Success Stories

The School Life

When she founded Escuela-Viva, Angie Garcia wanted to create an early childhood education program that would have a direct impact on the overall development of the children it served. “I wanted to create a community that would support the development of well-rounded children,” said Angie. In order to achieve this, it meant building a school, from the ground up.

Escuela-Viva is a bilingual preschool located in Southeast Portland that serves children and their families. Today’s thriving and successful enterprise began 10 years ago in Angie’s basement.

As the mother of a nearly two year old, Angie needed to work to support her family. Yet she could not find a preschool that fit her needs and she worried about the lack of socialization that a nanny would provide. So instead, she turned to her years of experience as a child and family social worker and set out to start her own school.

The school started with just a few children, including her own daughter. Before... Read More

The Sweet Side of Business

When Debbie Eggers and Janelle Mikula met outside their daughters’ classroom six years ago, they had no idea they would start a business together. But, while shopping at a local candy store during a family vacation together, Debbie mentioned her dream of opening her own business, and Janelle thought it sounded like a great idea.

A few months and a lot of research later, Debbie spotted a flier in a vacant downtown Gresham storefront and realized that this was their chance. At the time, the City of Gresham was waiving building and licensing fees to encourage growth on Main Street. So Debbie and Janelle got to work.

“Our biggest struggle in getting started was creating a full-fledged business plan. Neither of us had any idea what this meant or how to get started,” said Debbie. “This is where the SBA came into play.”

Debbie and Janelle enrolled in a class for startup businesses at the Mt. Hood Community College Small Business Development Center, where they learned... Read More

Developing clean energy, one briquette at a time

 

Hiroshi Morihara has had a long, distinguished career in business; from being a mechanical engineer, inventing silicon manufacturing processes, starting up manufacturing plants, working as a consultant in semiconductor and biotech industries and developing property. It wasn’t until the beginning of this century though, after his wife suggested he return to inventing, that he developed the idea for HM3 Energy.  He had just finished reading a book about energy and hearing a speech on the environmental ramifications of coal plants, when it hit him. His invention would be a cleaner form of energy, and that’s just what HM3 Energy has developed.

HM3 Energy has a proprietary torrefaction process to turn biomass into clean fuel to replace coal in coal-fired power plants. HM3 Energy's TorrB briquettes can be made sustainably from readily available and abundant biomass sources such as urban wood waste, agricultural residue, and forest waste. Existing power plants designed to... Read More

Best Friends and Business Partners Put e200 Skills to Work

Lori Oswald-Kosmas and Toni Hyde were drawn to entrepreneurship from different places. Lori didn’t like the desk-bound nature of her former corporate job and decided she wanted a change; Toni entered the industry after her father’s terminal illness forced her to leave college and return home to work and care for him. Toni’s father was an entrepreneur and instilled that drive in Toni before passing away.

Following their natural inclinations and recognizing they each had a flair for sales, in 2004 Lori and Toni teamed up to start Beyond Uniforms & Apparel in Hillsboro, Oregon. With over 30 years of combined marketing industry experience, this duo had strong ideas about how to start their company. Eight years later, Toni and Lori continue to work together selling uniforms, flame resistant clothing, safety clothing, promotional marketing products and corporate apparel to customers all over the United States.  Impressively, their revenue doubled in 2011, and they now proudly... Read More

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