Assisting Clients in
Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
hosted by: Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County (EDC-VC) SBDC

The SBDC hosted by Economic Development Collaborative – Ventura County

About the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by the economic development collaborative – Ventura County

Mission Statement

Our mission is to strengthen existing business entities, and assist start-ups through high quality, no cost counseling, and high quality, affordable training programs

SBDC is a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provided in partnership with community resources. The SBDC, hosted by Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) in Ventura County, serves both Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties with professional consultants and trainers available in convenient outreach centers across the region. The EDC SBDC is part of a larger network administered by the SBDC Lead Center hosted by Long Beach Community College District, providing access to an even greater pool of experts from a wide variety of disciplines.

A regional public/private economic development organization, EDC-VC works to maintain the region’s economic health and vitality, delivering services that promote jobs and economic growth and raise overall productivity and incomes. EDC-VC provides high-quality business assistance in the form of counseling, training and research for both existing and prospective small businesses in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties which result in job creation, retention and regional economic impact. EDC-VC is also a community-based lender, assisting businesses with access to capital, and delivers a comprehensive program on international trade, promoting business growth and competitiveness through improved access to global markets.

About the EDC SBDC Team

The Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County’s Small Business Development Center of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties has a robust roster of experienced business advisors to address every business need across a wide variety of industry sectors. As experts in their fields, our advisors are available to assist area businesses with free, confidential help. Please contact us at 805.384.1800 to schedule your appointment.


Ray Bowman, D.B.A.

Position: Executive Director
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Management and Operations

Ray Bowman, D.B.A., is the director of the Small Business Development Center of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. He's a business veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He started three businesses, including an international trade consulting firm, and has worked as a consultant, trainer, and manager for several SBDC offices. Ray is a specialized consultant in international trade logistics, trade finance, vendor compliance, import and export compliance management, and overseas vendor and buyer issues. He has been an international and national keynote speaker and presenter in logistics infrastructure, international marketing, import and export, non-tariff trade barriers, and international export economy. Ray serves as adjunct at Babson in Executive Education. Ray has a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma and is the program chair for the District Export Council of Southern California.

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Business Advisors and Staff

Bill Bartels

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Legal, Compliance, Management and Operations, Strategic Planning

Bill Bartels, B.A., is the principal in a diversified farming/management/organizational development company generalizing in facilitation of diverse teams with divergent ideas and goals. Bill works in public policy and spent 17 years with the city of Fillmore in various roles, concluding his tenure as deputy city manager. Bill served on the Ventura County Planning Commission for 12 years and is a fourth-generation Ventura County farmer.

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Tracy Beard

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Fundraising for Nonprofits, Operations

Tracy Beard has served as Executive Director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce since 2015. Prior to joining the Chamber, Tracy worked as Human Resources Manager at Marriott Corporation Restaurants Division in Washington, D.C. specializing in workforce development for over 25 years. She has owned and operated a property management company for the past 30 years. Tracy currently serves as President of the Association of California Commissions for Women (ACCW) which works to ensure the implementation of key policy and legislative changes for women in business. Tracy is an advocate for female entrepreneurs and regularly lends her expertise to local nonprofits looking to build their fundraising capacity and improve operational efficiency.

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Erica Bristol

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Legal Compliance, Intellectual Property Protection

Erica Bristol is an attorney and commercial mediator, specializing in intellectual property and business contracts/transactions. A graduate of UCLA School of Law, Erica served as corporate in-house counsel for over 11 years. A commercial mediator for over seven years, Erica is the owner and principal mediator of a commercial mediation service provider. She currently serves as a panel mediator for the Untied States District Court, Central District of California, the Santa Barbara Superior Court and the California Association of REALTORS®, Buyer/Seller Mediation Program.

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Adam Chapnick

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Marketing Communications, Public Speaking

Adam Chapnick is an empowerer, disruptor, and entrepreneur who advises founders with big vision. Adam has a strong track record of simplifying complex problems and bringing revolutionary solutions to market in fields as diverse as entertainment, finance, and real estate. As a strategic communications specialist, Adam tailors consumer-facing and investor-facing company messaging for dozens of companies, helping founders distill their vision into inspiring, engaging language that drives investment, sales and strong word-of-mouth. He is also a partnership specialist who has prospected, negotiated and closed more than 70 strategic partnerships in diverse fields to fulfill an array of strategic objectives. A prolific public speaker, Adam has made more than 300 presentations to every vertical imaginable across corporate, non-profit, arts, and financial categories.

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Carlos Conejo

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Management and Operations, Strategic Planning, Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing, Bilingual in Spanish

Carlos Conejo, B.A., is president of Peak Performance Seminars, Training & Consulting. A leadership and management advisor specializing in Lean and Six-Sigma methodology, he is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. Carlos started his career as a product manager and sales manager for the managed health-care industry, where he specialized in business turn-around. He is a published author and frequent speaker at conventions and conferences.

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Megan Cullen, BA, CGBP

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: International Business, Marketing and Sales, Proficient in Spanish, German and French

Megan Cullen, BA, CGBP, grew up in Europe and began her work in international trade processing letters of credit at a lumber exporting, woman-owned business in Portland, OR. In California, she has worked as the international sales manager for a rescue equipment company and a scientific equipment manufacturer, managing company sales and distribution to a network of distributors worldwide selling to universities, research institutions and governmental agencies worldwide. Owner of a consulting and marketing firm, Cullen speaks several languages and serves as the DECSC Secretary and Vice Chair, Central Coast.

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Jonathan Davis

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Government Procurement, Marketing, SBA Women/Minority Owned Certifications

Jonathan Davis is a third generation SBA 8(a) Small Business graduate and Federal Government Roofing and Construction Contractor. Mr. Davis has over 15 years’ experience in Government Procurement, Marketing, and obtaining SBA Women/Minority Owned Certifications. He has served as a mentor to minority and women entrepreneurs in Ventura County since 2010 and has continued to keep strong ties to the youth community in Ventura County through his work with youth organizations.

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Sebastian De Vivo

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Business Financing, Entrepreneurship

Sebastian De Vivo, Ph.D. is the co-founder of List Ventures and Sophist Capital, both focused on inclusive access to capital for women and minority entrepreneurs. In this role, he has facilitated over $35M in debt and venture capital investments to portfolio companies. He serves on the Investment Committee at Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs of Southern California. In addition, he has worked on several initiatives focused on building inclusive ecosystems nationwide. Sebastian received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University.

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Dean Dela Cruz

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing, Management and Operations, Strategic Planning

Dean Dela Cruz, B.S., is a principal consultant with a consulting firm supporting business leaders in the deployment and training of Lean Six Sigma in manufacturing and healthcare. In addition, his team of highly skilled consultants provides specialized engineering-based studies key to generating cash flow: R&D/manufacturing, software development tax credits, cost segregation and energy management.

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Deborah Deras

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Digital Marketing, Social Media, Public Speaking

Deborah Deras has a Master's degree in Education and Bachelor's degree in Marketing. Deborah is a business owner since 2002, providing Fortune 100 companies with peak performance corporate training, and is also an international speaker and author. She has served as a marketing consultant to various Small Business Development Centers with expertise in digital marketing with a specialty in content creation, social media strategy, YouTube, SEO, Facebook, livestreaming, podcasting, Instagram sales, and how to speak with confidence on camera. She speaks English and Spanish and has been a sought after professional speaker for over 20 years.

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Anthony Curtis Elliot, CPA

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Finance and Loan Packaging, Venture Matchmaking, International Business

Anthony Curtis Elliott, B.A., CPA, is a forensic accountant and intellectual property “royalty audit” specialist who performs royalty and contract compliance and related consulting services to a broad base of companies. With more than 30 years’ experience in accounting and finance, he has held positions as accounting director and controller for both medium and large companies. In 1993, he developed a broad-based accounting and consulting practice. His corporate clients are based in the United States, Canada, and Japan.

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Gonzalo Fernandez

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Finance and Loan Packaging, Venture Matchmaking, Strategic Planning, Bilingual in Spanish

Gonzalo Fernandez has a business degree from La Salle Business College in Havana, Cuba. He is the founder of a small business financing advisory firm. His areas of expertise are analyzing and securing business loans, and strategic planning. An experienced banker, he had held senior management positions at national, regional and community banks, including First California and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. He has also developed and grown SBA lending programs throughout California.

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Melissa Forziat

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Marketing Strategy, Email Marketing, Social Media

Melissa Forziat is a Hermosa Beach-based marketer, speaker, consultant, and author. She helps small businesses market on a budget with specialties including marketing strategy, email marketing, social media marketing, sponsorship marketing, and partnership marketing. Before starting Melissa Forziat Events and Marketing, Melissa’s career involved roles with the Olympic Winter Games, Rugby World Cup, and the US Olympic Committee. Now she adapts this knowledge for microbusinesses and those operating with more limited resources. Melissa is the author of the free eBook Small Business Marketing on a Budget and is the former Board President of Ventures nonprofit in Seattle.

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Erin Fredregill

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Marketing and Branding, Social Media, Web Design

Erin Fredregill, B.A., is the Founder/CEO of a full-service social media agency providing strategy, content marketing, and implementation services to small and medium-sized brands in a variety of industries. Her experience spans over 6 years of in-house and agency experience managing integrated marketing campaigns for accounts in numerous industries as diverse as software, retail, entertainment and construction.

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Rigo Gonzalez-Nossa

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Human Resources, Industrial Relations, Corporate Policy

Rigo Gonzalez-Nossa, GPHR, is U.S. Army Gulf War veteran with 20 years of international human resources experience in the oil & gas industry, living and working both in the U.S. and abroad. Fluent in Spanish, he earned his B.A. in International Relations from San Francisco State University, and his Master’s in Public Administration from Georgia Southern University. His experience includes disaster relief with the SBA-ODA, as well as in the private sector. He is the founder and CEO of Ubiquity Digital, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations to connect with their human component while evolving in the strategic, tactical, and technological challenges of HR. Other areas of expertise include: organizational culture, global mobility, HRIS, industrial relations, corporate policy, performance management, HR integration.

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Elizabeth Haffner

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Restaurant Management

Elizabeth Haffner has over 14 years' experience managing all aspects of a full-service restaurant and bar, including a private dining room, takeout and delivery services, from systems and software integration, to physical execution and staff management. She is a self-motivated and progress-driven owner/operator with an extensive and varied background and a drive to optimize. Elizabeth has a long-standing record of initiative, innovation, and growth, and has developed and executed strategies to help restaurants make money, while providing top-notch service.

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Joshua Halpern

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: E-commerce, International Business Bilingual in Spanish

An international market-entry leader, Joshua Halpern consults on cross-border e-commerce optimization in product categories including beauty, retail & apparel, medical devices, agriculture, baby products, health food & supplements and other goods. From 2011 through 2015, Mr. Halpern led the e-commerce, retail, franchise, licensing, cosmetics and logistics portfolios for the U.S. Embassy in China, where he provided market-entry consulting for U.S. companies. He founded and launched the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National E-Commerce Innovation Lab. His work has led to his creation of the Getting to Global Initiative and its free online Export Accelerator. Halpern has led start-up teams for multiple companies, including his own, throughout the world. He holds a B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, an MBA from INSEAD and an EMBA from Tsinghua University. He speaks Chinese and Spanish.

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John Haughey

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, International Business, Management and Operations, Marketing and Sales

John Haughey, B.S., is the CEO/managing partner of a domestic and international company. John lives in Beijing, China, and has spent more than 28 years working in Asia, Europe and the U.S. He formed his company as a Foreign Invested Commercial Enterprise that focuses on reselling enterprise solutions used in data centers. John has created long-term business plans, advised marketing and sales departments, and managed the government relationship team in China.

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Shalene Hayman

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Finance and Accounting

Shalene Hayman, B.S., has worked in the accounting industry for more than 20 years. She has experience with local public accounting firms and as a partner and principal in her own firms specializing on managerial finance/accounting functions. She is the CFO/Controller for many large nonprofit organizations and small businesses in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

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Greg Hayward

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Web Design, Marketing

Greg Hayward has been the owner and operator of an online marketing and web presence company since 1997 and has served a variety of clients in vary diverse industries. Greg also plays a role in an IoT company that he cofounded and has served on the board of directors for many local nonprofits. Greg has had success in business development, planning, strategy, online marketing and startup origination.

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Noel Heredia

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Enterprise Management, International Operations

Noel Heredia has more than 25 years of global experience and an outcome-driven, entrepreneurial mindset that underpins his successes in establishing, supervising and motivating multinational teams of specialists. His visionary thought leadership is based on a solid, routinely updated, engineering background. He is a practicing software engineering process architect and enterprise management executive with a servant leader mindset and business acumen, accomplished at inspiring and driving successful tactical teams on a mission, as well as managing complex international operations. He designs and implements digital-centric operating models for enterprises and governments looking to compete and grow in the evolving digital economy.

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Vikram Jadhav

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Strategic Marketing, Product Development, Digital Transformation

Vikram Jadhav is the Chief Digital Officer for LACERS, one of the largest retirement systems and pension funds in the U.S., where he leads its digital transformation across a variety of operational verticals, including customer experience, information architecture, and workflow. Over the course of his career, Vikram has developed a diverse professional portfolio in building out product development, sales enablement, strategic marketing, and business intelligence practices in the civic, technology, finance, and real estate sectors. Prior to his current role, he helped launch a venture backed mobile POS solution in play in over 32 sports and entertainment properties throughout the U.S. (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) and led the design-build of a mixed-medium digital selling platform for a Fortune 100 wealth management company. In his spare time, he advises pre-revenue founders on growth strategies through the Startup Launch SBDC program and is a guest lecturer on innovation methods and tactics at University of Southern California.

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Mark Kapczynski

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Strategic Business Development, Fundraising, Operations

Mark Kapczynski specializes in strategic business development, fundraising, product/market/fit, pitch decks, IP and operations in a wide range of industries, including data, FinTech, AdTech, media, consumer services and consumer digital health care. He has worked for Microsoft, Experian and Yodlee and venture capital organizations Arrowroot Capital and the UCLA Venture Capital Fund.

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Doug Korte

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Strategic Planning, Management and Operations

Doug Korte is an internationally recognized global technology business executive, investor, and transformational leader, experienced in turning-around and growing high-tech companies sized from start-up to Fortune 50.  In addition to serving as an executive for IBM, HP and Harris Corporation, responsible for multi-million-dollar business operations, he has helped over a thousand C-level and other top executives at companies of all sizes around the world break through to new levels of success. Today, Doug serves as an Executive Partner, Leadership Advisor, and Interim Executive, providing actionable, outcome-based advice and execution to accelerate the achievement of client goals.

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Jeffrey Lambert

Position: Business Advisor

Jeffrey Lambert, AICP, is an experienced local government administrator, most recently serving as the Community Development Director for the Cities of Oxnard and Ventura, California. Jeffrey is a certified City Planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners and has held senior leadership positions with the American Planning Association. Complementing his public sector experience, Jeffrey has spent much of his career working in the private sector for a Los Angeles-based land use and political lobbying firm, Kaiser Permanente and for his own firm Lambert Consulting Services. After years of public sector dedication, Jeffrey has recreated his own firm and is dedicated to bridging the gap between the public and private sector in support of local economic development.

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Ed Lee

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Business Consulting, Strategic Marketing, Operations

Ed Lee is a go-to-market expert, and CEO of HelloAdvisr, a growth consultancy helping leadership teams accelerate growth with high-impact strategies. Ed works with businesses across growth stages and draws on experience from industries including eCommerce/retail, software, digital health and wellness and consumer goods.

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Robin Lee

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital

Robin Lee has been at the forefront of startup and venture capital ecosystems for both Asia and Silicon Beach since 2007. She funds, grows and expands boundaries of startups she helps. Having been on both sides of the table, as both a funder and a founder, Robin has a long track record of producing successful startups. She’s worked with many accelerators, universities, government-funded programs, and VC funds. At Sophist Capital, a startup she founded, Robin provides “Entrepreneur Talent Assessment,” which aims to discover entrepreneurial talents. At Expert Dojo, she discovers Asian unicorn startups and provides them funds and support for their exponential growth.

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Sean L. Leonard

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Management and Operations

Sean L. Leonard, MBA, is the president and founder of his company which oversees multi-million dollar real estate projects primarily for nonprofits, developers and public entities. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the Southern California real estate development and construction industry. Sean brings the appropriate resources into projects at the appropriate time and is an expert at project closeouts and turnarounds. Sean managed two projects, which were awarded the prestigious AIA Presidential Award for Project Team of the Year.

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Bonnie Lu

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Marketing and Sales, Management and Operations, Strategic Planning, Access to Capital, Bilingual in Spanish

Bonnie Lu is the founder and CEO of an import/export consultancy. Bonnie has over 14 years of experience assisting clients in managing all areas of international transportation of goods, including negotiating payment terms, shipping arrangements, storage, customs and regulatory compliance. Bonnie is also well versed in managing and delivering trade show presentations and also the logistics involved in international shows and exhibitions. 

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Tova Mac

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Business Operations, Strategic Development, Marketing.

Tova Mac is a self-starter, focused on business operations, strategic development, and marketing. With more than 15 years in start-ups and small businesses, her passion is  supporting founders, diverse businesses, and developing talent.

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Sylvia Martini, B.A., CGBP

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: International Business, Marketing and Sales, Bilingual in German

Sylvia Martini, B.A., CGBP, supports clients with international trade, marketing and sales, public relations and web communications. Bilingual in German and English, she has over 30 years experience in international marketing and sales in several diverse industries, where she conducted competitive analyses, identified markets for start-ups, developed marketing strategies, provided sales training, organized events and trade shows. Sylvia has an international business certificate, and is a certified global business professional from NASBITE International.

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Ron Meritt

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: International Business, Manufacturing Assistance, Management and Operations, Marketing and Sales

Ron Meritt, B.A., is the president of an international technology company. He invented and patented a portable video system for vehicles and created a market that grew to more than $200 million in 18 months. He has worked in many countries as a field engineer in the semiconductor and robotics industries, and has been an executive managing global engineering organizations. His company now designs, manufactures and globally distributes multiple products in different industries.

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David Mitroff

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Business Consulting

David Mitroff, Ph.D. is a business consultant, marketing expert, keynote speaker and author who has held numerous consultative positions for diverse organizations such as LexisNexis, United Healthcare, U.S. Department of Justice, Providian Financial, Nordstrom, Limited Brands, Constant Contact, Ben & Jerry's and the YMCA. David brings to the EDC SBDC his experiences as the Founder and Chief Consultant of Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc., through which he provides business consulting and marketing services to create brand awareness, strengthen customer loyalty and generate new opportunities. David works with diverse clients, including restaurants and retail specialty stores, franchises, professional services firms, start-ups and individual entrepreneurs.

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Lauryn Nwankpa

Position: Business Advisor

Lauryn Nwankpa specializes in early stage impact/social enterprise support including impact business models, impact measurement, impact strategy, product/market/fit, customer discovery, pitch decks and narrative development, product and mvp development, and monetization strategy.

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Simona Racek

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: International expansion, export planning, entrepreneurship, fluent in Romanian

Simona Racek is an International Expansion Advisor. She grew up in Romania and began her work in international trade as a paralegal for a large law firm in downtown Los Angeles. Simona is the CEO and Founder of Just Down the Street, an export management company. Her expertise touches on different areas of exporting from building global export market plans and export budgets, to obtaining state, federal, and regional grants to support export activities. Simona also advises companies on export regulatory compliance.

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Ramin Ramhormozi

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: E-commerce, Marketing, SEO

Ramin Ramhormozi is a results-driven, technology and e-commerce focused entrepreneurial executive with a track record for launching innovations and growing new product offerings and businesses. Highly proficient in all areas of e-commerce including business strategy, fulfillment, architecture/platform strategy, digital advertising, social media, financials and day to day operations of an e-commerce enterprise.

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Juliana Ramirez

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Quickbooks, Bilingual in Spanish

Juliana Ramirez is an accountant, entrepreneur, business adviser and Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor. With over 20 years of experience, she has trained and helped small businesses including her own—from restaurants to retails stores, car dealerships to dental offices and Non-profit organizations.

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Elianne Rodriguez

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Business Consulting

Elianne Rodriguez is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in small businesses, education and tech. Elianne fosters community and designs culturally competent programming to connect diverse talent to opportunities that reflect the intersectionality of Los Angeles across racial, socioeconomic, gender, education, sexuality, and immigration status. She works with business owners to leverage technology, break glass ceilings, compete globally, and disrupt a wide range of industries including: education, healthcare, digital media, artificial intelligence, sustainability, transportation, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, logistics, green technology, procurement, big data, software, hardware, e-commerce, internet of things, blockchain, social impact, finance and entertainment.

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Karen Scuncio

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Strategic Planning, Marketing and Sales

Karen Scuncio, B.A., has over 25 years of experience in international business. Scuncio’s expertise touches on all areas of exporting from export pricing, screening potential customers, distributor agreements, product labeling requirements, international shipping and payment terms as well as sales and marketing. Since 1997, she has been a principal in a business consulting and sales representative services company which she helped start, to assist small business in increasing their US and International sales.

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Steve Sedlic

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Operations

With a business career spanning over 25 years, Steve Sedlic is a consummate generalist and an entrepreneur at heart. Armed with an MBA from USC, he went to work assisting international corporate R&D departments to develop new products based on broad scientific discoveries. From there he took his love of technology and design and co-founded an interactive marketing and advertising agency where he honed his advertising skills and further developed his experience in sales, leadership, and operations. Steve has co-founded and successfully exited several startups and today focuses on giving back to his community, teaching college courses on creative thinking, advancing environmental causes, and advising for the SBDC.

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Sonata Taman

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Business Consulting, Strategic Marketing, Operations

Sonata Taman is an experienced business advisor specializing in B2B growth, strategic marketing, alternative revenue streams, and global scaling. As a Fortune 100 trained CSO and an entrepreneur, she has extensive experience in global strategy and marketing operations with an eye for sustainable scaling.

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Jay Tsao, M.B.A.

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, E-commerce, Strategic Planning, Manufacturing Assistance, Marketing and Sales

Jay Tsao, M.B.A., is the founder and CEO of a global B2E e-commerce market-place startup utilizing innovative media and SaaS technology to facilitate commerce transactions and make trade between SME’s easier around the world. Tsao was a partner and board member of a leading international trading and distribution conglomerates. There he built several of the companies’ ecommerce platforms and managed supply chain partners from raw material sourcing, OEM/private label development, pre/post production oversight, logistic strategies, and customer clearance.

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Bryan Went

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Strategic Planning, Venture Matchmaking

At the age of 16, Bryan Went started his first company, one of the first alternative fuel companies to generate power from hydrogen and developed the first flexible fuel vehicle that could run on four different fuels. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, he cofounded another company with his brother Erick to provide strategic technologies for companies like SAP, Microsoft, Honda and FOX studios. Bryan has studied, traveled and lived all over world. Currently his focus is being the founder of a startup studio and corporate innovation lab.

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Erick Went

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Strategic Planning, Venture Matchmaking

Erick Went is the CEO and co-founder of a startup studio and corporate innovation lab. Erick is passionate about distilling complex business problems down to their practical essence, helping organizations look beyond their own boundaries to discover new ideas, knowledge, and ways of working. He has managed large-scale innovations engagements for companies ranging Fortune 100 companies to early stage startups. Partnering with universities and venture-backed startups, Erick has developed roadmaps that communicate the innovation potential of a core technology / process at the earliest possible stages, helping to protect, project, and expand the scope of their intellectual property claims and long-term competitiveness.

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Craig Wilson

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Private Equity, Venture Capital, Financial Operations

Craig Wilson supports startups in preparing the C-Corp for bylaws, share allocation, participant shareholders and term sheets. He is certified in Investment Banking for Private Equity and Venture Capital, and has experience in pre- and post-acquisition, having gone through two startup exits. Craig is an engineer who has built software and hardware companies and can help founders architect and identify areas to improve scalability, including how to hire engineers. Craig's experience also includes operations for hiring and staffing growth, and financial operations.

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Dr. Eric Zackrison

Position: Business Advisor
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Management and Operations, Marketing and Sales, Strategic Planning

Dr. Eric Zackrison, MBA, MA/PhD Organizational Communication, has been teaching, training, and consulting in Santa Barbara and Ventura for the last five years, with a heavy focus on team building, leadership, and strategy. His published research indicates that workplace relationships are at the core of coordinated teams and organizations. His work embraces the understanding that we have diverse ways of interacting and empowers people to manage those differences to be more successful.

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Alondra Gaytan

Position: Client Services Manager
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Bilingual in Spanish

Alondra Gaytan serves as the Client Services Manager for the EDC SBDC. She is responsible for assessing small business owners and innovators seeking professional/ technical assistance. In addition, Alondra assigns small businesses to the SBDC’s business advisers who provide co-cost consulting to businesses in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

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Stephanie Gonzalez

Position: Client Services Specialist
Business expertise: Proficient in Spanish

Stephanie Gonzalez serves as the Client Services Specialist for the EDC and the SBDC. Stephanie helps assess small business owners who are seeking professional technical assistance and connects them to the appropriate business adviser. In addition to her position at the EDC Stephanie is completing her B.A. in Psychology and a translation certificate for Spanish at California State University of Channel Islands.

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Kelly Noble

Position: Office Manager
Business expertise: Entrepreneurship, Management and Operations, Finance

Kelly Noble has been the office manager for EDC since 2003, giving her extensive experience managing workflow and office systems. She has expert organizational skills, honed through catering and party-planning. She is an entrepreneur and former owner of an appliance repair shop, where she handled all aspects of the business.

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