Success Stories

Brown Sugar Kitchen

            Tanya Holland started Brown Sugar Kitchen on January 15th, 2008.  Her soul food restaurant offered full service dining and some catering. Tanya’s first restaurant was so successful that she leapt at the opportunity to expand to a second location.  “We needed to expand since the first business has limited seating and hours and the demand for our product was great, and still is.  We’re still busting at the seams now, with 45 minute to hour long waits at both places,” said Tanya about her growing empire.

            Tanya found out about OBDC from a neighbor who works at the organization.  In 2011, Brown Sugar Kitchen received a $50,000 SBA Microloan from Oakland Business Development Corporation (OBDC) to cover renovations to Tanya Holland’s 60 seat restaurant in West Oakland. The renovations included new flooring, kitchen equipment and a new grease trap. A portion of the proceeds was also used as working capital.

            OBDC provided feedback on her... Read More

CAS Inter Global owner Sammie Xiao

In 2012, China passed another impressive benchmark – it became the largest importer of food and beverage products in the world surpassing the US market.  That’s good news for US food companies and the US balance of trade, and it’s also good news for many US export companies.  Often overlooked in such statistics is the key role that US export brokers play as the middleman in navigating and linking US food producers to the Asian appetite for safe, high-quality, US-made food products. 

One such trader is CAS InterGlobal, LLC, a small startup business based in Pleasanton, California, led by Sammie Xiao.  Xiao had witnessed the growing demand for US food products while working for a major US trading company and handling Asian accounts for nearly a decade.  In 2013, she pulled together a team, invested some capital, and started her own trading operation, signing up a network of US food makers to begin selling everything from cookies, chips, and cereal to bottled water and dried... Read More

Bob and Renee with Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and Coreena Conley in the Lab

          Bob Vermillion, Founder and CEO, and Renee Mitchell, President, own and run RMV Technology Group, an electrostatic discharge (ESD) lab located on the NASA Ames campus, Moffett Field, California.  According to NASA’s website, ESD is a forty billion dollar problem annually.  Because of improper handling, packaging, storage and shipment of ESD devices, validation is a key prerequisite for mitigation of damage to electronics. The RMV test laboratory conducts materials and system level testing and performs research and development for various industry sectors that include aerospace, defense, medical devices, semiconductors, and pharmaceuticals. 

            RMV provides recommendations to minimize ESD damage or failure in all types of environments that range from cleanrooms to harsh environments. Moreover, RMV research improves processes from robotics manufacturing to transporting satellites.

          RMV Technology Group is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned... Read More

Mike Hannigan, President, (left) Sean Marx, CEO (right)

            Long before “sustainability” and “corporate responsibility” became buzz words, Sean Marx and Mike Hannigan brainstormed a way to merge their business savvy with their desire to give back. Already partners in the office supply world, the "Aha! Moment" came as Mike cooked dinner one night. Opening a jar of Newman's Own spaghetti sauce, he thought, "Hey if Paul Newman can do it, so can we!"

            As a result of their ideals and collaboration they have given millions to local nonprofits since 1991.

            Sean Marx began his career in 1988 as a territory sales representative for Ricoh copiers in San Francisco. He quickly became a top performer and was promoted to sales management. Soon after, he was approached by Mike Hannigan with the idea of starting Give Something Back.

            Says Marx, “As a sales manager, I was very successful financially, but I was disillusioned with the priorities of my peers. Focus on material wealth and a lack... Read More