Assisting Clients in the
Greater South Bay
hosted by: El Camino College SBDC

The SBDC hosted by the El Camino College

About the El Camino College Small Business Development Center

Mission Statement

The mission of the Small Business Development Center hosted by El Camino College is to be the number one service provider of no-cost, expert entrepreneurial consulting, education and access to capital assistance to the small business community in the greater South Bay and Los Angeles area.

We are part of the Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network, which assists small business owners throughout the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

About the El Camino College SBDC Team

Our team is pleased to offer our consulting services in English and Spanish, as needed. Please contact us at 310.225.8277 to schedule your appointment.


Starleen Van Buren, MBA

Position: Director

Starleen Van Buren is the SBDC director and has served in that position since 2008. She and her husband own a small business so she understands the challenges that business owners and those looking to start a business face. Star has many years of experience in the field of marketing and specializes in market research, planning, communications and public relations for small businesses. She holds a BA in communications from CSU Dominguez Hills, a master’s degree in business from the University.

View Starleen Van Buren, MBA's Professional Bio


Business Consultants



Michael DeDonato J.D.,MBA

Position: Business Consultant
Business expertise: Management

Michael' expertise lies in management consulting, management accounting as well as mergers and acquisitions. "I am dedicated to the success of every client and very much look forward to the actualization of client aspirations and visions."

View Michael DeDonato J.D.,MBA's Professional Bio


Deborah Deras

Position: Social Media Consultant

Deborah Deras, Social Media Marketing trainer and consultant, is an author, corporate trainer and motivational speaker. She has over 15 years experience coaching small business owners. Her Fortune 500 clients secured through social media include: Coca Cola, Pinesol, Verizon, Allstate and NASA. She has a Masters in Education from CSULA. She is passionate about helping owners navigate the ever changing world of social to increase their visibility and achieve their business goals.

View Deborah Deras's Professional Bio


Daniel Hancuff

Position: Legal Consultant

Daniel has been working with SBDC clients for over nine years and has had the opportunity to assist hundreds of small business owners navigate the filings and regulations related to operating a business in California. "It has been a pleasure to remove obstacles blocking my clients' progress and to see their businesses grow."

View Daniel Hancuff's Professional Bio


Nate Jemison

Position: Finance Consultant

Nate Jemison provides access to capital, financial analysis and loan consulting. He has over 20+ of years experience as a commercial and corporate banker with national, regional and community banks. Nate has also operated his own independent financial consulting business for the past 15 years. He is a graduate of CSU Long Beach and received his formal credit training from the distinguished and highly regarded Security Pacific National Bank Commercial Loan Training Program.

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Larry Johnson

Position: Business Consultant
Business expertise: Food and Beverage Industry, Debt and Equity Funding

Larry is a core business consultant with dual specialties in the food & beverage industry as well as debt and equity consulting. "Active after hours as a Rotarian in my local community, I am also an aficionado of classical music and the LA Phil. My weekend passions include golf, tennis and hiking the local mountains."

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Lara Lara

Position: Accounting Consultant
Business expertise: Finance

As a Business Advisor, with a specialty in QuickBooks and Finance, Lara assists nascent, new and existing businesses understand the money they make. When not helping clients, she enjoys genealogy and hiking.

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Charlie Lowe, CGBP

Position: Business Consultant
Business expertise: Marketing, Business Planning, Procurement and International Trade

Charlie is a core business consultant with special skills in marketing and international trade. Charlie also assists with business start-up, planning and government procurement, and can do it and both English and Spanish! Charlie's passion is helping small businesses become empowered to change their lives for the better. When not working, he enjoys listening to live music and going out to nature, camping and exploring.

View Charlie Lowe, CGBP's Professional Bio


Antonio Ruiz

Position: Marketing and Social Media Consultant
Business expertise: Digital Marketing

As a SBDC advisor, Antonio is committed to helping small businesses tell their stories on their websites and social media utilizing a multiplicity of tools including video; Antonio's goal is to work with you to make their businesses grow.

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Andrew Strachan

Position: Financial Consultant
Business expertise: Finance

Andrew has many years of financial analysis expertise serving as financial analyst/VP of finance for over 20 years in the U.S. and Europe following an earlier career in two start-ups and serves on the board of a bank. Andrew leverages this experience for the benefit of his SBDC clients as he assists them with financial model development, financial statement creation and review, along with strategy development, business planning and working with investors (pitch deck review, business plan, presentations). He is also fluent in French.

View Andrew Strachan's Professional Bio