Success Stories and Testimonials

Success Stories & Testimonials

The MERIT class was my first time telling my dream to someone other than my closest friends. And I started to think, maybe this is really going to happen.– Melissa, Modern Exposure Photography
“I wish I went to MERIT before I went into business. I was astounded at how many resources are available. MERIT has amazing instructors and set me up for success.”– Desiree, Happy Spirit Healing Arts
“Going to the MERIT class helped me gel some of my business ideas and spurred me on to move forward on things that I was putting off.”– Cindy, Organizing Your Space

Success Stories

M&S Maintenance & Cleaning LLC

Owners: Filiberto and Aurora Moreno

Started: September 2009

The Business

M&S Resources Maintenance and Cleaning LLC started in September 2009. They provide janitorial services, handy man work, and routine maintenance for apartment complexes. The Moreno’s knew they could provide superior service to their clients, but we’re unsure if they could run a business. In February 2010, Aurora enrolled in MERIT to learn the basics of running a business.



Filiberto and Aurora Moreno have years of experience working hard in maintenance, repair work, and janitorial services. They found jobs here and there, but it wasn’t enough to avoid bankruptcy. The Moreno’s filed bankruptcy and struggled for a few years, but were able to overcome their financial hardship and stay together as a family. In pursuit of a more financially stable future, Filiberto and Aurora decided to start a business based on what they know best—repair work, maintenance, and cleaning.


Partnership with MERIT

MERIT provided the training and advising necessary for Filiberto and Aurora to grow M&S Resources Maintenance and Cleaning LLC to hire its first employees. In fact, the business outgrew their original facilities and now has office space on the corner of Capitol Street NE and Hood Street NE. Also, the business employs two other full-time workers. Filiberto and Aurora are proud that they have been able to grow their business in this economy. They enjoy their work and the opportunity to meet new people and businesses. The Moreno’s are dedicated to their business and their clients. They find deep satisfaction in their clients’ appreciation of their work and are working hard to continue to grow their business.

SunSeed Edventures, LLC

Owners: Ed Millis

Started: September 2011

The Business

SunSeed Edventures provides active environmental education and adventure for kids. Since the business started, Ed Millis has held 25 educational adventures to the coast, the Cascade range, and Eastern Oregon. By discovering their natural environment and its intersections with human history in Oregon, the kids have the kind of outdoor experiences that broaden their horizons, instill critical life skills, and allow them to discover through play.

Location: Salem




Ed has been an outdoor educator for 19 years and he is currently a Physical Education teacher at Valley Inquiry Charter School in Salem. Ed’s passion for the outdoors led him to take his own two children on backcountry adventures for years. Yet when he asked his students how they spent their breaks away from school, the answer was frequently that they’d done nothing or spent the time playing video games. Several studies show that environmental education has a measurable, positive impact on children’s abilities with concentration, school subjects, creativity and their powers of imagination. So Ed jumped at the opportunity to connect his passion and expertise in backpacking, mountaineering, botany, geology, team-building, and Leave No Trace skills to guide kids to explore their natural world. The only problem was, he didn’t know where to begin when it came to starting a business.


Partnership with MERIT

That’s where MERIT came into the picture. Ed heard about the small business training MERIT offers after taking the “Entrepreneurship 101” series offered by the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center. He attended the 10-week series held in Independence in November of 2010. “MERIT provided the framework, the knowledge, the information, the confidence to move forward and take the first steps into business.” He receives continued advising from our Independence instructor, Marie Trucco, and the potential for his business to create positive change is exciting to us all.

Latest News


MERIT to Launch Second Phase of Financial Empowerment Academy

Salem, Oregon – Tuesday February 20, 2018 – In a motivating influence for the Willamette Valley community, MERIT (Micro Enterprise Resource Initiatives and Training) continues providing comprehensive financial and business resources for local business owners and families.

MERIT is a 501(c)3 non-profit, located in downtown Salem’s Center for Business and Industry, and has been helping determined individuals blossom into prosperous business owners in our community for over 13 years. True to their philosophy, MERIT has been a resource in providing training and workshops for local entrepreneurs and business owners who wish to take their ideas to the next level.

Through Initiatives such as group classes, IDA’s (3 to 1 matched savings), lending circles and coaching; MERIT has helped seed the foundations of main street businesses throughout the Willamette Valley.


Our Funding Partners

Merit Funders Logos - NALCAB
Merit Funders Logos -Chemeketa Community College
Merit Funders Logos -Northwest Area Foundation v2
Merit Funders Logos Ford Family Foundation
Merit Funders Logos -Wells Fargo v2