Success Stories

2018 San Francisco District Office Small Business of the Year

2018 California Small Business of the Year

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Matt started his career as a public school educator. His professional career then took him to Southern Japan, where he taught English with the JET program. After working for several years in the hotel/hospitality industry in San Francisco, Matt’s memories of Japan and past culinary adventures inspired him to launch his own ramen food truck, Tabe Trucks. This experience provided him with a first-hand look at the ins and outs of operating a mobile food business — and planted the seed for what would eventually become Off the Grid.

Capitalizing on the initial popularity and growth of Off the Grid Markets, Matt has overseen the company’s growth into a scalable experience platform focused on unlocking the value of space through food. Beyond public events, Off the Grid specializes... Read More

Carmen Crotti is the second generation owner and operator of Tommaso's Ristorante Italiano in North Beach, San Francisco. She has been working at the restaurant for 45 years and fills the roles of co-owner, manager, accountant and server. 

The transition to the third generation has begun as cousins Margi and Giorgio have begun to shoulder more and more of the responsibility.  Margi was first brought into the restaurant when she was seven days old, and Giorgio’s mom had made 120 pizzas on her shift the day he was born.

In 1969, Carmen, with her whole family emigrated from Lake Como, Italy to San Francisco. Carmen and the rest of her family (mother and father, Maria and Egidio Crotti, along with her siblings) expressed interest in taking over the restaurant from its previous owner. In September of 1973, the Crotti family officially took over Tommaso’s Ristorante Italiano. They kept the restaurant's name and the same recipes, decor, and spirit for the past 45 years.... Read More

Food Fit for an Olympian

Nona Lim grew up in Singapore, a country with a thriving food culture.  She was also a serious athlete, almost competing in the Olympics in fencing.  When she moved to the San Francisco Area she began dreaming of starting a business where she could combine her passions and create healthy and delicious foods fit for an active lifestyle.  And thus, in 2006 after receiving free counseling from SCORE Nona was ready to launch her business, Nona Lim. 

Nona Lim started as an online meal delivery program.  However, with the 2008 financial crisis many customers began to cut back on spending.  During this time, Nona reached out to Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, U.S. Small Business Administration Women’s Business Center.  She enrolled in their program, took classes and received business counseling.  With this mentorship, she was able to keep the business going by pivoting and starting a food-based detox program.  This helped grow revenue... Read More

Laurel Smile Dentistry Success Story

This Dentist Learned About SBA’s 504 program through Word of Mouth

Dr. Mussie Sibhatu received his Doctorate degree from the University Of Michigan School Of Dentistry. He specializes in prosthodontics, or rehabilitating broken teeth.  Dr. Sibhatu gained advanced training in full mouth rehabilitation of complex dental cases, placing and restoring implants, removable dentures and cosmetic dentistry.  He provides both general and specialty care to his patients.

Dr. Sibhatu decided to open his practice, Laurel Smile Dentistry, in the Laurel District because he had lived in Oakland before going to dental school. After practicing for a few years in Arizona, he wanted to come back to the Bay Area. When the opportunity to purchase a practice on MacArthur Blvd presented itself, Dr. Sibhatu jumped at the chance.

“I always heard about the SBA loans they provided to small business,” he said. He began his process by approaching a bank to consider a 7(a) loan. After careful... Read More