2 Sustainable Agriculture - Karen Archipley is the Co-Founder (with her husband Colin) of Archi's Acres B Corp and Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (AISA) in partnership with Cal Poly Pomona. Archi’s Acres is a small scale Hydro Organic farm in San Diego County, now known for their packaged basil in Stores throughout Southern CA. Karen heads up the recruiting of students and identifies employment opportunities and entrepreneurship assistance for AISA graduates as well as marketing and Sales of Archi's Acres produce and AISA graduates products. Karen believes in “Don’t get mad, Get Involved”.
3 Finding the right financing tool for your business. - Valery Belloso is the Chief Strategy Officer at Accion, a nonprofit microlender providing business loans up to $75,000 and other support services. Ms. Belloso has been with Accion for over 11 years and in her current role is instrumental in leading the organization’s business development strategy, overseeing strategic organizational projects and ensuring programmatic goals are being met effectively.
4 Rail Logistics - Bernard Mercurio was born and raised in San Diego. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1954 and received an honorable discharge in 1962. Following an opportunity offered by his brother in law, he moved his family to the Imperial Valley to work in the farming industry. Out of need, he created many innovations during the farming revolution of the 1980’s still being used today. After relocating and working in the Imperial Valley with key growers in the industry, the Mercurio’s launched their company; Storehouse Trading Inc. dba Imperial Rail port. Fred Mercurio is the third generation following his father’s footsteps after years immersed into the farming business from the ground up. They both understood that logistics is one of many important factors into achieving success in farming. While Fred now operates the family business, Bernard is actively engaged as a Business Advisor. Celebrating small business week, the San Diego SBA District Office is recognizing Mr. Bernard Mercurio and Storehouse Trading Inc. as the Veteran owned small business of the year.