California Women Small Business Owners Volunteer Unique Expertise and Help to Shape Council

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, November 4, 2022

Selected group of expert small business owners leads on strategies to address big issues facing California entrepreneurs 

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – This summer, Small Business Majority nominated eleven small business owners and entrepreneurs from around California to serve on its California Small Business Council. The council comprises job creators from various industries who have volunteered their time and entrepreneurial expertise to advocate for the true needs of small businesses across the state. 

Three of the council members are women small business owners who are motivated by aspiration and a clear mission to bolster social capital and well-being within the women entrepreneur community.

Hannah Gbeh is the owner of Wild Baby Botanicals in Bonsall, Calif., a cut flower and eucalyptus farm dedicated to preserving agriculture and spreading beauty throughout San Diego County. Gbeh also works as an environmental consultant, is a mom to three children and has 20 years of experience teaching and researching environmental science. "The current regulatory environment in California makes it extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to start and manage viable business operations. I'm proud to join a team of small business owners who will work together to lift the true needs of California small business owners and do something to avail challenges our close community is currently experiencing," said Gbeh. 

Mariette Martinez is the founder of MasterYourBooks in Ontario, Calif, a learning center and collaborative community that caters to value-driven service professionals ready to build their financial confidence, knowledge, and impact from the inside out. Martinez is a mother of three who was raised in a family-owned restaurant business, solely owned by her mother. "I'm an avid believer that strong advocacy is the key to unlocking greater opportunities for progress, especially for under-resourced communities. My 20+ years of experience serving small business owners can be utilized to foster impactful resources for other small business owners and help them to thrive. Over the years, I've adapted and learned that in order to be a true asset, I must do what I can to grow widespread awareness of financial literacy and how to build social capital. I'm looking forward to sharing this knowledge through my position on this council," said Martinez. 

Shanae Smith owns Max-40 Fitness and Personal Training in Riverside, Calif., a results-based state-of-the-art physical fitness center. Smith is a minority business owner who maintains a strong balance between business savvy, technical capabilities, and love for others. She brings a wealth of experience and business acumen as a former project manager in engineering and construction management for local government agencies and as the City Clerk for the City of Palmdale from September 2020 to present. "As a small business owner, I only have access to the Chambers, and we are required to pay annual membership fees to access those resources, which could be a hardship for some of us who have been heavily impacted by the COVID-era. The California Small Business Council nurtures my need to connect meaningfully with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Through my work on this council, I will have access to resources I can share with my community and hopefully inspire others who look like me to venture out and grow their own business," said Smith. 

"These new California Small Business Council members bring invaluable leadership, commitment, and insight to the efforts needed to ensure California's small businesses have access to greater resources and feel empowered to compete with larger companies," said Josaline Cuesta, California Program Director. "I am pleased to work with these volunteers and help create meaningful proposals. Now, more than ever, targeted policies, fair competition, and access to capital are critically important. Together with these exceptional leaders, Small Business Majority will work tirelessly to move the needle towards long-term and sustainable change that will help California small business owners recover and thrive."

In addition to Hannah Gbeh, Mariette Martinez, and Shanae Smith, the California Small Business Council consists of: Stephen Bray, owner of Judge Casey's Saucery; Jonathan Burgess, founder and co-owner of Burgess Brothers; Elisha Henderson, owner and chief editor of Final Look Editing; Corissa Hernandez, co-founder and co-owner of House of Xelas; James O'Donnell, owner of Kocky's Bar and Grill; Renaldo Sanders, owner of Sanders Family Day Care; Hope Suhr, founder of Hope's Chest; and Stacy Williams, founder of Valley Progressive Solutions. 

The California Small Business Council is a one-year commitment. All council members are available for media opportunities. 


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,500 business and community organizations to deliver resources to entrepreneurs and advocate for public policy solutions that promote inclusive small business growth. Our work is bolstered by extensive research and deep connections with the small business community that enable us to educate stakeholders about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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