Success Stories

Saalex Solutions, Inc.

Saalex Solutions is a Department of Defense contractor primarily in the area of operations and maintenance of weapons testing and training ranges.  Saalex Solutions was founded by Mr. Travis T. Mack in 1999, became certified as an 8(a) Service Disabled Veteran Minority Owned Business in 2004, and successfully graduated from the 8a program in 2011.  From 2010 to 2013, Saalex Solutions’ revenue grew from $5.3 million to $35.5 million and was listed by the Pacific Coast Business Times as the 2nd fastest growing privately owned company in the tri-county area (Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties) in back to back years in 2013 for (2012) and 2014 (for 2013).  During the same time, total employees grew from 78 to 294.  Saalex has also been recognized nationally by INC. Magazine placing 816th on the INC. 5000 on the fastest growing companies.


Saalex Solutions was awarded a 5-year, $163 million 8(a) set aside contract to manage land and Sea weapons testing... Read More

Ceto Support Services

CJSeto Support Services, LLC (CJS) thrived under the auspices of the 8(a) program and continues to thrive after graduation.  Managing Director Chet Seto owes this continued success partly to a strategic shift from generating revenue based on a company profile to narrowing the company focus to areas with the strongest growth potential and where a successful track record of quality performance was evolving, as well as all of the help he received over the years from the U.S. Small Business Administration Los Angeles District Office and its resource partners.

“Since graduating the 8(a) program in 2013, we have won nine contracts worth a total value of $27 Million, and added 65 positions to the company,” said Seto.  CJS added three branch offices as medium and long term contracts supported the costs of expansion and commensurate increase in personnel.  “We have also leveraged our teaming arrangements to reduce the risk of overcommitting resources to expansion that is not... Read More

Owner and CEO Kelly Chapman

Mac-O-licious is a small restaurant in the Valley Village area. It was founded as a food truck by Kelly Chapman in 2012, and it has successfully grown into a beautiful storefront in less than two years. After receiving a loan from VEDC, as well as business training and consulting services from the Women’s Business Center, Chapman was able to take her restaurant to a whole new level. Since the opening of her first storefront Chapman's cheesy comfort food has received nationwide notoriety. Mac-O-licious has now been featured on CNBC’s Restaurant Startup, as well as Locale Magazine, and the Real Mom of SFV blog to mention a few.

One of Chapman’s secrets of success is her constant effort and passion to serve the community. Chapman has hired 9 individuals from varied ethnic backgrounds, many of whom were unemployed or homeless before having the opportunity to work for Mac-O-licious. The comfort food, combined with the Mac-O-licious unique team creates a welcoming environment that... Read More

Sugarbird Sweets & Teas: Delectable Delicacies Owner Kei Okumura

Sugarbird Sweets & Teas: Delectable Delicacies

It’s not uncommon to end up in a career far afield from your college major.  Kei Okumura took this phenomenon to an extreme and now owns her own thriving small business.

With a college degree in political science, you’d think Okumura would have found herself working for an elected official in Washington, D.C.  But instead of flying to our nation’s capital, she worked in the film industry for her first career then Okumura flew to Paris to study French pastry baking.

Following her culinary passion, in 2002 she immersed herself in the Ecole Superioure du Cuisine Francaise, a bakery/catering program where she graduated at the top of her class.  Returning to Los Angeles, she gained baking experience at local restaurants and then launched her small business dream in 2008 – Sugarbird Sweets and Teas, featuring her products at farmer’s market stands in South Pasadena and Larchmont.

Sugarbird Sweets specializes... Read More