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Success Stories

Sonia Stewart came from humble beginnings with little support to make a better future. In her late twenties, Sonia decided she would change her life. She had a dream of business ownership so she decided to take business classes and improve her photography skills. Her passion in photography of babies, families and weddings was the gateway to making her dream into a reality. 

In an online search for starting a business, Sonia discovered the Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center and applied for their “It’s Your Time” (IYT) series. She will tell you, those three seconds of searching changed her life forever. The IYT, 90-day entrepreneurial training series for women helps to kick-start a business idea by completing a business plan, working one-on-one with a business counselor, and attending workshops on business management, marketing, financial projections and accounting. Sonia had no idea of what to expect but she instinctively knew this was exactly what she needed. 

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Exquadrum, Inc. is a research and development engineering company that develops and demonstrates new rocket propulsion and munitions technologies for the Department of Defense, NASA, and commercial space. It is organized and equipped to accomplish all stages of product development including product invention, design, analysis, fabrication and testing.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs... Read More

Iris Cherng is the CEO of Honey Belle in Brea, CA. The business was started in 2015 by Cherng and her boyfriend, Calvin Hang, COO, when they were just 21 years old to provide clean, organic skin care products at an affordable price. In April of 2019, Cherng was accepted into the first Emerging Leaders cohort in Orange County where she has been building an actionable strategic growth plan along with 19 other local small business owners.

Raised by parents who are both holistic doctors of natural medicine, Cherng understands the benefits certain plants and herbs offer the skin. With the guidance of her mother, Cherng started experimenting with recipes to combat adult onset psoriasis she developed while attending college. The results were amazing, and she shared her products with friends. What started as a hobby quickly transformed into a business opportunity and Honey Belle was born.

Honey Belle is a natural and organic skin care company that sells products online and at... Read More

Stearns Product Development doing business as Proluxe opened in 1971 in Perris, CA. Forty-eight years later, the Raio family has built a legacy of success and innovation for three generations. The family-owned business originally opened as a job shop and focused on manufacturing automotive, construction, aerospace, and industrial products. In the 1980’s, an experiment using a shirt press as a pizza dough press worked so well the company decided to refocus their vision and change directions—talk about innovative! The job shop eventually transitioned to a food equipment manufacturing business and became a leader with patented pizza presses known as Proluxe.

Started nearly five decades ago by Gene Raio, the company is now led by second generation owner, CEO Steve Raio along with his son, Chief Marketing Officer Scott Raio.  Over the years, Proluxe has overcome challenges, expanded their operations, and taken advantage of international business opportunities. The Great... Read More

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