Speakers

                                    


 

Manal Richa | SBDC Business Consultant

Manal Richa is a business consultant with the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Since joining the Orange County SBDC in 2010, she has focused her efforts on assisting her clients with start-up, business growth, accessing capital (loans and micro loans), and marketing. As an entrepreneur, Manal founded multiple businesses including: The MarCom Network, a marketing and creative consultancy firm, helping small businesses build exposure and increase their sales; and BreakThrough Networking, Inc., where she helped clients build relationships, leverage connections and use different social media platforms to take their business to the next level.

Greg Bell | SBDC Business Consultant

Greg Bell is the lead consultant for the SBDC EATS program and can has expertise in restaurant development and operations, labor and costs to profit management. After 11 winemaker dinners as executive chef for The Fish Tale in Long Beach, Greg joined Bennigan’s, a national chain. He trained in their Texas headquarters, learning operations, costing and budget forecasting. Greg returned to work with the 8 locations in CA to improve training, service and costs. After 6 years, he was recruited by Koo Koo Roo Restaurants to develop sales as well as new directions into catering and specialty sales promotions which resulted in the opening of 24 stores. When the chain was sold, Greg started his own SoCal custom catering company. For 23 years, along with his two partners, they became the first operating franchisees of Blaze Pizza in Irvine. After retiring from being a Blaze Pizza franchisee, Greg restarted his catering company which led to joining the SBDC as a consultant in 2017. The opportunity to impart his experiences and advise others starting their food based business is a rewarding extension to his career in food.

Mike Daniel | OCIE SBDC Regional Director

Mike Daniel is the Regional Director of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners throughout Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. As a business owner and entrepreneur himself, he started his career as the owner of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach and went on to open a second location in Long Beach in 2001. At their peak, the locations had a total of 20 employees and both locations had managers and assistant managers. In 2007, Daniel sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder. Mike currently owns a new venture located in Shoreline Village in Long Beach called, Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, based on “fill-it yourself” candy options.

 

Keith Rogers | SBDC Business Consultant

Keith Rogers was formerly a Senior Business Development Officer with Valley Economic Development Corporation, one of California’s largest non-profit small business lenders.  Rogers has been a long-time consultant within the SBDC and is the owner of KAR Enterprises, an independent consulting firm for businesses denied capital from banks. Keith has 25+ years experience helping small businesses access capital throughout California and is on the Loan Committee for the Riverside County EDA RLF program. 

Mike Hill | SBDC Business Consultant

Michael Hill was the CEO and Founder of two software companies focused on education and dental practice management. In addition, he owned and managed a dental business providing laboratory services to dentists and dental specialists throughout the U.S. He has authored three books and has written dozens of articles on dental practice marketing and management. Additionally, he served as the marketing director for an Orange County based construction materials manufacturer where he was charged with bringing multiple new products to market.

Frank Plasso | SBDC Business Consultant

Frank Plasso is a proven visionary and strategic leader that translates business strategies into maximum profits commensurate with the best interest of shareholders, customers, employees, and the public. An expert in nutrition and fitness with a proven track record of creative thinking and implementation to maximize sales. He has developed, operated and managed business opportunities that involve fitness and nutrition. Frank is also dedicated to maintaining a reputation built on quality, service, and uncompromising ethics.

Karie Armstrong | SBDC Business Consultant

Karie Armstrong spent the last 22 years helping retailers, service providers, restaurants and entrepreneurs successfully launch and grow their businesses in a wide variety of retail environments and markets. Her extensive background stems from shopping center management, marketing and development, as well as retail operations and manufacturing. Karie has worked for some of the nation’s leading shopping center developers throughout southern and northern California including Simon Property Group, Macerich, The Mills Corp., Jones Lang LaSalle, Heitman Retail Properties, The Hahn Company and Centremark. Skilled in managing a wide variety of projects and diverse teams, Armstrong has an industry reputation for embracing project opportunities and collaborating across boundaries. In all markets she has successfully paired with Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development departments and other government leaders and organizations to strengthen the area commerce and quality of life for the surrounding communities.

Roger Lloyd | SBDC Business Consultant

Roger Lloyd is an expert in implementing business strategy and utilizing artificial intelligence. He has years of experience in franchise, early-stage startups, and general growth strategies. Roger has over 5 years of experience in artificial intelligence. He is currently the CEO of Truedge AI a leading-edge artificial intelligence firm. Roger has knowledge for every business stage, from ideation to maturity. Prior to that Roger was an artificial intelligence consulting firm and helped individuals with applying development, key hires, sales, marketing, and strategy to artificial intelligence.

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Erick Becerril | Founder of Coachella Food Truck Park

Erick Becerril is spearheading a food-based revolution in the desert valley. At 30, he’s already launched numerous philanthropic, community-minded small businesses and works as a building inspector. Both backgrounds helped him identify the need for mobile street vendors, which lead to his idea of curating food mobile food vending sites around the Coachella Valley. After his official pilot grand opening of the Coachella Food Truck Park on Saturday, March 16 in the Coachella Valley, he tracked over 25,000 visitors in 3 weeks.After learning about a food truck park in Columbia, Becerril enrolled in the SBDC EATS program hosted by the Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center(SBDC), one of the seven service locations of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network and hosted by the County of Riverside Economic Development Agency. The SBDC EATS program offers business development support and professional experience to help startup and early-stage food entrepreneurs.

Presented by the Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center and Powered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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