Press Release — Riverside, Calif., November 13, 2019 — Recognizing that “Innovation is Not Enough,” and that creating a successful business enterprise includes equal measures of passion, drive, commitment, determination, and risk-taking, the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards celebrated and honored the Inland Empire region’s best entrepreneurs on Wednesday evening. The 17th annual gala event, presented by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at Cal State San Bernardino, drew more than 1,000 attendees to the Riverside Convention Center to hear the inspiring stories of the 33 entrepreneurs selected as finalists.
This year’s award recipients recognized at the black-tie gala, chosen from the 33 finalists, include:
- Vikita Poindexter, Poindexter Consulting Group – Murrieta – CONSULTING ENTREPRENEUR
- Bob Marcynyszyn, Avalon Shutters Inc. – Perris – CONSUMER PRODUCTS MANUFACTURING ENTREPRENEUR and BEST OF THE BEST AWARD
- Dane Stevenson, QC Manufacturing – Temecula – FAMILY BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR
- Rod Vandenbos, buzzbox beverages inc. – Indio – FOOD & BEVERAGE ENTREPRENEUR
- Jonathan Mitchell, Sunergy Construction, Inc. – Corona – GENERAL ENTREPRENEUR
- Dr. Kelly Hong, Kelly Smile Dentistry – Victorville – HEALTH CARE ENTREPRENEUR
- Jon Armstrong, Do It American Manufacturing Company, LLC – Corona – INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING ENTREPRENEUR
- Karen Mason, United Transmission Exchange – San Bernardino – INSPIRATIONAL ENTREPRENEUR
- Mickey McGuire Jr., Acorn Technology Services, Inc. – Riverside – SERVICE-BASED ENTREPRENEUR
- Ryan Rainbolt, Education Through Imagination – Redlands – SMALL/EMERGING ENTERPRISE
- Carrie Ridgway, Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center – Riverside – SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
In addition, a special surprise Lifetime Achievement Award presentation was made to Garner Holt, founder of Garner Holt Productions or Redlands. Holt, who founded the company 42 years ago as a teenager in his parents’ garage, has grown the company to become the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of animatronic figures and ride show and theme park attractions. Holt became the first entrepreneur to win a Spirit Award multiple times, having been recognized as “Innovator Entrepreneur” in 2006.
FAST PITCH COMPETITION
As part of the event festivities, the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition was held for five future entrepreneurs to deliver a 90-second pitch about their up-and-coming venture idea to the audience and were critiqued on their overall preparation, poise and professional presentation. The top three pitches were recognized and the top student walked away with a $4,000 prize. The fast pitch, which involves students from Cal State San Bernardino, is sponsored by local entrepreneur Garner Holt of San Bernardino. The top 3 finishers were:
- Jonathan Stoneking – Halo Mouse
- Victoria Zachary – Cloud 9
- Alexander Watkins – Stoggo
Proceeds from the Spirit of the Entrepreneur event benefit the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Scholarship established by Dr. Mike Stull, Director of Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University, San Bernardino which supports local college students that are seeking to further their education through entrepreneurship and business management.
The Spirit of the Entrepreneur event is presented by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) and the Jack H. Brown College of Business & Public Administration at California State University San Bernardino and sponsored by a wide range of local organizations including:
- PLATINUM SPONSORS – Best Best & Krieger LLP, Fifth Third Bank, Southern California News Group, Bank of America, Inland Empire Magazine, and the Inland Empire Business Journal.
- GOLD SPONSORS – San Bernardino County EDA, City of Riverside, US Bank, Wilson Ivanova CPAs, Wells Fargo, Altek Media Group, JP Morgan Chase, Riverside County EDA
- SILVER SPONSORS – Varner & Brandt LLP, CDC Small Business Finance, The Community Foundation, SmartSyt, Pacific Premier Bank, Tangram Interiors, City of Ontario, and ROARK Accounting.
- JUDGING RECEPTION SPONSOR – Roorda, Piquet & Bessee, Inc.
- VIP RECEPTION SPONSOR – City National Bank
- AFTER PARTY SPONSOR – Leadership Dimensions, Inc.
About the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE)
Established in 1999, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) supports and celebrate Entrepreneurship & Small Business through innovative programs and educational resources. IECE coordinates academic programs that lead to business degrees in Entrepreneurship for undergraduate and graduate students as well as delivering experiential learning and student support programs such as the Fast Pitch Competition. In the local community, IECE offers existing and aspiring entrepreneurs a wide array of business advisory and mentoring services and entrepreneurial training programs that help them achieve greater levels of success in their business ventures.
IECE was recognized internationally by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and received the Entrepreneurship Spotlight Challenge award for demonstrating leadership in creating (and incubating) cutting-edge business innovations through enriched student learning and experiential education; which ranked them among the top 35 entrepreneurship programs globally.
California State University, San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in Inland Southern California. Opened in 1965 and set at the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, the university serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually. CSUSB offers 48 undergraduate, 35 graduate, and 1 doctoral degree programs and 14 academic programs with national accreditation.
Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions™ Opens in Redlands
Asurion® Repair Experts Provide Fast Fixes on Phones, Tablets, Laptops, and More
A new electronics repair shop, Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions™, has opened in Redlands at 9980 Alabama St. The store offers professional fixes for most consumer electronics, from smartphones, tablets, and computers to game consoles, smart speakers, drones, and more.
While common repairs include cracked screens, battery issues, and water damage, the company’s repair experts have fixed millions of devices and can help with most any tech mishap, and many basic repairs can be completed in 45 minutes or less.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to introduce Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions to Redlands as we continue to serve this region,” said Damon Madison, Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions District Manager. “Our team prioritizes customer satisfaction above all else. By offering free diagnostics on all device issues, matching competitors’ prices, and guaranteeing fast-turnarounds on device repairs, we’re dedicated to making our customers’ experience affordable and convenient.”
The store’s expert repair technicians fix all kinds of technology, regardless of make or model, and the store is an authorized repair provider for Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel smartphones. Customers can book a repair appointment online or stop by the store for walk-in service. The store offers free, no-obligation diagnostics on all gadgets, as well as a 1-year limited warranty on all repairs. It even offers a price match guarantee on any local competitor’s regularly published price for the same repair.
The new Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions store brings the company’s retail footprint to more than 750 locations across the U.S. Formerly known as uBreakiFix®, all U.S. locations will rebrand as Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions throughout 2022.
“We are excited to serve people in Redlands with fast and affordable tech repair,” said Dave Barbuto, CEO of Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions. “We all rely on our phones and laptops more than ever before, and our mission is bigger than repairing shattered screens and broken charge ports. We fix tech because people depend on it to stay connected to things that are important to them. I look forward to serving this community through our new location.”
The new store is located at:
9980 Alabama St Suite C, Redlands, CA 92374
New Partnership Announced; Stater Bros. Markets joins Entertainment Giant
Toyota Arena has announced a new partnership with Stater Bros. Markets effective July 1, 2022.
Guests of the arena will soon be able to experience the new branding of the North Patio, which will include live concerts featuring local bands and up-and-coming professional talent. “We are thrilled to welcome Stater Bros. Markets as a partner to Toyota Arena,” said Michael K. Krouse, President & CEO. “It’s a natural fit – this is our community’s grocery store of choice and the amazing Stater Bros. Charities provides non-profit organizations in our local region with support. We are on board to help as well.”
The marketing amenities this partnership will provide Stater Bros. will include a presence on several assets including the arena’s Interstate 10 marquee, overhead LED scoreboard, television monitors throughout the facility, website, and more. The relationship created through this agreement will also provide benefits for Toyota Arena guests, including new Stater Bros.-inspired food and beverage options.
The benefits to the community will go beyond lifestyle and entertainment, however. Stater Bros. and Toyota Arena recognize the important role they play in the overall development of the City of Ontario. The city’s vigorous commercial and residential growth, and its status as a destination location will result in economic growth, jobs, and a thriving community. The partnership will also open up new opportunities to support the giving efforts of the market’s non-profit charitable arm, Stater Bros. Charities.
“This really is an exciting day for the entire Stater Bros. team. As a company, we work hard to establish great business relationships, and with Toyota Arena, we’ve found an excellent partner,” said Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden. “I look forward to the new opportunities our partnership will bring and its benefits for the City of Ontario and the Inland Empire as a whole.”
IECE Presents its Inaugural State of Entrepreneur Report on Dec. 9
The first-ever State of Entrepreneurship Address for the Inland Empire is being held by the Cal State San Bernardino Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship on Thursday, Dec. 9, from 5-8 p.m. at 4th Sector Innovations in Ontario.
IECE’s goal in producing the State of Entrepreneurship research study is to bring the voice of local entrepreneurs to those who need to hear it most – local and state policymakers, community organizations, lenders, and other resource providers.
The Voice of the Entrepreneur survey, on which the address is based, sends powerful feedback on the challenges that entrepreneurs and business owners of the Inland Southern California region face.
Survey results were drawn out earlier this year by reaching out to IECE’s extensive network, consisting of more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners representing a diverse group of industries. The IECE will continue to distribute the Voice of the Entrepreneur survey in the spring of each calendar year to find out what Inland Empire entrepreneurs and business owners are going through.
The report is a potent tool for policymakers, economic impact drivers, and business owners and entrepreneurs to analyze growth potential within the region. Using measurable data, the goal is to identify the challenges and opportunities facing local business owners and obstacles that may be impeding business growth.
The result is a concise report that gives insight into how we can effectively learn and evolve together with a regional focus.
The evening will start and end with networking and food; in between, the SOER report will be presented, which includes examining the indicators of entrepreneurial activity and how the IE measures up as a region; learning of the Voice of the Entrepreneur direct survey results and the common themes, as well as an IE Ecosystem assessment; and regional perspectives from influencers that include:
- Rod Vandenbos, founder and CEO, buzzbox beverages, Indio;
- Mike Napoli, Tech Coast Angels, Palm Springs;
- Edward Ornelas, Jr. President, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Ana Karina Suchánek, president, Cask Restaurant Group, Inc., Rancho Cucamonga; and
- Pepi Jackson, president and CEO, Riverside Black Chamber of Commerce
Click the following link – Secure Your Spot for the 2021 State of Entrepreneurship Address – to attend, network and learn more about entrepreneurship in the region. Whether you are a seasoned or soon-to-be entrepreneur, there is a perspective for everyone who wants to know more about how to strengthen the Inland Empire economy.
The presentation will unveil breakthrough metrics and perspectives on the State of Entrepreneurship throughout the Inland Empire, including:
- Why a report like this is essential for the collective growth of our region;
- What the report consists of: indicators for entrepreneurship and what real entrepreneurs in our communities are telling us through our Voice of the Entrepreneur survey results; and
- Regional perspectives from influencers and officials that are active in our ecosystem.
The event will also include food and cocktails while networking within an inspirational setting at 4th Sector Innovations Ontario.
To learn more, visit the IECE State of Entrepreneurship Report website.
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