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Citrus Heights, California
Myla Ramos, Heather Kocina, and Rayna Pearson, Co-founders
SearchPros Solutions, whose humble beginnings played like a scene straight out of a movie, is sticking with the script – being named the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year.
The business, which handles workforce management, started in 120 square feet of rental office space. Now it has a corporate-owned headquarters with 30 recruiters placing thousands of employees in 28 states and 8 countries. The Citrus Heights, California, business was announced as the winner among seven standout regional finalists during America’s Small Business Summit, being held this week in Washington, D.C.
The story of SearchPros started on Christmas Eve 2004, much like a scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Myla Ramos, Heather Kocina, and Rayna Pearson were on the job at a staffing agency with a roomful of contractors waiting for their paychecks. Late in the day, however, they learned that checks would not be delivered. Reality soon set in for many—there would be no Christmas.
That’s when the women took out their personal checkbooks and started loaning money to complete strangers. The trio’s next step was even bigger: They created a plan to run a business of their own.
Myla said: “We made a decision that night to follow our big dream—start and run a business of our own, be the role models we never had, provide a better life for our families, and contribute to our community.”
Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue noted the success story of all the finalists.
“Small businesses are powerful examples of what’s possible in our free enterprise system,” Donohue said. “Day in and day out, these companies demonstrate the strong American values of hard work, innovation, persistence, and entrepreneurship. The U.S. Chamber is proud to recognize these impressive small businesses for all their achievements.”
SearchPros helps a wide variety of charitable causes and is proactive about giving back to the community. The women’s backgrounds have been instrumental in that outreach, as Myla is a first-generation immigrant and all three are the first to graduate college in their families.
“This was never just a job; this is our legacy for our family and community,” Myla said. “We didn’t get a paycheck for the first couple of years. Every dollar we received was reinvested back to SeachPros.”
The business supports the PCDH19 Alliance to help families affected by epilepsy; sponsored the 2015 St. Johns Program that offers shelter and self-sustainability readiness for women and children; provided resume workshops for job seekers through the Sacramento Area Human Resources Association; “adopted” a village to support typhoon relief to the Philippines; and raised money for the Women’s Empowerment Shelter.
Read more about SearchPros and the other regional finalists:
Great Lakes: Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea
Northwest: Scratch and Peck Feeds
Southeastern: LEAN Frog Business Solutions, Inc.
Southwest & South Central: Creating and Managing Wealth LLC