small Business Exporter of the Year
Mr. Travis Smith and Joe Notaro
Reflex Sales Group – Encino, CA.
Started by two recent Cal State Northridge graduates and based out of Encino, CA, Reflex assists companies by taking control of their excess inventory and redistributing it internationally to avoid harming the brands U.S. market, as well as saving them from losing their cost. Working in virtually every category – including home décor, housewares, health and beauty, electronics, automotive, toys, stationary and gifts – Reflex provides redistribution to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Caribbean, Panamá, Central America, South America, Japan and more. The distribution channels include off-price retail chains, daily deal web sites, closeout boutiques and casino promotions.
8 (a) Graduate of the Year
Mr. Sanjay Kucheria – Glendale, CA.
Sanjay Kucheria, CEO of Trinus Corporation, is the 8(a) Graduate of the Year. Established in 1995, Trinus Corporation is a full-service professional services firm focused exclusively on data integration, data warehouse, ERP, CRM, internet service and business intelligence solutions. Trinus entered the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program in 2003 and graduated in 2012. During the program Sanjay received management and technical assistance along with business development assistance. Sanjay also attended many procurement fairs throughout the region and is the recipient of various agency awards for service excellence. During Trinus’s participation in the 8(a) Program, they tripled their gross revenues by helping their clients assess, plan, develop and maintain cost-effective, scalable data warehouse and business intelligence solutions. Trinus successfully operates in a variety of sectors, including life sciences, local and state government, automotive, manufacturing, financial services, telecommunications, entertainment, retail, technology and energy.
Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
Ms. Sandy Schneeberger
Los Angeles Chapter Elite SDVOB Network – Los Angeles, CA.
Sandy Schneeberger, President of The Sandberg Group - is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army. Not only is Sandy a veteran business owner and proud scientist who started her business during her military career but she is also the President of Elite Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Network – Los Angeles Chapter. Her advocacy for veteran business owners is unequaled and through Elite SDVOB thousands of veteran business owners have received business education and mentorship, as well as a voice in state and national policies affecting the use of Service Disabled and Veteran Owned businesses in government contracting. In assisting other veterans, she draws on her own firm’s experiences, which focuses on environmental consulting and provides a variety of services, including hazardous materials, geology/hydrogeology, cultural resources management, construction contracting, demolition and renovation. The firm has grown to include offices in Los Angeles, San Diego and Henderson, Nevada, and has national reach with projects throughout the U.S.
Financial Service Champion of the Year
Mr. Roberto Barragan
Valley Economic Development Corporation – Van Nuys, CA
As the President of Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC), Roberto Barragan manages the largest small business development non-profit organization in Los Angeles, with 50 employees in seven offices serving more than 6,000 businesses yearly with financing, training and direct business assistance. Barragan is also the founder and president of the San Fernando Valley Financial Development Corporation, a state guaranteed small business loan program since 2001 and an SBA 504 lender headquartered in Los Angeles County. In 2005, Barragan founded the Pacoima Development Federal Credit Union, which now has 900 members and $4.0 million in assets, and is a licensed SBA 7(a) lender. Over the last 10 years, Barragan has raised more than $75 million in federal, state and local as well as private resources for small and medium sized business development. Barragan has more than 26 years of experience managing non-profit organizations, including the last 20 involved in community economic development, technical assistance to for-profit and non-profit entities and financial resource development.
Women in Business Champion of the Year
Ms. Claudia Porter Viek
California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity – San Francisco, CA.
The CEO of the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), Claudia Viek has built a statewide network of 140 organizations and individuals committed to promoting economic opportunity and community well-being through entrepreneurial training programs and microloans. CAMEO’s members served 21,000 businesses in 2011 with training, business assistance and microloans. With more than 25 years of experience in business incubation, entrepreneurial training and microfinance, Viek is a pioneer in both the micro enterprise and business incubation movement in California. She founded the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco in 1987 and served for 14 years as its executive director. She also founded the Pacific Incubation Network of business incubators from Baja to Alaska to facilitate the growth of a robust micro-business economy along the West Coast.
Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Ms. Beverly Kuykendall
Federal and Commercial Contracts, Inc. – Long Beach, CA.
The President/CEO of Federal and Commercials Contracts, Inc. (FCCi), Beverly Kuykendall works with large businesses to develop small business programs that meet public sector requirements. FCCi facilitates the development of small business programs that accomplish three strategic objectives: return on investment by working with small businesses in all categories 8(a), HUB Zone, SDVOSB and WOSB; incremental increase in market share; and strategic market advantage. Under Kuykendall’s leadership, FCCi has successfully helped organizations gain maximum benefit from the well of diversity for more than 20 years. A strong advocate of small business, Kuykendall has experience in logistics, distribution, sales and marketing management with such firms as Procter and Gamble, American Hospitals Supply, Herman Miller and Xerox Corporation and from leading her own public sector consulting firm.
Small Business Development Center Service Excellence & Innovation Award
Small Business Development Center at Long Beach City College
For the second year in a row, the winner of the Small Business Development Center – Service Excellence and Innovation Award is the Small Business Development Center at Long Beach City College, under the direction of Center Director Michael Daniel. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Long Beach City College comprises of a team of experienced current business owners who provide one-on-one advising services to fellow business owners at no cost. The goal of the SBDC is to partner with clients and teach them the technical skills necessary to succeed in their business. The SBDC at LBCC served 1,059 clients in 2012 and assisted with 69 business startups, which created 359 jobs. The SBDC at LBCC assists business owners in building websites (at no cost) and teaches them how to maintain and update the site on their own. The SBDC at LBCC also helps clients by packaging loans and then shopping that loan for the client (again, at no cost). The SBDC at LBCC also hosts regular workshops at a low cost on various topics such as business planning, finance, legal, marketing, international trade, operations, social media, website build/design, and government procurement/ certification.
Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment – Los Angeles, CA.
PACE’s Women’s Business Center is dedicated to advancing the economic wealth of women through delivering quality programs that build successful businesses and promote asset accumulation. PACE WBC serves women who live throughout Los Angeles County, but targets a sub-market that mirrors PACE’s primary service area which encompasses 102 zip code areas in Central Los Angeles, the South Bay and the San Gabriel Valley. PACE’s target community includes ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Filipino Town and Thai Town. For the past seven years, PACE WBC has built a reputation for superior business consulting services and has provided individual counseling to more than 4,837 clients—2,602 women entrepreneurs and small business owners; helped to start 2,143 businesses; and packaged more than 811 loans totaling more than $19 million. In conjunction with their Business Development Center (BDC), PACE WBC offers a wide variety of services including credit/ financial counseling, homebuyer counseling, business development training, mentoring, and technical assistance programs with trained, experienced business counselors for both start up and emerging businesses. Their comprehensive courses focus on numerous topics such as marketing, financial management, and business plan creation. Through the BDC, PACE WBC also offers access to capital via our loan packaging and micro-loan programs, including our Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) PACE Finance Corporation and our SBA Microloan Intermediary Loan Fund.
SCORE Chapter of the Year Award
SCORE – Ventura Chapter 255 – Ventura, CA.
Dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship provided by our volunteer members, SCORE Ventura’s targets the entire small business community, and those who desire to join that community by starting a business in Ventura County and neighboring cities. SCORE Ventura offers mentoring, free or low cost workshops and seminars, business plan completion training, business loan information and referrals, team counseling to resolve business issues and Spanish language programs focused on Hispanic Small Business issues. In the last year, SCORE Venture has counseled more than 500 small business clients, organized and hosted the annual Small Business Week Expo, held 145 workshops and seminars and performed more than 12,000 hours of volunteer services for the Ventura County small business community – all while maintaining a client feedback rating of 95 percent satisfaction and in increasing chapter membership from 44 to 65 members.