PPP loan gives SoCal entrepreneur with an all-female run business a lifeline during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis created economic hardship for millions of businesses. One local woman, who is no stranger to adversity, was days away from shutting down her company, but a small business loan was finally approved.
WOODLAND HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A woman who overcame blindness to create a business was faced with a new threat when the pandemic came along, but this entrepreneur, who is no stranger to adversity, knew what she had to do to get back on her feet.

At 4-years-old, Jacki Dicamillo fell in love with music. It's a passion she turned into a successful career, but 12 years ago, Dicamillo was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that left her legally blind.

"My life came to a screeching halt," said Dicamillo.

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The owner of the Northridge-based company Butterie is thankful to her local Chase bank for a "quick and seamless" Paycheck Protection Program loan process, which made it possible for her to keep her employees.

It stole her independence and singing career, but she refused to give up. Dicamillo decided to join forces with another woman to create an all women owned and operated staffing company, Event Pros Incorporated.

But in March, the COVID-19 crisis forced them to cancel more than 60 events and lay off staff. And to make matters worse, their company was denied a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) small business loan.

"For the past eight weeks, we have been struggling every day and trying to find a way to fight the fight to persevere and to stay focused and determined," said Dicamillo.

She has a history of overcoming adversity.

"I really believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I believe that through this through these times if we've learned nothing else, I believe that people are more resilient and stronger than they realize," said Dicamillo.

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The Los Angeles Lakers have returned nearly $5 million that they received from the federal government through a program intended to help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN.

She and her partner persisted, and three to five days before closing down for good, Event Pros Inc. got the loan it needed to survive.

"Just when you think life has kicked you down again, just when you think all the odds are against you, stacked against you and there's nowhere else to turn, you know life throws you a lifeline," said Dicamillo.

"Whatever has been thrown her way she has adapted and has conquered. And I I couldn't have asked for a better partner," said Jessie Dicamillo.

Jacki hopes her story brings hope and comfort to others who may be feeling beat down by life.

"My life has come around full circle," said Dicamillo.
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