BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

ChalkWild, LLC

"ART HEALS!" 

MEET THE FOUNDERS:

Meet AnhViet (Charlie) Nguyen and Hien Ho, the Co-Founders of ChalkWild, LLC 

Business City: Modesto, CA

AnhViet “Charlie” Nguyen is a dynamic force in the entrepreneurial landscape. Holding a BSc in Biochemistry from UC Davis and MBA, Charlie has traversed a multifaceted career path, leaving an indelible mark in various industries.

With a keen eye for innovation and a heart for social impact, Charlie has spearheaded ventures in hospitality, travel, technology, production, media, and real estate. However, it's his role as CEO of the Chalkwild Therapeutic Art Program, built on his son’s invention of an erasable backpack when he was 11- year old, that truly reflects his commitment to making a difference. Besides making a positive impact on kids’ lives, Charlie also has been teaching his son, Hien, many valuable lessons in life and in business through working on this business together.

Charlie's mission-driven enterprise, the Chalkwild Therapeutic Art Program, extends its reach to children across the US and beyond, providing a platform for artistic expression to nurture resilience, self-esteem, and confidence. Inspired by his own challenges, Charlie's mission resonates deeply, offering a beacon of hope for young minds worldwide.

About ChalkWild, LLC:

Created by an 11-year-old student in Modesto, California, ChalkWild is the world's first erasable backpack that serves as a tool to help kids improve social and emotional skills. The backpack includes erasable chalk markers that allow kids to engage in art on the backpack anytime, anywhere. In designing this product, the co-founders aimed to help kids overcome anxiety; build resilience; promote mindfulness; boost creativity, self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and academic performance. It serves as a fantastic bonding tool for parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren. 

Hien had an idea of creating an erasable backpack so that kids could customize their backpacks by drawing on them with erasable chalk markers repeatedly when he was 11 years old. The idea came to Hien when he was at a local skateboarding park with his father. 

Charlie shared, “When I learned from friends in the mental health field that it could be an awesome art therapy tool for kids, we decided to pivot our mission to help kids enhance their social emotional wellness and thrive academically. I grew up in Vietnam after the war and had experienced so much trauma and the negative impacts of trauma such as depression. When I had the opportunity to join the American Leadership Forum program a few years ago, I had the unique opportunity to discover my trauma and to share it honestly with my classmates. Being vulnerable was the beginning of my healing process. That's why my son and I are passionate about our mission of using ChalkWild erasable backpacks as an art therapy tool to help kids overcome trauma and anxiety that was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It took me over 40 years to fully grasp my trauma and to start healing. Our goal is to help as many kids as possible now so that they will have a higher chance of success when they get older.

How did the Sacramento MBDA Business Center help your business?

Charlie expanded more about the challenges they were facing prior to working with MBDA as well as the positive results came out of the relationship, stating:  

“Like any small business, we struggle with marketing, financing, how to get our message or story across... Lucie-Anne Radimsky, a consultant of Sacramento MBDA, has been tremendously helpful. We were able to get certified as California Small Business Enterprise and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. Lucie-Anne also introduced us to the California Office of Small Business Advocate. Learning about ChalkWild and how it started, CalOSBA designed a new program called The Future Is Now to feature and to promote young entrepreneurs. CalOSBA produced a video about Hien, ChalkWild, and the positive impacts the backpack program has on kids.” Charlie and Hien are excited to share that the video will be promoted on CalOSBA Youtube and social media in the next couple weeks, elaborating that, “It'll be a great marketing video for ChalkWild as well. Although we already are partnering with several school districts, this video will boost our credibility tremendously.” 

Upcoming Promotions, Events, News:

ChalkWild LLC is offering nonprofits an opportunity to use ChalkWild as a fundraising tool which works like an affiliate. When a nonprofit registers, it gets a unique link and a QR code. When people purchase a ChalkWild backpack through that link, the nonprofit gets $9.44 for each backpack ordered. The ChalkWild, LLC team will handle the fulfillment and are already working Lucile Packard Foundation Children's Health.  

ChalkWild, LLC welcomes more nonprofits to collaborate. 

The video for The Future Is Now will be released by CalOSBA soon. The ChalkWild co-founders, and son and father duo, would love folks to share it as widely as possible.

Follow ChalkWild, LLC at:

Website: A Backpack Worth Giving! – A Backpack Worth Giving! (chalkwild.com)

Instagram: https: //www.instagram.com/chalkwildthings/ 


PAST BUSINESS SPOTLIGHTS

Infostellar, Inc.

"To positively impact, transform and simplify government systems through its agile technical consulting services." 

MEET THE FOUNDERS:

Meet Sweta Jain, President, and Arun Jain, the Co-Founder and CEO of Infostellar, Inc. 

Business City: Fairfax, VA 

Sweta Jain, the President of Infostellar, Inc., is a seasoned executive with 20+ years in IT delivery and management across federal contracting and commercial sectors. Sweta is a proven leader in building and managing teams for small to mid-sized companies, fostering partnerships and driving multimillion-dollar bottom-line growth. Extensive experience includes roles with major consulting firms, including PwC.  

Arun Jain is the Co-Founder and CEO Influential IT Executive with 20+ years’ experience driving large-scale technical implementation through strategic, agile development, solution engineering, and infrastructure security. 

 

About Infostellar, Inc:

Infostellar, Inc. specializes in human-centered design and agile software development, dedicated to helping agencies modernize their digital systems. They deliver highly usable, flexible, cloud-based solutions with a track record of successful modernization projects, including immigration, verification, and biometrics systems at DHS. 

The co-founders shared, “We started Infostellar, Inc. when open source and cloud were first coming about. To us, it presented an amazing opportunity to modernize IT. However, the larger organizations were slow to embrace technical advancements. As a small business, we run like a startup; we experiment, learn, innovate, and adopt as new technologies emerge.  We can pivot and be agile. That's why we started Infostellar, Inc.” 


How did the Sacramento MBDA Business Center help your business?

Arun elaborated further, sharing how the Sacramento MBDA Business Center closely supported his business, “Sacramento MBDA was instrumental in introducing the OSDBU offices in various agencies. I was able to follow up with some of them and have one-to-one calls to get additional guidance on navigating their agencies. They were very helpful in providing feedback on marketing material and client presentations.” 

 

 

The positive relationship between the Sacramento MBDA Business Center and Infostellar, Inc. Is self-evident, as Arun said, “Sacramento MBDA Business Center is like an advisor to our business. We can reach out to them for questions, seek advice on specific issues as well as introductions to other companies who may be in similar positions like us. I have found that whenever MBDA brings a group of companies together with meetings with Small Business offices in agencies, they are more open for follow-up conversations.”

 

 

Follow Infostellar, Inc at:

Website: infostellarinc.com
LinkedIn: infostellarinc


Flawless Boxing & Gym

"TRAIN TO DOMINATE

MEET THE FOUNDERS:

Janelle Gonzales and Brandon Gonzales
Founders and CEO of Flawless Boxing & Fitness

Business City: Sacramento, CA

Brandon ‘Flawless’ Gonzáles, Co-Owner
Brandon is a former world-class professional boxer with a long list of accomplishments and accolades to his name. He was a member of the US National Team and achieved the distinction of being the #1 ranked amateur in the US and the #1 rated Super Middleweight in the world as a pro. His fights have also been broadcast on some of the biggest platforms in the world of sports, including HBO, ESPN, Showtime, and Sky Sport PPV, which is a testament to his skill and popularity in the ring.

Despite his retirement, Brandon continues to make a lasting impact in the boxing community, now dedicating his time and expertise to working with young boxers. With his passion for the sport, commitment to helping others, and impressive record, Brandon serves as a true inspiration and valuable mentor to the next generation of fighters.

Janelle Gonzales, Co-Owner
Janelle is a highly respected figure in the Sacramento community, renowned for her outstanding accomplishments as an amateur boxer and as a social work professional. As the Co-founder of Flawless Boxing & Fitness and Board Director for Flawless4Youth, Janelle has brought her extensive knowledge, experience, and expertise to bear on behalf of the organization and its mission.

Janelle's journey began in her hometown of Sacramento, where she started her boxing career under the guidance of Ray Woods. As an amateur fighter at 125 pounds, Janelle quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a multiple regional Golden Gloves and U.S. Championships champion. Her exceptional skills and dedication to the sport earned her a reputation as one of the most skilled and determined boxers in the region.

Janelle continued to pursue her education while honing her skills in the ring, earning a master’s in social work from Sacramento State University. Her background and expertise in social work have played a significant role in Flawless4Youth's efforts to develop and implement programs that provide vital resources to the community's youth and their families.

 

About About Flawless Boxing & Fitness:

Flawless Boxing & Fitness is a community-oriented boxing facility empowering individuals of all backgrounds through boxing training. Our adult program supports Flawless4youth, a non-profit benefiting Sacramento's youth since 2011. Through scholarships, we enable youth training, provide equipment, and offer a welcoming space for families to pursue their fitness and boxing aspirations. We provide small group training, private training and a competitive program for aspiring amateur and professional athletes. 


How did the Sacramento MBDA Business Center help your business?

We were inspired to start our business because we see the benefits and positive impact that boxing has on both adults and youth. We have always had challenges with funding, resources and partnering with other organizations. Working with the MBDA has been helpful in providing partnership, support and resources to our business and mission. Partnerships, support and resources that have helped to elevate our business.

Upcoming Events:

February 10, 2024: Capital Punishment 8
This is a community event that will showcase the top amateur boxers in the region.

Follow Flawless Boxing & Fitness at:

Website: Flawlessboxingfit.com
Instagram: @flawlessboxing
Facebook: Flawless Boxing & Fitness


Stay tuned for more featured businesses!


 

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