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Celebrating the Hispanic Business Community and its Legacy in the Inland Empire




Chris Porro, Small Business Banking for Inland Empire, Bank of America 

By Chris Porro, Small Business Banking for Inland Empire, Bank of America  

Although Hispanic Heritage Month is winding down, it gave us a unified opportunity to celebrate the richness and diversity of the Hispanic-Latino community and recognize our collective path forward to drive social and economic progress in Inland Empire. This year in particular, we recognize the resilience of Inland Empire small business owners impacted by a global health crisis who continue to serve our community.

In the Inland Empire where the Hispanic-Latino population now makes up more than half – 51.6% –  of the total population according to recent analysis of the Census 2020 data,  this population segment plays an integral part of our business community, there is no doubt Hispanic-Latino business owners contribute to the success of the Inland Empire. 

This Inland Empire growth reflects the legacy and success that Hispanics have contributed to and experienced across California. A recent study commissioned and funded by Bank of America found that California’s Hispanic GDP grew to $706.6 billion in 2018 — the latest data available — and is poised to continue excelling into 2022 and beyond. In fact, from 2010-18, California’s Latino labor force grew nearly seven times as quickly as the non-Latino labor force and accounted for $706.6 billion in economic activity in California in 2018, bigger than the entire economic output of Ohio. 

Nationally, this Hispanic-Latino GDP is breathtaking, with the total economic output of Latinos across the United States at $2.6 trillion. Today, Latinos account for nearly 80% of all net new businesses created, according to L’ATITUDE.

However, the past year was challenging for nearly every Hispanic entrepreneur, according to our recently released 2021 Hispanic Business Owner Spotlight. For example, 84% of respondents say they have changed, or plan to change, their approach to employee recruitment and retention as a result of the pandemic, but they also believe that strong talent contributes to their business success.

The Bank of America research also revealed that the Hispanic-Latino business outlook is strong, with 81% of Hispanic-Latino business owners expecting their revenue to increase over the next year, compared to 59% of non-Hispanic-Latino business owners – a significant difference in outlook. Their economic optimism and hiring plans also show sharp increases since last fall. 

The survey also reconfirms that community values are strong among Hispanic business owners, noting an increase in family and community support over the past 12 months, and 60% have volunteered to help their local communities recover and thrive.

Our company, Bank of America, serves 12 million Hispanic-Latino clients, one million of whom are also business owners working to make a lasting positive impact on their communities.

We strive to serve this important segment by providing digital Spanish-language resources, hiring bilingual client-facing teams and investing in research like our annual Hispanic Business Owner Spotlight to better understand the unique experiences of these entrepreneurs, we are uniquely positioned to help our Hispanic clients and community continue to succeed.

We also invest in programs and partners, such as the Latino Business Action Network, which helps scale up minority-owned businesses, provides mentorship and offers growth opportunities. To help Hispanic-Latino and other underrepresented entrepreneurs have greater access to capital, Bank of America has provided $350 million in capital to minority-focused funds like Vamos Ventures and L’Attitude Ventures, which then invest growth capital into minority-led businesses.

Supporting Hispanic-Latino businesses not only helps nurture the rich diversity of our community, but more importantly, it helps strengthen our local economy as these businesses continue to grow, creating job opportunities and business owners give back to our community.

Ensuring long-term success for Hispanic entrepreneurs in the Inland Empire continues to be a priority for Bank of America this Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.

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Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce to Lead California Delegation at GITEX GLOBAL 2023 in Dubai



Fostering Technological Synergy: Bridging the Tech Gap with Global Partners

Demonstrating the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce’s (IERCC) commitment to global tech collaboration and innovation, the organization will lead a California delegation to the world-renowned GITEX GLOBAL event in Dubai from October 16-20, 2023. Though the original invitation extended to IERCC’s President & CEO, Mr. Edward Ornelas, Jr., he will not be in attendance. Instead, the California delegation will be spearheaded by the Chamber’s newly-appointed CTO, Mr. Gabriel Rangel.

Organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre, GITEX GLOBAL 2023 promises to be grander than ever. The event is set to host over 6,000 exhibiting companies and startups, drawing more than 170,000 tech and business executives from over 170 countries. The mega-event will sprawl across 41 vast halls and, for the first time ever, will be held at two prominent venues – the iconic Dubai World Trade Centre and the new Dubai Harbour for Expand North Star, making it the host for the world’s largest startup event.

Mr. Edward Ornelas, Jr. commented, “While I regret not attending GITEX personally, I am proud to have Mr. Rangel at the helm of this effort. I’m confident that our delegation will foster new collaborations and present the Golden State as a tech powerhouse.”

This year’s conference adopts the compelling theme of “The Year to Imagine AI in Everything”. Attendees are poised to witness the grandest showcase of AI tech giants and industry frontrunners. Additionally, it promises to kindle profound dialogues and debates concerning the socio-economic implications of burgeoning AI technology.

“Leading the California delegation at GITEX offers us an unmatched platform to nurture and solidify relationships with global tech partners,” said Mr. Gabriel Rangel, CTO of IERCC. “As the technology landscape continues to evolve, it’s critical for us to be a part of these international collaborations. I’m honored to spearhead this mission on behalf of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce.”

An integral part of the California delegation, Mr. Ram Thanapandian, Principal Technology Consultant to the State of California and Chair of CA State Treasurer Fiona Ma’s Technical Advisory Commission, will be present, providing invaluable insights and representing the State of California Treasurer’s Office.

IERCC’s leadership in organizing this delegation underscores the crucial role that California plays in the global tech ecosystem and mirrors Dubai’s ambitious vision as encapsulated in the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33). This strategy aims to substantially expand Dubai’s economic landscape in the upcoming decade, securing its stature among the world’s leading global cities.

Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President of the Dubai World Trade Centre and CEO of KAOUN International, remarked on the invaluable contributions the California delegation will bring to the event. She looks forward to an event marked by knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and pioneering discussions.

For additional information on GITEX GLOBAL 2023, please refer to: GITEX 2023 Preview.

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Economist Christopher Thornberg, State Treasurer Fiona Ma Headline New Forecast Conference



Coming October 5th

Economic Horizon 2024: What Lies Ahead?

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Beacon Economics and the County of San Bernardino, is thrilled to announce that the anticipated economic forecast conference, Economic Horizon 2024: What Lies Ahead, Inland Empire? will be held October 5th from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the El Prado Golf Courses in the vibrant city of Chino, California.

Esteemed economist, Dr. Christopher Thornberg will present complete outlooks for the U.S., California, and Inland Empire economies. “The Inland Empire stands at the crossroads of remarkable economic opportunities and challenges,” said Thornberg. “I’m excited to unpack the trends and shifts that will define the region’s economic landscape in the next year, and beyond.”

Known for his razor-sharp observations, and fun, energized delivery, Thornberg’s presentation will include pointed discussions about inflation, the Fed’s next move, housing markets, strengths and instabilities in the economy, and what current trends mean for the nation, state, and local region.

The conference will also be graced by the insights of California State Treasurer Fiona Ma as keynote speaker. In her words, “The strength of California’s economy is deeply interwoven with the growth trajectories of its regions. The Inland Empire, with its dynamism and resilience, is a testament to this synergy. I am honored to join ‘Economic Horizon 2024’ and share a vision where policies, partnerships, and potentials converge to elevate the Inland Empire to unprecedented economic heights.”

“This conference is a testament to the collaborative spirit of the Inland Empire and our commitment to fostering a robust, resilient economy,” said Edward Ornelas, Jr., President of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Our partnership with Beacon Economics and the County of San Bernardino aims to offer a platform for profound economic discussion, forecasting, and strategic future planning.”

Attendees can anticipate not only expert insights into the economy but also networking opportunities and a chance to connect with key business, government, and nonprofit leaders from across the region.

Full event details are available at:

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Webb Investments acquires Silver Creek Industries, an industry leader in modular construction for schools



Webb Investments today announced the launch of a new company, Silver Creek Modular, after acquiring the assets of Silver Creek Industries, a highly respected modular construction company known for bringing innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the education industry. 

Silver Creek Industries’ existing business, including its employees and its Perris, Calif., manufacturing facility, will remain with the new company, with Webb providing the investment capital, resources and expertise to enhance Silver Creek’s presence in the modular construction marketplace.

The acquisition closed in June of 2023, following Silver Creek Industries’ Chapter 11 filing in the Central Bankruptcy Court of California.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Silver Creek into our family business, and look forward to building on our shared commitment to improving educational opportunities within communities across our region,” said Kiana Webb, CEO of Webb Family Enterprises. “This acquisition aligns with our strategy to invest in established firms that can help us drive community revitalization and inclusive growth, while improving quality of life and increasing economic output.”

Silver Creek Industries was founded in 2004 and has completed more than 1,000 projects in the education, commercial, medical, military, government and multi-family housing markets. More recently, the company’s focus has been on providing high-quality, sustainable modular buildings for schools and educational institutions. Silver Creek Industries is well known for delivering projects on time and on budget, with minimal disruption to school and the community. 

Webb Investments is a privately held, family-owned company focusing on creating a community development ecosystem that drives inclusive, organic growth and transforms the areas they serve. 

For more information on Webb Investments, please visit

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