December, 2020

Bridging a Gap in Business Education

Mariana Almaraz was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. In 1997 she graduated from the University of Guadalajara with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. In the same year, she came to the U.S to study English, Math and QuickBooks.

Mariana is one of 13 recognized leaders, and is honored for her contributions in the Hispanic business community. 

“Receiving this award as a Hispanic community leader means a big responsibility for me,” confessed Mariana. “It is not an accomplishment. It is an ongoing commitment. People trust me and reach out to me when they need help because they know I will lead them in the right direction.”

“Mariana joined the Sonoma SBDC to work with the Hispanic business

community to share her passion for entrepreneurship,” announced Mary Cervantes, SBDC Director.    “She is an asset in our bilingual program.” 

Mariana teaches SBDC business webinars, including recordkeeping, marketing, and social media.  In the spring, she will teach the Food Handler Certification class, the only Spanish class offered in the area.  “I am very proud of that because there is a huge need,” added Mariana.   

Next spring, Mariana will also teach the NxLevel Micro-Entrepreneur Online Training program in Spanish.  This training is specifically designed for the Hispanic business community.

Uniquely Qualified 

In 2016 Mariana took Nxlevel Entrepreneurship Training to use the information for her own start-up business.  She was amazed by the class and said she learned so much! After that, she devoured SBDC workshops and webinars, which then led to becoming an SBDC Business Advisor.  “The job is a big challenge!” said Mariana. 

What else can she do?  Mariana hosts the SBDC Facebook Live show in Spanish on Tuesday mornings at 11am.  Here you will see her business acumen plus her endearing personality and style!

So where does this bilingual, bi-cultural, educated, business savvy entrepreneur come from?  How did she reach this level of impact and responsibility of merging two communities and two cultures?

Mariana was born in Mexico and graduated from the University of Guadalajara with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 1997.   The same year, she came to the United States to study English, math and QuickBooks.

From 2009 to 2015, Mariana worked on the management team of a large corporation doing payroll and HR.  Then in 2015, she decided to open her own business, and took the NxLevel Entrepreneurship Training. 

Fast forward and today, Mariana helps connect two communities of entrepreneurs (Hispanic and non-Hispanic).  In both communities, she delivers valuable training and education along with her personal dedication and passion!

To learn more about the Napa Sonoma Small Business Development Center, visit