Artesana: When ‘Business as Usual’ Equals Family Values

Marielos Davila or Maria as she’s better known, said it was as if “something from the universe” led her to get the help she needed to launch her artisanal sausage business. Knowing she was trying to start a business, her sobrino (nephew) sent her a picture of an advertisement he saw for Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center’s Paso a Paso (Simple Steps) class. It was exactly what she needed to take her family’s Salvadoran business to market in the United States.

The family business began when Grandma Evita, Maria’s mother-in-law, started making her now famous sausages in 1962. The business was born from her desire to work from home and be with her children. She sold her Sausages to local customers in Cojutepeque, a Salvadoran town also known as “Chorizo Town”. When her brand became a hallmark, her entrepreneurial grandson started selling her sausages to local grocers. Maria’s business goals, like Grandma Evita’s, were closely tied to the well-being of her family.

Maria and her husband Roberto moved their family to the United States to raise their children in a better environment, provide them with greater opportunities, and to carve out their niche in the Bay Area foodie economy. They now employ their daughter in marketing and their son in catering special events and creating recipes for customers. Launching Artesana Sausages in the US, however, she found to be much more challenging than operating in El Salvador.

“They call my kitchen a ‘plant!’’ Maria said, laughing about the plant number she had to acquire for commercial production. This is just one of the many hurdles she has to undertake to operate legally in the US. She sells her products at farmers markets and wants to expand her reach, but can’t yet sell to grocers until she gets another federal permit.

“Resistencia,” or perseverance, she says is a key ingredient to business success. Focusing on her dreams and goals carries her through the challenges.

One of the key challenges is to change Bay Area Foodies’ perception of chorizo, which is one of Artesana’s cornerstone products. In the US it is often sold as a low-quality product, but contrary to local convention, Artesana uses the finest and most simple ingredients—premium cuts of pork and spices: no fillers, binders, sugars, MSG or soy. Maria and her family are probably the most qualified candidates to elevate chorizo from corner-market to farm-to-table status.

Though many are skeptical before trying Artesana´s chorizo, Maria reports that 99% of the time, they say “wow!” the moment they do.

You can find Artesana at farmer’s markets and events throughout San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Visit Artesana on Instagram or Facebook for the latest updates.

Beth Pride, BPE Global

When Beth Pride was laid off from her job, her boss told her “you’re ready.” He knew that she wanted to become a CEO and felt it was time. Beth found Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and immediately signed up for a Business Planning class. “Being unemployed was scary, but Renaissance gave me direction, took away the fear.”

Beth finished the class with a business plan for BPE Global, an import and export compliance consulting firm. She stuck to her action plan and met her goal to land her first client within six months of graduation. She used the same practice pitch that she gave in class with her first client. Unfortunately, her first client also turned out to be a practice client and didn’t end up paying. But as Beth learned in class, business plans are living documents that should continuously evolve and adapt to circumstance. She is now careful to set goals with paying clients in mind!

Keeping strong relationships with all of her clients, Beth is still in touch with her first real (i.e. paying) client, and even attended their wedding. For Beth, one of the greatest benefits of being in business is to create the kind of lifestyle, relationships, and business culture she wants. Although she has received offers to buy her out, she has always refused because she knows it would mean giving up the business and life that brings her so much fulfillment and sense of purpose.

A tour of BPE Global’s ‘world headquarters’ is a walk up two flights of stairs into Beth Pride’s apartment in San Francisco’s lower Haight District. She loves working from home in her converted living room office, as do her five remote employees.

Now 13 years and going strong as the boss, Beth gets to call the shots. She’s proud to have put in her 10,000 hours and knows her industry inside and out. She takes pride in her team being fast and efficient, but most of all she is thrilled that everyone is enthusiastic and excited about their work. “I tell clients we’re going to have fun!” Beth says. And with Beth they do.

Forever grateful that Renaissance helped launch the business she had long dreamed of, Beth continues to give back to Renaissance and the small business community. Though her target customers are medium to large companies, Beth recognizes the need that many small businesses have for BPE’s services, but can seldom afford or prioritize. As such, Beth volunteers her time as a consultant for the smaller businesses that Renaissance helps to start.

It’s not only an increase in income and revenue that Beth enjoys as a business owner, business ownership enables her to live by her core values—giving back to her community, delivering excellent products and services, and taking care of the people she loves.



877. 264.3836

139 Pierce Street San Francisco, CA 94117


Amos Louis, ADF Handyman & Painting LLC

Amos Louis came to Oakland from Florida in 2000, trying to make a better life for himself. Unfortunately his dreams did not come to fruition. He couldn’t find a job and tragically spent years homeless and in and out of jail.

Amos’s luck turned when a jewelry maker business owner offered him a helping hand. He brought Amos into his shop to help with production.

A few years later Amos began taking on small handyman gigs. He learned roof patching, yard work, painting, and how to repair windows, hardwood floors, and more. His new boss noticed his potential and advised him to study to get a contractor’s license. Continuing to work and save money, Amos realized he could branch out and start his own business, but before doing so he needed to stabilize his personal life.

Finally in 2013, after years of studying, he got his state license and ADF Handyman and Painting LLC was born. Amos takes pride on how his efforts had led him here, but he knew he needed more guidance and support to prevent him from becoming distracted from his goals. In 2016, he enrolled in Renaissance Richmond, starting with the intensive Business Prep class, and built his business skills, formed a network and even created a partnership with another Renaissance client.

“Renaissance showed me how to organize, strategize, network and create goals for my business. After taking the class, I saw my own capabilities and I understood how important it is to have your business organized and make it more functional. Since enrolling in Renaissance, business is picking up, I have learned to schedule my projects better and I am now more confident to be direct with clients and realize my choices.”

Yolanda Jones, Construction Administration & Traffic Control (YCAT)

Yolanda Jones owner of Yolanda Jones Construction Administration & Traffic Control (YCAT)  built her business with her community in mind. With her roots in Bayview Hunters Point, Yolanda is dedicated to creating jobs and opportunities for local residents.

Yolanda first learned about running a small business – and caring for her community – from her father, a trucking company owner. Her goal was to follow the footsteps of strong women who came before her and worked hard to build a better future in Bayview Hunters Point:  Eliose Westbrook, Espinola Jakson, and Ruth Williams, to name a few. Yolanda believes that her business has allowed her to build on their legacy.

My passion is to hire and help local minorities who are constantly overlooked.  I have employed folks who were living on friends’ couches, transitional housing, public housing, and hotels. Now they own homes and apartments. I particularly remember hiring a gentlemen who just came out of prison, he was 52. It was his first job, and he now works at a bigger construction company. It’s like watering a plant and watching it grow,” says Yolanda. “I open my company doors everyday and watch people come to work, enjoy their jobs, improve their health. They can now afford a better lifestyle and send their kids to better schools. The society gave up on them a long time ago, but at YCAT, they are proving to the world that they are exceptional individuals who just needed a chance.”

Yolanda faced her own challenges on her way to success. She tackled them with an impeccable work ethic, persistence and her ability to garner support and resources she needed to manage and scale her business. Upon her husband’s recommendation, she contacted Renaissance Bayview and enrolled in the Center’s Contractors’ Initiative, then Women’s Program. Today Yolanda attributes her efficiency and effectiveness in communications, especially when dealing with other companies, to skills she gained at Renaissance.

When she’s not striking deals and managing her business with 22 employees, Yolanda spends time with her six children and five grand-children. With her family and community at the forefront, Yolanda defines success as, “being able to go home at night knowing that one less family is hungry.”

Yolanda’s success and a way of doing business is a testimony to the impact that small businesses make in their communities and the importance of providing small business owners with tools and resources they need to sustain and grow their businesses. Because when small business owners, like Yolanda, succeed, they create opportunities and lift up entire communities for generations to come.



280 Newhall St, San Francisco, CA 94124