On Tuesday, February 19th, at the Pasadena Convention Center, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) (http://entre.csusb.edu) was on scene as the headlining sponsor in support of the annual Regional Virtual Enterprise Conference & Exhibition Competition. The event represented a unique opportunity to reinforce the value of entrepreneurship to young business-minded professional, high school students from four surrounding counties of San Diego, Inland Empire, Riverside, and Los Angeles as well as some participants from the state of New York.
This event was attended by over 1,600 Virtual Enterprise (VE) students from 430 different schools who networked, competed, and showcased their budding business concepts to professional business judges. Among the activities, IECE sponsored the Elevator Pitch Competition, Business Trade Show Booth Design, and the Marketing Plan Competition. IECE also presented a trade show booth, making direct introductions and gaining interest and recruiting for the CSUSB Entrepreneurship program. Students were excited to learn of all the unique attributes of available resources offered to them by CSUSB campus and hundreds were very interested to learn more about the UpStarters Discovery Camp rolling out in summer 2019.
IECE offered up expertise within additional show format arenas and held “Coffee Talk” session hosted by our Entrepreneur in Residence, Steve Abbott. The format allowed Abbott to directly engage with students and deliver a realistic picture of what it looks like to actually develop your business while pursuing your college degree.
Prior to the closing ceremony, CSUSB Theater Art & Improv. Professor, Johanna Smith delivered a highly anticipated “Improvisational Mind” workshop. This Theater Arts course for Entrepreneurship students demonstrates the unique value that CSUSB Entrepreneurship programs brings to its potential student body. The VE students who participated in the workshop had praise-worthy reviews!
“Prior to this experience, I was a big fan of theatre but I never thought that I was capable of doing anything to that degree of skill. I always thought of myself as slow-witted, so, I never really tried, but your workshop really brought me out of my comfort zone! I think this experience will definitely play into my approach to salesmanship from now on and I feel a lot more comfortable with impromptu speaking. Thank you a lot for taking time out of your day to make our stressful day a little less stressful!” -Vivian Le, VE Student.
“I wanted to express my gratitude to Johanna Smith for her amazing workshop. Coming into the workshop, I was not quite sure what to expect. However, I quickly caught on and was pleasantly surprised. The workshop pushed me to try things that I had never done before. I think that the workshop really brought to light a new side of me and allowed me to grow as a person. I really appreciate Ms. Smith taking her time to host the workshop and I hope that she is able to come again next year to help even more students.” – Ethan Nguyen, CEO of Ecocentric.
The event closing keynote presentation was delivered by Dr. Mike Stull, Director of IECE and academic professor of entrepreneurship. Dr. Stull gave a highly energized talk covering the “Top 5 Rookie Mistakes of Entrepreneurship.” Dr. Stull’s address was well received by the crowd of students. Closing out the event, Dr. Stull and VE California Regional Director Teri Jones presented the top awards to all of the winning students for various competitive categories, including the sponsored IECE Elevator Pitch Competition.
Students reaching the top prizes in their respective competitions will now move on to compete in the national Youth Business Summit, which is a one-of-a-kind global business convention for VE students, held in New York later this year.
Virtual Enterprises (VE) is an educational nonprofit, transforming students into business professionals by bringing the workplace into the classroom. Since its inception in 1996, VE has served over 140,000 students, including many from economically disadvantaged communities. VE’s team includes a community of educators, business leaders, and post-secondary partners who help guide their mission. They currently support over 15,000 students across 19 states each year, working with schools and districts to implement a year-long, credited class that provides students with an authentic, collaborative business, and entrepreneurship experience through its live global business simulation model. Learn more veinternational.org.
Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Hawaii Chamber as Honorary Global Member
Empowering Future Generations: IERCC and Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Forge Partnership for Youth Development
In a landmark meeting that signifies the growing collaboration between regional chambers of commerce, the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) proudly welcomed the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii as an Honorary Global Member. This momentous occasion was marked by a ceremonial presentation led by Eddy Sumar, MBA, CCE, CICE, a distinguished member and Chair of the Education and Youth Skills Development Liaison at IERCC.
Eddy Sumar, renowned for his passionate advocacy for youth education and skill development, met with Sherry Menor-McNamara, CCE, President & CEO, and Tyler Hunt, Associate Vice President of Membership Services, of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. The meeting was not just a formal presentation but also an opportunity to share the innovative approaches IERCC is employing to champion youth development.
In a unique and inspiring gesture, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii representatives were introduced to IERCC’s youth initiatives through a trilogy of educational books authored by Eddy Sumar himself. These books – “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS,” “The Hidden Dreams,” and “The Cutting Edge” – are a testament to Sumar’s dedication to empowering the youth. Each book addresses critical areas of youth development:
- “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS” provides wisdom to guide young lives.
- “The Hidden Dreams” unlocks the potential of identifying and pursuing youthful aspirations.
- “The Cutting Edge” offers vital insights into understanding credit and financial literacy.
Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, expressed his enthusiasm for this new partnership, stating, “This collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to foster the leaders of tomorrow. By combining our resources and expertise, we can more effectively prepare our youth for the dynamic world they will inherit. Our shared vision for youth development and education is the cornerstone of this partnership.”
The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii expressed its enthusiasm for the collaboration, recognizing the value of the resources provided by IERCC. This partnership is a significant step towards a shared goal of fostering a brighter future for youth through education, skill development, and empowerment.
The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce is enthusiastically developing plans to launch a summer internship program exclusively for students from the Inland Empire, offering them the opportunity to travel to Hawaii for this enriching experience. This initiative, which stems from the IERCC’s recent collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, is focused on providing Inland Empire students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse business and cultural environment of Hawaii. The program aims to equip these students with invaluable hands-on experience in various industries, enhancing their skills and broadening their perspectives. This visionary approach underscores the IERCC’s dedication to fostering the professional and personal growth of its youth, preparing them for successful careers in an increasingly interconnected world.
The IERCC is committed to continuing these collaborative efforts and looks forward to a fruitful and impactful partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, collectively striving to nurture the leaders of tomorrow.
Corona Factory Files Landmark Trade Secret Lawsuit in New Hampshire Federal Court
Leading Private Label Company Alleges Massive Data Breach by SGS North America, Inc., Threatening Millions in Investment and Profits
Amid a surge of corporate theft nationwide, U.S. Continental Marketing, Inc. has initiated trade secret litigation against SGS North America, Inc. alleging misappropriation of proprietary and confidential chemical formulations that may cost U.S. Continental millions of dollars.
The largest private label leather and fabric care company in the world, U.S. Continental operates out of a 100,000 square foot factory in Corona, California, and partners with popular footwear, fashion, and furniture brands such as Birkenstock, Timberland, and Michael Kors to develop a range of products. The company provides commercial packaging solutions as well.
In its complaint filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, U.S. Continental alleges that earlier this year, it spent millions to develop five unique and secret chemical formulations for an unnamed customer for use on branded textiles. Those formulas were sent to SGS North America for independent testing. David Williams, U.S. Continental’s President, explains, “Leading up to its testing, we made very clear to SGS that the confidentiality of any and all information about our formulations was critical. Third parties, and even our customers, could not be privy to our proprietary data and SGS knew that.”
Williams added, “To put a finer point on the sensitivity of the formulations in question, we negotiated an ironclad NDA with SGS, which it signed, promising not to disclose confidential information related to our formulations to anyone without written approval.”
U.S. Continental’s complaint alleges that despite its assurances, SGS twice sent detailed, unredacted testing reports directly to the customer in August, revealing specifics about the chemical formulations SGS promised to keep under wraps.
According to Williams, “By virtue of SGS’s indiscretion, which one of its Vice Presidents cavalierly claimed was a ‘mistake,’ our customer was sent all the information it needed to manufacture essential chemical formulations on its own. That puts at risk the $2 million we invested in R&D, along with another $20 million or so in profits from our manufacturing agreement with the customer. It only gets worse from there if SGS discloses our proprietary information—which it refuses to return—to any others.”
Jeffrey Farrow, a partner at Michelman & Robinson, LLP, which represents U.S. Continental along with local counsel in New Hampshire, says, “It’s beyond crucial that trade secrets, like my client’s chemical formulations, be carefully safeguarded. By failing to do so, SGS breached its NDA—a breach that continues given that the data at issue has yet to be returned despite multiple requests from U.S. Continental. This is simply unacceptable and through this lawsuit, we want SGS to know that its unlawful disclosure of trade secrets, and unlawful retention of them, won’t go unchecked.”
The lawsuit is currently pending and U.S. Continental is awaiting a response from SGS.
Alibaba.com Partners with Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce to Launch California Pavilion
In a landmark initiative, Alibaba.com, a global leader in e-commerce, has announced a strategic partnership with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) to bolster business opportunities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in California. This historic collaboration is set to unveil the California Pavilion on Alibaba.com, a pioneering platform promoting the “Made in California” brand to a global audience.
Join us for a special event where Mattia Miglio, Director of North America Business Development at Alibaba.com, will introduce the California Pavilion alongside representatives from the IERCC. This digital hub is the first of its kind, designed to connect California’s SMEs with international buyers, importers, and distributors, marking a significant milestone in global business expansion.
This initiative sees the convergence of several key trade associations including the California Trade Alliance, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Valley Industry & Commerce Association, all coming together to transform the SME landscape in California.
As part of the California Pavilion, members will receive an exclusive membership package offering numerous benefits designed to elevate businesses to new heights. This initiative not only supports business growth but also aligns with Alibaba’s vision of empowering SMEs in the global market.
The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce stands as a pivotal partner in this venture. Known for its innovative approaches and customized support for businesses, the IERCC plays a crucial role in guiding enterprises in the Inland Empire, from startups to established companies.
“We are thrilled to partner with Alibaba.com in this groundbreaking initiative. The California Pavilion is more than just a digital platform; it’s a beacon of opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises across California. This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to empowering local businesses, giving them the tools and exposure they need to thrive in the global marketplace. We believe that through this partnership, we can elevate the ‘Made in California’ brand to new heights and open doors for unprecedented growth and success for our members”, stated Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the IE Chamber.
We invite businesses to explore the advantages of joining the California Pavilion. Learn how this platform can revolutionize your business prospects and connect you with the global market.
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