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A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” Anthony Barton has always had a keen eye for unmet needs. As a child, he trudged up and down sandy beaches in Malibu selling ice cream to hungry surfers. In college, he noticed the mess generated by fraternity parties on campus and started a business cleaning up the trash left behind. After graduation, he noticed that a lot of bars and restaurants could also use a good cleaning. Knowing he had the experience to do something about it, Anthony launched his first wildly successful cleaning business—the A Specialist.

Several years ago, Anthony and his wife, Yolanda, sold the A Specialist and together launched a new cleaning business called SAFE Kitchens, with the goal of “creating a culture within commercial kitchens that is as risk and worry-free as humanly possible.”

Then COVID-19 struck, and 95% of their business evaporated as their clients in food services, aviation, and film shut their doors. Continue Reading…

Steve Burgess (pictured left) recognizes the expression he’s seen on the faces of entrepreneurs in Peru, Rwanda, and Ukraine. That’s because he can personally relate to the sense of dignity that comes with realizing a dream.

In 1988, Steve and his wife, Michelle, had the vision to start an IT business. But with Steve in college and Michelle supporting their family on $5.10/hour, there were no frills, and there was certainly no lump sum of capital to invest in a new business. (Steve fondly recalls how, when he and Michelle would host parties in their home, “It was BYOM: bring your own meat.”) Continue Reading…