Business Builder Grants

Fulfill Your Destiny’s signature program is its ‘Business Builder Grants’.   Fulfill Your Destiny has pioneered ‘Business Builder Grants’ awarding these grants to proven entrepreneurs who have experienced life changing events and desire to take their businesses to the next level.


Showcasing our Moon Sponsor:

debartolo large


Sharing our Star Sponsors:

American Momentum Bank      pilot bank

Highlighting our Sun Sponsors:


My Benefit Partners Logo

matt powell law logo

Introducing our World Sponsor:

Clarke Automotive Services


To date, Fulfill Your Destiny has three partnerships to assist in administering its Business Builder Grants.  Fulfill Your Destiny has partnered with the South Tampa Chamber of CommerceHillsborough Community College and the Working Women Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Working Women of Tampa Bay.  Representatives from these organizations get the completed applications.  Karen Mertes, Fulfill Your Destiny’s founder, is involved in the final selection of each of these Business Builder Grant recipients.

Fulfill Your Destiny in its partnership with the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce will award Business Builder Grants at the 5th Annual Business of the Year Awards on Feb 8, 2018.  For more info, please view this link.

Fulfill Your Destiny has committed $5,000 to the accredited entrepreneur program at Hillsborough Community College and specifically, their Operation STARTUP program which serves Veterans.

To learn more about Fulfill Your Destiny’s partnership with Hillsborough Community College and Operation STARTUP, please watch this video where Karen Mertes, Fulfill Your Destiny’s Founder, was interviewed along with Valerie Ellis Lavin, Program Manager, Hillsborough Community College, by Lissette Campos on ABC’s Positively Tampa Bay:

Fulfill Your Destiny has also partnered with the Working Women Foundation.  Fulfill Your Destiny matched the dollars that were raised by the Working Women Foundation during the summer, June – Aug, 2016 and has committed $2,000.  Karen Mertes served on the selection committee for the first round where three recipients were selected and subsequently recognized during the Working Women Conference in Sept.  The three most-deserving female entrepreneurs who received these grants were Petals & Promises, Pixie Dust Painting, and WeGo Kids.

Fulfill Your Destiny awards a $1,000 ‘Business Builder Grant’ to Two Veterans and Owners of Evado Cattle Company at the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) 5th Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Symposium (VETS)

Dan and Ericka Watson, both Veterans of our US Coast Guard and now owners of Evado Cattle Company, were awarded a $1,000 ‘Business Builder Grant’ at HCC’s 5th Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Symposium.  Thank you to Pilot Bank, one of Fulfill Your Destiny’s ‘Star Sponsors’, for generously sponsoring this grant that was presented at the November symposium.

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Pictured here from left to right are Karen Mertes, Fulfill Your Destiny, Inc.; Dan Watson, Evado Cattle Compnay; and Ericka Watson, Ascent 121 Media and Evado Cattle Company

Dan Watson’s life’s work has been about rescuing people from dangerous situations.  He’s a US Coast Guard Veteran and currently a Paramedic/Firefighter with Pasco County Fire Rescue.

He and his wife, Ericka started Evado Cattle Company to solve a few related problems in the community, but the main problem and the heart behind their “why” is that there’s a large portion of the population who struggles with hunger.   These families work hard to provide for themselves but keeping quality protein on their tables and in their refrigerators is quite challenging.  That’s where Evado Cattle Company comes in.  The Watson’s started Evado Cattle Company to fill that hunger need by providing less advantaged families with a quality source of locally raised beef free of charge while at the same time solving problems for local farmers, ranchers, and health conscious families.

Evado Cattle Company brings together local farmers and ranchers to sell their beef to local health conscious families and individuals.  The Watson’s have found these farmers and ranchers are mostly resigned to selling their cattle at auction prices, which are far below the true market value of pasture raised beef cattle.  They are passionate about their craft, but the farmers and ranchers don’t have the time or knowledge to market their farms and ranches because their time is spent caring for their farm and their herd.  Evado Cattle Company solves both those problems by promoting their farm and selling their beef on its website.

Evado Cattle Company addresses the following four issues:

1) Local ranchers who have limited options to keep and sell their beef for a fair price in Florida.  Evado Cattle Company partners with these ranchers to sell their beef direct to the consumer through its website where they get a fair price for their beef, rather than sell it at auction for a fraction of its worth,

2) Florida families struggling to source fresh, pasture raised beef.  Health conscious families have greater access to purchasing local, quality pasture-raised beef,

3) Hungry and less advantaged families in Tampa Bay.  A portion of Evado Cattle Companies profits from selling beef through its website funds the purchase of quality beef for those families in need around the Tampa Bay area, and

4)  As local business owners, the Watson’s are dedicated to investing in our community.  As small business owners, Evado Cattle Company values shopping local and giving back to other small businesses in our community.

To learn more about Evado Cattle Company, please visit

$4,000 in ‘Business Builder Grants’ Awarded by Fulfill Your Destiny to Four Veterans at the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program Graduation

Four recent graduates of the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program and now part of Hillsborough Community College’s Operation Startup were each awarded a $1,000 ‘Business Builder Grant’ from Fulfill Your Destiny.  Pilot Bank, one of Fulfill Your Destiny’s Star Sponsors, generously sponsored the grants presented at the May Graduation.

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Pictured here from left to right are Amanda Milligan, Excel Match, LLC; Karen Mertes, Fulfill Your Destiny, Inc.; Christopher Crist, CC’s Gourmet Products, LLC; Patricia Himes, La Belle Earth; and Rosie Lee, Divergent Dimension, LLC.

Excel Match is a match-making service that connects clients to coaches across all areas of expertise.   When Amanda Milligan was asked why she started this business, she commented, “I’ve been enamored with the coaching world since I was young.  Whether its sports, physical, life, business, relationship, finance or other coaching, I think an incredible group of people are trying to make a living helping other people be successful.”  For more information about Excel Match, please visit

CC’s Gourmet Products was started because Christopher Crist saw a gap in the market of craft breweries.  “They have a unique craft product and serve low quality, sub-par snacks” Christopher said.   “CC’s Gourmet Products fills this gap with gourmet products packed for individual consumption.”  Christopher’s “why” comes from his history in making great southwestern cuisine.  Since living in New Mexico when he was young, he’s always made and perfected southwestern recipes to include salsas, tacos, and other flavors of the southwest.  For more information about CC’s Gourmet Products, please visit

La Belle Earth makes organic laundry detergent the “old way” with a modern twist using organic oils and natural products.  Patricia’s “why” began when her older sister was looking into laundry detergent for herself at the same time she was getting allergic to many things including grass, her own dog, (now Patricia’s dog), wheat, seafood, nuts and others.  For more information about La Belle Earth, please visit

Divergent Dimension was created by Rosie Lee, combining her own specialties of communication, training, and project management, with a network of small businesses to provide additional services all under one umbrella.  Rosie started this business for two reasons.  First, because of how difficult it is to find quality products and services in her specialty areas and second, how challenging it is for quality service providers to network and navigate their offerings to consumers of these services.

Rosie Lee, in her role as Program Manager, HCC’s Institute for Corporate and Continuing Education, Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program, wrote “I want to thank you for making that presentation at the VFEP graduation.  Most of the Veterans in the program have no idea how many people are advocating for them through organizations throughout the Tampa Bay area.  Providing this platform to share Fulfill Your Destiny lit a spark in each of them.  More importantly, it placed a warm hand on their shoulder, one that symbolizes the kind of support and encouragement the entrepreneur ecosystem in our community provides.  They needed that.  I’m grateful we were able to share that with them.”

About Fulfill Your Destiny’s ‘Business Builder Grants’, Clinton E. Day, Entrepreneurship Adjunct Professor wrote, “Kudos for the work you are doing.  You are truly walking the talk by helping with nano grants, an excellent way to reward and encourage wannabe entrepreneurs.”

Angela Mickens, NuStart Community Services, LLC receives grant for a riding lawnmower:

In January 2017, a fourth Business Builder Grant was presented to Mrs. Angela Mickens and NuStart Community Services, LLC.  Her company, NuStart Community Services, LLC was founded in February 2016.   Mrs. Mickens has a social work background spanning ten years across the state of Florida.  She has always had a passion for serving those in the community who would otherwise go without the appropriate resources. In late 2015, funding for the program she was working for was taken away.  This led her to take a long, hard look at her life and career and she decided to make some changes.  At this point, NuStart Community Services, LLC was born.


Mrs. Mickens developed the company to be a three tiered service. She likes to think of it as the trinity: painting, cleaning and lawn care/landscaping.  Initially started as a commercial service company only, Mrs. Mickens wanted to find a way to link her passion for social services with her new business.  She developed a program for residential properties where NuStart Community Services maintains the lawn and other needs around the home on a sliding fee scale.  Individuals receiving this service include the elderly, those with low incomes or fixed incomes, and single parents.  Some individuals pay three or five dollars for an entire lawn service including edging and trimming.  Mrs. Mickens wanted to ensure that in these tough economic times, she was making a way to assist those who were in need; in essence being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

As you can probably imagine, many individuals contacted Mrs. Mickens to take part in this service.  Two recent projects have included getting an elderly woman’s home up to code, so that she would no longer be in violation and repainting the laundry room floor of a young, single mother, as the paint had been chipping and she feared that her crawling infant would ingest paint chips.

nustart2Mrs. Mickens realized she would need more commercial equipment including a riding lawnmower to meet the demands, as it gets dark quite early during the winter months and a push mower takes so long on each property.  With a riding lawnmower she would be able to provide this service to more individuals in the community.  NuStart Community Services, LLC received a grant in which she received a riding lawnmower.  As a result of this grant, she’s able to pay it forward to others in need.

Mrs. Mickens shared, “Our new riding lawnmower was delivered today; we already used it and it’s perfect!  It will cut down our work day by half at least!  Now we’re able to help more families.  I can’t tell you the volume of calls we get asking for this service, no one being any more or less qualified to receive the service, but we were simply unable to take on as many families because of where we lacked.  Now we’re able to take on more jobs, so by us being blessed we can be a blessing!  A million thank yous wouldn’t be enough!  Thank you again!” ~ Angela Mickens, NuStart Community Services, LLC

For more information about NuStart Community Services, LLC, please visit



Thank You to the DeBartolo Family Foundation for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants through a 2017 Community Grant.


pilot bankThank you to Rita Lowman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Pilot Bank for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants in 2017.


American Momentum BankThank You to American Momentum Bank for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants as a Star Sponsor in 2018.


ifsThank you to Jeannie Holliday and Jodi Perez of Independent Financial Services for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants.


My Benefit Partners LogoThank you to Teri Morrow of My Benefit Partners for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants.


matt powell law logoThank you to Matt Powell of MattLaw for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants.


Thank you to Bob Clarke of Clarke Automotive Services for sponsoring Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants.


Rachel Revill, Perfect Timing Concierge receives ‘Business Builder Grant’ at Fulfill Your Destiny’s Spring Chari-Tea:

BG winner 1All the ladies in attendance at Fulfill Your Destiny’s annual signature event, our Spring Chari-Tea were delighted in seeing Rachel Revill of Perfect Timing Concierge awarded a $1,000 Business Builder Grant.  Like many of us as entrepreneurs, Rachel had several dreams and goals for her future.  Then her life changing moment hit as a significant health scare.  Her dreams and goals all were put on hold except for one … to get her health back!  Rachel has confronted her health challenge with the dignity, grace and strength of character we all hope we’d have.

Rachel is winning!  Her eyes have this special sparkle again and when she recently gave her 30-second commercial about Perfect Timing Concierge, she once again spoke proudly about her business and is ready for more.

Rachel was pleasantly surprised, as she didn’t know in advance, that she was the recipient of one of Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants which was presented at Fulfill Your Destiny’s Spring Chari-Tea.

Rachel recently wrote, “Your gift, the Business Builder Grant means so much to me now.  The last few months, starting the last quarter of last year, have been somewhat challenging…coping with a health issue which dramatically lessen my ability to work, and losing my Dad.”

builder grant thank you letterRachel continues, “I’m immensely grateful and appreciative for your kindness and generosity; a portion of the grant has already been used toward a project I needed assistance with which will substantially expand my client base.  I can hardly wait to share the fruit of your investment in me. “ – Rachel Revill, Perfect Timing Concierge

Read Rachel’s Letter Here

For more information about Perfect Timing Concierge, please visit

Ashley Grant, the Famous Ashley Grant receives ‘Business Builder Grant’ at Fulfill Your Destiny’s Spring Chari-Tea:

BG winner 2Ashley Grant is a gifted writer and blogger who, like Rachel Revill, was really coming into her own as an entrepreneur when her life challenge hit with a family tragedy.  Fulfill Your Destiny believes in Ashley, her talents and her success.  Ashley Grant was presented with a $1,000 Business Builder Grant.

Ashley recently shared, “I’m still in shock and humbled, and honored, and shocked, and grateful, and shocked, and amazed, and shocked, and excited about the fact that I was one of the two recipients of Fulfill Your Destiny‘s Business Builder Grants in the amount of $1,000 at today’s Spring Chari-Tea.  Rachel Revill was the other winner.  Neither one of us had ANY idea that we were going to be given these grants today.”

Ashley continued, “I am going to use my grant to get incorporated and launch my Bloggy Friends show I’ve been dreaming about. Thank you Karen Mertes for all that you do.  I hope to make you proud with this amazing gift. Big, ginormous, ridiculous hugs girl.”

Ashley further wrote, “Big thank you to Jeannie Holliday and Jodi Perez for your contribution to this amazing grant as well.  I hope to make you ladies proud too.  Big hugs fellow chics!
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and Rachel, and I look forward to paying it forward one day!!!!” – Ashley Grant

For more information about the Famous Ashley Grant, please visit

Three of our Business Builder Grant sponsors received Certificates of Appreciation at our Spring Chari-Tea. 

Jeannie Holliday

Jeannie Holliday of Independent Financial Services shared, “Great time at the 4th annual Chari-Tea of Fulfill Your Destiny.  Glad to be a sponsor through Independent Financial Services and Charity Chics.  It was a great fundraiser and a great time.  Wonderful job Karen Mertes.  Loved the Business Builders Grants and glad we could be a part of it!” ~ Jeannie Holliday

Interested in Sponsorship?

Karen Mertes will match all sponsorships for these Business Builder Grants by an additional 10%.

For information on becoming a sponsor of Fulfill Your Destiny’s Business Builder Grants, please contact Karen Mertes directly at or