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Fueling Success: ESO Ventures and DVC Entrepreneurship Classes Empower Students with Confidence, Competence, and Capital

Nov 21, 2023

“When I was working my very first job in the insurance industry, I got a devastating call from my mom. She told me she had cancer,” said Johanna Arroliga, insurance/real estate agent owner of XIX Insurance Group Services.    

“Immediately life changed for me. As a 25-year-old, I became my mom’s caregiver while working full time. I needed to work to help with the cost of treatment, but I also needed to be physically present to help my mom fight cancer,” said Arroliga. 

When her mother passed, Arroliga resented not being able to do more for her. She felt frustrated that she had to ask her manager for time off to take her to chemotherapy. She was even more upset that she had to request time off to attend the funeral.  

“I vowed to never work for someone again,” said Arroliga.  

The freedom to grow 

Johanna ArroligaArroliga knew she wanted to start her own business. She credits the community college system for preparing her and her husband for their entrepreneurship journey. She graduated from Contra Costa College (DVC’s sister college, CCC) with three associate degrees, as well as her insurance and real estate licenses. She launched her business in 2018. More recently, she completed an entrepreneurship class at DVC, and is in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley. 

“By 2023, my business had survived wildfires, COVID, and other challenges. The office grew enough for my husband to leave his stable job of nine years to get licensed and work with me. He also earned an associate degree from CCC. The set of skills we acquired for free through the community college system has been an integral part of our journey,” said Arroliga. 

Arroliga initially started the business only selling insurance under Johanna Arroliga Farmers Insurance Agency. She later launched XIX Insurance Group Services.  

“As a bilingual insurance agent, I offer insurance, Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) services, notary services, fingerprinting, real estate, and business formation services. I’m passionate about making entrepreneurship accessible by educating my customers while also strengthening my financial literacy skills,” said Arroliga. 

Arroliga’s desire to grow her own knowledge and skill led her to participate in a business incubator program specifically designed to support and lift Black and Brown entrepreneurs. In 2022, the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC) partnered with ESO Ventures to bring the incubator to six local community colleges, including DVC and CCC.  

“The collaboration enables underserved populations to access quality, culturally relevant entrepreneurship training free of charge. It also provides certificate opportunities for continued growth, and aligns entrepreneurs with other community resources,” said Derene Allen Hinchliff, business administration faculty and lead for the DVC ESO Ventures Incubator Program. 

“As a first-generation business owner, starting my business felt like I chose to build a plane on my way down AFTER jumping off the cliff. ESO Ventures and the DVC entrepreneurship class came along at a time for me when I was seeking help with my plane. I wanted to fly, to soar higher. I was excited to find that there was an opportunity for people like me to get help with tools, resources, coaching, and capital,” said Arroliga. 

“The ESO Ventures incubator program provides participants with the confidence, competence, and capital to take their early-stage business idea to the next level through a 10-module online program with business coaching that culminates in a summit where the community is invited,” said Hinchliff. 

Arroliga is grateful to the ESO Ventures program and has referred others to enroll. 

“They are providing people in underserved and overlooked communities with so many resources and opportunities. It motivates me to set plans into action and do more to contribute to the community as well. What they are doing is changing and impacting lives,” said Arroliga.

To learn more, visit ESO Ventures – Diablo Valley College.  

Entrepreneurship at DVC

Music Industry students at DVCDVC offers a wide selection of high-quality business management and business entrepreneurship courses and programs throughout the year. Multiple degree and certificate offerings are available with focus areas in accounting, management, marketing, and real estate.   

“DVC recently created a dedicated business entrepreneurship program to focus on helping students achieve their educational goals in starting and growing new businesses. Several disciplines now have entrepreneurship-related offerings including culinary arts, horticulture, kinesiology, and music industry studies, so that students can learn skills enabling them to be more successful in launching their own business,” said Mariam Worsham, business administration faculty at DVC. 

“In addition to for-credit courses, DVC has many other entrepreneurship initiatives for students to learn more, including an annual  Piranha PoolTM Pitch Competition where students pitch their ideas to judges for cash prizes. We also offer biweekly workshops and speakers under the “Business Beyond the Classroom” as well as the Entrepreneur in You” video series, Career Launchpad classes, and of course the entrepreneurship class focused on Black and Brown entrepreneurs as part of our joint-venture with ESO Ventures,” said Worsham. 

Johanna Arroliga strongly encourages students and community members to consider launching their own business. 

“My favorite part about being an entrepreneur is having ownership of my time. I can make the money I need to build wealth, while also having the flexibility to choose what I put my energy towards and do the things that I care about,” said Arroliga.

To find out more about the entrepreneurship program at DVC, visit business management.

Launch or Grow Your Own Business with a Certificate or Degree in Entrepreneurship


  • Associate in arts – music industry entrepreneurship
  • Associate in science – accounting
  • Associate in science – business
  • Associate in science – business administration for transfer
  • Associate in science – professional and technical workplace skills

Certificates of achievement

  • Advanced accounting
  • Advanced general business
  • Arboriculture entrepreneurship
  • Bookkeeping
  • Business marketing
  • Business – transfer  Cannabis studies
  • Digital marketing  General accounting
  • General business  Landscape design entrepreneurship
  • Management and leadership studies
  • Music industry entrepreneurship
  • Nursery and greenhouse
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Office professional – business information worker
  • Personal training entrepreneurship
  • Professional and technical workplace skills
  • Real estate
  • Small business management/entrepreneurship

Certificates of accomplishment

  • Cannabis entrepreneurship 
  • Food truck entrepreneurship 
  • Management and leadership studies 
  • Real estate salesperson 
  • Small business management/entrepreneurship