The Making It! Institute 
For The Advancement of Business 
Making It!

Meet the Real Superstars of Small Business!


Superstars of Small Business is a one-day educational event that will bring together five of the brightest entrepreneurs to share valuable lessons they’ve learned from starting a business and growing it to over $10 million annually.


Los Angeles, CAThe Making It! Institute for the Advancement of Business in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) Network will hold the first Superstars of Small Business event on Tuesday, May 18 on the Long Beach City College Campus. This special intensive one-day program will bring together owners of startup and growing businesses with five entrepreneurs who have built their businesses to $10M annually or more, some of them much more. These “superstar” entrepreneurs include Karen Caplan, President of Frieda’s Inc, Janice Bryant Howroyd, President of The Act 1 Group, Frank Moran, President of Team One Staffing, and Helen and Marty Shih, founders of the Asian American Business Association. Our guest speakers were selected as Superstars for their admirable success at growing a business from start-up to significant size. They have agreed to share with our audience what they experienced and learned along the way. This intimate event will offer attendees the opportunity to ask questions to maximize the peer to peer learning benefits.


Karen Caplan is the President and CEO of Frieda’s Inc., a fresh produce company. Founded in 1962, Frieda’s was one of the first wholesalers to attach a brand name to produce, introducing exotic items such as the kiwifruit (which Frieda’s is credited with naming), alfalfa sprouts, spaghetti squash, shallots, and mangos to the American table. Frieda’s is also the first wholesale produce company in the US founded, owned, and operated by a woman. As the first-born daughter of Founder Frieda Caplan, Karen has grown up in the specialty produce business. She learned the business by working for almost every department, from packing boxes to sales and marketing. Karen’s contribution to our Superstars event will be to shed light on the importance of brand building and marketing, especially when the inventory has such a short life expectancy!


In the keynote speaker slot is Janice Bryant Howroyd, President of the Act 1 Group. Janice Bryant Howroyd came to Los Angeles to visit her sister on a vacation in the early 1970’s, and decided to make it home.  She went to work as her brother-in-law’s assistant at Billboard Magazine, and while there, noticed that she had an affinity for organization and employee placement. Using this talent, inspiration and just $1,500, she began the ACT 1 Group in 1978 as a small, one-phone-line employee placement office located in Beverly Hills. Three decades later, the company has offices across the US, and has expanded internationally, grossing nearly a billion dollars per year! Janice has built her company business model on strong values and principles that she will share with us during our Superstars of Small Business event.


At the age of 26, Frank Moran signed up with a head hunter looking for work - he ended up working for them! A year later, he launched his own full service employment agency, naming it West LA Personnel and then TeamOne when the business expanded. Over the course of the next 22 years, Frank would grow TeamOne Staffing Services into one of the largest Hispanic owned businesses in the United States.  Born in East Los Angeles, Frank’s journey from survival to prosperity was fraught with many challenges. Now an established leader in the business and civic community, Frank serves on various boards and commissions.  We are pleased to have Frank as one of our guest Superstar speakers and look forward to hearing his insights on how to overcome major obstacles.


The final guest speakers for our event are brother and sister team Helen and Marty Shih. In 1979 the pair used $500 of Marty’s college tuition money to open a flower stand in a closet-sized space in downtown Los Angeles. Several years later, after a few initial setbacks, they turned their business into a computerized full-service floral franchise operation. In 1986, Helen and Marty teamed up with Floralfax and established a floral telemarketing center in Texas to further expand their business. Then in 1995, their focus shifted a bit when Helen and Marty founded the Asian American Association to offer marketing benefits and services to new Asian immigrants and help drive cross-cultural communication in business. As the China market began to open and attract international investors, Marty headed to Shenyang, Eastern China with the launch of the first New York Stock Exchange day trading business in 2003. Subsequent business ventures also included a real estate development program started in 2008 in the high-profile Shenyang, Eastern China Special Economic Development Zone. We look forward to the Shih’s insights on international growth, marketing, and business development.  


The day’s agenda also includes educational workshops on sales, marketing, and finance. John “Dr. Revenue” Haskell will take us into the sales emergency room and dispense his marketing medicine, including five immediate actions to increase sales. Since 1974, Dr. Revenue has delivered consulting services to a wide variety of clients, writing over 400 marketing and sales plans for small and mid-size companies. Kimberly Gros, a social media expert, will identify which solutions will help grow your business. Does Twitter really work to generate business buzz? We will find out! And Ed Von Leffren, a Long Beach City College SBDC Business Adviser, will lay out strategies for small business funding in a tight lending environment. With 30 years of client-focused experience managing credit and marketing functions, Ed is sure to share valuable small business money management tips.


The event will be moderated by Nelson Davis, Creator & Executive Producer of the Making It! Television Show and Xiomara Galindo, a small business reporter on Making It!


Superstars of Small Business is made possible thanks to the generous support of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, the Port of Long Beach, BP America Inc, and Comerica Bank.