2023 SBA Award Winners / ChargeNet Stations Wins Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year

By San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center

Honoring Outstanding Small Business Owners in 2023

Today we recognize our local small businesses that have prospered despite the difficulties they have faced during the pandemic. We also recognize those Small Business Champions who support and advocate for small businesses. Whether this is in the legislative arena advocating for reasonable and fair regulations, or helping small businesses start, recover, and grow, our advocates strive to help and protect small businesses.

As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and navigate through these uncertain economic times, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who assists our small businesses to overcome hardship and grow.

We want to acknowledge our Lending and Resource Partners… our many SBA participating lenders, for their outstanding support of SBA’s various loan programs, and technical assistance partner organizations including SCORE, the Small Business Development Centers, the SOCAL Veterans Business Outreach Center, and our Women’s Business Center, as well as, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and Community Navigator Pilot Program network, for all of the guidance and support they provide to our local entrepreneurs and small businesses. These organizations are true partners and do much to enhance the services the SBA provides locally.

The SBA provides technical assistance, guarantees loans made by SBA lending partners, helps small businesses get government contracts, and provides disaster recovery funding. The SBA has guaranteed funding for many companies like FedEx and Rubio’s, who started small and have grown to be large companies.

We congratulate today’s small business winners; and all our local small businesses, that they represent, and the community that supports them. We look forward to continued collaboration in seeing them continue to thrive, grow, and achieve the highest level of success.

The San Diego District Office of the SBA recognizes the commitment, hard work and perseverance of all those who have chosen the entrepreneurial track, and all those who endeavor to support them in achieving their dream.

Congratulations to all who were nominated and those who have been recognized as Small Business Award winners!

Award video with Venus Jenkins

Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year

ChargeNet Stations was co-founded by a trio of energy and engineering experts. CEO Venus Jenkins has extensive experience in various energy and water industry start-ups and scale-ups and is enthusiastic about power generation strategic initiatives. She previously led the largest fiber infrastructure deployment in Orange County, California.

ChargeNet is a “CleanTech” AI driven software company that integrates solar and energy storage to reduce utility costs and increase renewable energy usage along with being at the forefront of increasing access and adoption of electric vehicles, particularly in lower-income areas with medically vulnerable populations.

Their software platform creates a seamless opportunity for Quick Serve Restaurants to offer customers a superior EV charging experience in mere minutes. Their hardware-agnostic SaaS platform, ChargeOpt, optimizes EV chargers and renewable energy to transform parking lots into profit centers.

As a start-up company, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ChargeNet used two SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans to help pay employees in 2020 and 2021.

In addition, former CEO and co-founder Tosh Dutt received over 150 hours of business counseling through The Brink SBDC in the past two years, which has helped him raise over $54M in funding for ChargeNet, increase sales from to $47M under contract for 2023; and grow from three employees to 40, with an anticipated sixty three in 2023.

ChargeNet is making the State of California (and ultimately the entire United States) a better place to live.