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"Empower"-ed Veteran Business Start-up Success

Photos or Annabel Ortega de Radillo and her husband Jose, owners of Empower Painting.

When Annabel Ortega de Radillo and her husband Jose decided to start a business, they sought the help of business advisors at the Clackamas College Small Business Development Center SBDC.

Jose’s years of experience in the painting industry gave him knowledge of the operations side of the business, while Annabel brought her military experience managing administrative processes, scheduling, and finances. Even still, they had many questions about how to get started off on the right foot.

Myrna Rattle, the Veteran’s Representative, at the Clackamas SBDC met with Annabel and worked with her through her enrollment in the SBDC’s 16-week Small Business Greenhouse course. This particular course was appealing to Annabel for its affordability, evening schedule, and the comprehensiveness of the training. Well before completing the course, Annabel and Jose were able to launch their business, Empower Painting. Now some years later, Annabel jokes appreciatively that she ‘believes she’s met with the entire SBDC advisor team’.

“We need to have goals and objectives,” Annabel said, while walking around a recent residential client site. This is the advice she would share with other aspiring entrepreneurs. Annabel and Jose attribute much of the businesses successes to the couple’s attention to detail and quality assurance at job-sites. “Jose likes to be onsite, making sure we deliver the best service to our customers. We are so proud and happy when we gain good feedback for our work,” shared Annabel.

Now that they have Empower Painting successfully up and running, Annabel and Jose can reflect on many of the positive aspects of entrepreneurship: the client kudos that the business is earning from the local community, scheduling flexibilities that align with their family-life priorities, and working together in partnership.

Setting goals and knocking them down does not seem to be a problem for Annabel and Jose. They are successful small business owners, the proud parents of their two children, and Annabel still actively serves in the Oregon Army National Guard.

For more information about how to access training classes and workshops for small businesses, visit:

For more information about SBA Programs and Resources visit:, and to find your local Small Business Development Center visit:



Company Name: 
Empower Painting
Clackamas, Oregon