PASADENA, California - What started with photo handbags in a small kiosk in Hollywood has grown into a multi-million dollar business and even television appearances for designer and entrepreneur Gina Lopez Alexander.
Alexander was recently named "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" by the City of Los Angeles.
"I really thought it wasn’t going to last this long. But I’m glad that it did. It’s been a big entrepreneurial class," she said.
Alexander marked her 15th year in business by giving back. One-of-a-kind sports and celebrity items were auctioned off to help children orphaned by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).
"It’s my birthday today and what I really wanted as birthday gift is to have 10 families to go and adopt some children that were orphaned by Typhoon Haiyan," she explained.
Alexander, who uses her success to help empower other entrepreneurs especially women and minorities, was surprised to receive honors from city officials including the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, well as the Filipino community.
Small businesses continue to grow. The latest government statistics shows that over 10 million firms employ less than 20 people. Alexander now wants to pass on what she’s learned to other kababayan entrepreneurs.
Her latest venture: holding seminars on business development and success.