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East County SBDC Specializes in…

Our SBDC advisors are proven experts in their fields and dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed.

Manufacturing advising, a specialty of the East County SBDC

Manufacturing

Our team can assist your business to best produce products with industrial machinery and labor.

Cybersecurity, a specialty of the East County SBDC

Cybersecurity

Protect your systems, network, and programs from digital attacks.

Business development, a specialty of the East County SBDC

Business Development

Tackle tasks and processes to develop and implement growth opportunities.

Assistance Available in the Following Languages

We strive to offer SBDC services in languages that will best serve our clients in the East County San Diego area.

Consulting Areas at the East County SBDC

Our consulting specialities offer a wide variety of services to help you gain knowledge and achieve success in areas ranging from business planning and operations to management and funding.

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Our Clients Say

Roanna Canete, Owner of The Gluten Free Baking Company, A Success Story from the San Diego Small Business Development Center Network

“The SBDC’s ongoing support has been nothing short of life-saving! Just a phone call away – they give me the courage to pursue my dreams, knowing there is nothing I can’t do with this incredible team on my side.”

Roanna Canete, Owner, The Gluten Free Baking Company
Farooq Anjum, Co-Founder & CTO of GroGuru Inc.
“The Brink SBDC is providing an invaluable service to entrepreneurs by giving guidance and providing connections to both investors and customers. Events such as the San Diego Angel Conference are the icing on the cake, which spreads the spirit of entrepreneurship in the community by bringing entrepreneurs and new investors together, and resulted in an investment of over $100,000 for our company.”
Farooq Anjum, Co-Founder/CTO, GroGuru Inc
Gayle McEnroe, President of Urethane Masters
“We moved our company to San Diego from Minnesota, and the SBDC gave us instant access to a huge network of contacts that led to obtaining our startup capital and making other crucial connections. Being the “new guy in town” is never easy, but with their help, we hit the ground running”
Gayle McEnroe, President, Urethane Masters
Nahid Razi, Founder/CEO of AccuData

“The Brink SBDC and Dr. Martin Kleckner have been invaluable in the success and progress of AccuDava. They dedicated many hours to reviewing and giving advice on our SBIR grant application to the National Cancer Institute, which was successfully awarded $300,000. Their unconditional support continued with extreme efforts that helped us with a $50,000 NIH I-corps grant, which resulted in additional NCI grant funding of $150,000 to extend our diagnostic test application to non-small cell lung cancer.”

Nahid Razi, Founder/CEO, AccuDava

Our Team at the East County SBDC

Our team in East County of San Diego is dedicated to empowering your small business.

Our business advisors at the East County SBDC are highly skilled in their fields and industries as well as knowledgeable in specific business topics.

Angela Nagel, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Business Advisor at the East San Diego SBDC

Angela Nagel

Advisor

Communications manager, nonprofit professional
Catherine Kricorian, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Business Advisor at the East County SBDC

Catherine Kricorian

Advisor

Website developer, researcher, economics professional
Danielle Sparks, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Business Advisor at the East County SBDC

Danielle Sparks

Director

Customer service, management expert
Diana Barbiani, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Business Advisor at the South San Diego, SBDC

Diana Barbiani

Advisor

Retail specialist, retail/wholesale strategies, military markets
Hayato Nakamura, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Business Advisor at the East County SBDC

Hayato Nakamura

Advisor

Entrepreneur, digital marketer expert
James Sly, East County SBDC

James Sly

CEO of Host Organization

Sales, value propositions, manufacturing, finance, operations, HR
Jeff Bernstein, East County SBDC

Jeff Bernstein

Advisor

An entrepreneur with a strong history of business, who's dedicated to advising small businesses
Jennifer Garvey, East County SBDC

Jennifer Garvey

Advisor

Operational efficiency expert, social media marketer
Jo Marie Diamond, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Business Advisor at theEast County SBDC

Jo Marie Diamond

Advisor

Government contracting, innovation, real estate, life sciences, tech, cybersecurity
Lindsey Silvia, East County SBDC

Lindsey Silvia

Advisor

Hospitality, event management, project management, customer service, training, outreach
Sandra Fernandez, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Business Advisor at the East County SBDC

Sandra Fernandez

Advisor

Industrial engineer, microenterprise developer/operator

Angela Nagel

Advisor

Angela is a communications manager with over a decade of experience working in nonprofit organizations. She's an excellent, thorough communicator with attention-to-detail. She has experience connecting with different community organizations, businesses, and clients from all walks of life. She's also passionate about serving her community, with the ultimate goal to foster relationships by supporting individuals and businesses on their journeys to success.

Catherine Kricorian

Advisor

Cat has worked at the East County Economic Development Council for three years and with SBDC for nearly two years. Her primary roles include website development, research projects, back-end support for SBDC staff and advisors, grant proposals, and small business support programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cat gained a degree in economics from San Diego State University in 2019 and loves learning new skills to further support SBDC programs and services.

Danielle Sparks

Director

Danielle is a San Diego native, born and raised in the East County region. She studied education at Grossmont/Cuyamaca College and graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. She considers herself to be a lifelong learner with a passion for education and a servant's heart. Her past experience includes customer service across multiple industries including the health and human services sector, as well aas managerial work in a residential care setting. She's been with the East County Economic Development Council and Small Business Development Center since November 2019, loving the work they do to support our communities and empower small business owners.

Diana Barbiani

Advisor

Highly accomplished and results-oriented entrepreneur and business owner with extensive experience in developing and executing creative strategies to drive business growth, increase and sustain profitability, expand the customer base, and enhance the company’s branding. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills to create a high-performance motivated team.

Hayato Nakamura

Advisor

Getting clients and customers to notice you and want to do business with you can be a daunting task. However, Hayato says it's not entirely you're fault and here's why... He writes: Imagine a jar of crunchy organic peanut butter. If you asked the peanut butter in the jar to write its own label, it might write, “peanut butter.” You and I who have seen different kinds of peanut butter jars might say, “CRUNCHY ORGANIC peanut butter" is better. This way more people can notice it and buy it. Business owners are often like this peanut butter. They need someone with the experience and perspective to help market the business. That's what I do. My full-time occupation is to run my digital marketing business. I study how businesses are getting noticed by their clients and consumers online. This helps me stay up-to-date on "what's working today" to deliver our SBDC clients strategies that work. Cheering you on, Hayato Nakamura

James Sly

CEO of Host Organization

James is the president and CEO of the East County Economic Development Council (EDC). He's responsible for defining and implementing the EDC’s ambitious project portfolio, which cuts across education, industry, workforce, and government. He joined the EDC in 2012, initially as a program manager tasked with helping the department of defense and the Defense Logistics Agency fine-tune their procurement systems to make government solicitations more attractive to American manufacturers. During his time at the EDC, he developed new software platforms (Connectory.com), launched the East County SBDC, and helped entrepreneurs start hundreds of new businesses. Prior to joining the East County EDC, James worked as a management consultant, servicing start-up and mid-size businesses throughout San Diego’s private sector, and as a sought-after workforce expert for the One-Stop Career Center Network as well as San Diego’s CalWORKS Welfare-to-Work and Refugee Resettlement programs. He's been able to leverage this multifaceted skillset to the EDC’s benefit, coordinating resources from across the spectrum to drive the organization’s mission, and support stakeholders throughout East County and the larger San Diego region.

Jeff Bernstein

Advisor

In 1973, Jeff opened a retail floor covering store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin while completing his B.S.B.A. in Accounting. When he graduated he decided to forego a career in accounting and continue to devote his full time to his business. "I grew that business for the next 23 years into the largest single-store flooring retailer in Milwaukee," he shares. He also served as vice chairman of the Wisconsin Floor Covering Association. In 2000, he decided to close his business and accept a role as vice president of sales and operations for his biggest competitor, a five showroom retailer/wholesaler. "I was able to double the revenues of this 50-year-old company during the next 12 years. I also earned a Flooring Executive Certification from the World Floor Covering Association." Jeff left Milwaukee for a short time in 2012 to become VP for a similar business in Chicago. His children had moved to San Diego years earlier, and he decided he wanted to be closer to them and their families. He accepted a VP position with the largest retailer in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). During brief periods of retirement he volunteered to provide advising services to the Coachella Valley SCORE (another partner of the SBA) chapter, eventually becoming vice-chair of the chapter. He also volunteered for the Coachella Valley Women's Business Center as a workshop presenter and periodic business advisor. In 2019, he and wife decided to move to San Diego. Coincidentally, the East County Business Development Council had decided to host a new SBDC office just around this time. "They needed a workshop presenter, and I received strong referrals from both the CV SCORE chapter and the CVWBC. I was hired to present workshops but over time, many of my workshop clients asked me to advise them. Today, I have assisted over 80 clients, many of them on an on-going basis." Jeff continues that the work has been extremely gratifying, even more so during the pandemic. "When I can help struggling businesses survive these challenges, there is no better feeling."

Jennifer Garvey

Advisor

Growing up with a family of educators, Jennifer assumed an ongoing quest for knowledge where she learned to succeed in the intersection of technology and business owner effort. She has an associates degree in computer science, a bachelor’ in business, and an MBA in organizational leadership. She's a versatile executive with over 30 years' corporate experience, implementing strategic initiatives and executing programs with award-winning sales and marketing teams. At the EDC SBDC, Jennifer works with all types of clients, helping them with accounting, pivoting services, creating partnerships, and more. "I believe I am authentic, positive, and passionate with outstanding forensic accounting, negotiation, and process analysis skills," she says. "My inclination to seek to understand has fostered a culture where clients feel comfortable contributing to ongoing process improvement." She cultivates profitability by building processes and teams that support company visions through optimizing sales, reducing waste, clean data analytics, CRM implementation, people alignment, and now more often crisis management. "I have assisted dozens of small businesses to get off the ground, scale to new heights, hire their first employee, and find access to capital."

Jo Marie Diamond

Advisor

Jo Marie, now a strategic advisor at the East Economic Development Council, served as president and CEO from 2009 to 2020 and as vice president from 2000 to 2009. The East County EDC is a full-service economic development organization fostering primary industry in San Diego’s eastern sub-region. Diamond works in concert with the new CEO, James Sly, to guide the area's economic development, workforce, and regional infrastructure initiatives. For the East County’s first-ever Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Diamond advises small businesses on a range of business operation and growth strategies, as well as provides over 30-years’ experience in government contracting and subcontracting. She spearheaded the EDC’s creation and expansion of the Connectory.com Network, an online resource that provides detailed capabilities information on manufacturing, technology, and supply chain companies as well as facilitates linkages between them. Jo Marie has over 37 years of experience in providing technology and industry forecasting, industry research and analysis, and program planning/management to companies, local and federal government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the EDC, Jo Marie was principal with Business Change Catalysts (BC2), a technology assessment and systems analysis consulting firm. She also spent 10 years at B-K Dynamics, a department of defense contractor specializing in technology and mission area assessments. She received a bachelor's in biochemistry, with high honors, from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., where she later completed graduate courses in information retrieval systems, database development, and technology assessment. She's a self-professed Potterhead, and a Ravenclaw, who attends a grown-ups-only Harry Potter camp every year (when we're not restricted by a pandemic).

Lindsey Silvia

Advisor

Lindsey has over 15 years of experience working in hospitality, event planning, and project management. She's a problem-solver and very task-driven. She likes to deconstruct a project and figure out how to get the work done. Lindsey has worked in many areas of the hotel industry including events, convention services, sales, and revenue. She has also worked closely with the San Diego Tourism Authority and the San Diego Convention Center on large complex events.

Sandra Fernandez

Advisor

Sandra says she loves helping others – and that she has the ability to understand the challenges immigrants, women, and minorities have in general. "I myself belong to these groups," she says, "which allows me to have empathy with each of my clients." She graduated as an industrial engineer and has obtained her experience by working in various industries including manufacturing, the financial sector, government, and consulting. She shares how her experience includes more than 10 years in microenterprise development or operation of a small business. Her experience includes the following specifically:
  • Two years of experience in the nonprofit sector and experience with immigrant entrepreneurs
  • Experience with an array of business topics including marketing, management, financing, and entrepreneurship
  • Familiarity with business software and technologies, especially low-cost online marketing strategies

From 2015-2020, the San Diego & Imperial SBDC team helped strengthen our regional small businesses.

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East County SBDC Location

The East County SBDC is located in El Cajon within the East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC), our host facility, and part of the East County San Diego Economic Development Authority.

Due to precautionary measures from the ECEDC, no in-person appointments are occurring or being scheduled. One-on-one appointments online or via phone are being provided during this time. Reach out to schedule your appointment.

127 East Lexington
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 258-3670
admin@eastcountyedc.org

Sponsors

We are grateful to the sponsors who have continued to support SBDC programs and entrepreneurs across San Diego and Imperial counties.

Workshops & Trainings

The SBDC offers training workshops on topics such as starting your business, financing your business, operations, marketing, and much more.

ON-DEMAND TRAINING
LIVE WORKSHOPS