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Funding will help Hispanic, African American and other diverse small business owners create new jobs and grow across the Inland Empire

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Riverside, Calif – Oct. 28, 2019 – Wells Fargo announced a new boost to diverse small businesses today with a $300,000 grant to Accion, focusing on expanding access to capital for Hispanic, African-American and other diverse small business owners across San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Accion Serving Southern California is a member of Accion – a nationwide nonprofit micro-lender network dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs with accessible funding and other financial resources. Wells Fargo’s funding will help support Accion programs and services including its successful Rapid Loan product which offers small businesses up to $8,000 in funding in as few as three days.

The grant is part of the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program, which offers capital and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses as a way to create local jobs and strengthen neighborhoods. Accion is also a 2017 DCC grant recipient and since then has served more than 500 diverse business owners in four Southern California counties (Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego) through more than $8 million in loans.

“Wells Fargo has been one of Accion’s largest financial supporters since we started in San Diego in 1994,” stated Accion CEO Elizabeth Schott. “We are thrilled to receive this funding to expand our lending program and serve more diverse entrepreneurs that need access to affordable lending products. This grant highlights the need for both technical assistance and funding to grow small businesses.”

This grant will go toward helping Accion clients like Eduardo Corona, owner of commercial trucking company Road Bear located in Riverside. Corona received $38,000 in loans from Accion which served as working capital to help purchase his own truck. Since receiving his loan, Corona has been able to increase his income by more than 40%, allowing him to grow his business and better provide for his family of six – further demonstrating the effectiveness of pairing financing with an individualized technical assistance plan, which Accion provides.

“Accion is deeply embedded in the community and has the skill to deliver personalized coaching and services to underserved small business owners,” said Joe Mishriki, North County Inland region bank president. “Together we can help more diverse entrepreneurs reach their full potential and stimulate job creation in the process. We’ve learned that working with CDFIs is an effective way to try new things, help remove barriers and put more small businesses on a path to financial success.”

As part of its new philanthropic strategy announced in June, Wells Fargo is focusing on three societal challenges: housing affordability, small business growth and financial health. The Diverse Community Capital program is a critical component to the small business strategy and supports business owners who are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Pacific Islander, Asian-American, women, veterans, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.

Launched in 2015, the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program is a collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). According to OFN’s latest report, DCC awardees have already made loans to more than 16,000 diverse small businesses across 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In addition, grant funding has provided for more than 322,000 hours of development services for over 49,000 diverse small business owners. Wells Fargo is on track to invest more than $175 million in diverse small businesses growth through 2020.

To honor the occasion, Wells Fargo and Accion hosted an open house event at Accion-funded business Cali Coast Barbershop in Lemon Grove, Calif. Wells Fargo representatives, Accion staff and clients and community leaders gathered for a community conversation to discuss the importance of investing in diverse small businesses. The event included catering from Tamales Jovita, another Accion-funded business that has benefited from Wells Fargo’s support through this grant. Assemblymember Shirley Weber was also in attendance.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,700 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 33 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 262,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2019 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

About Accion

Accion is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs by providing business support and access to capital in Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. By providing loans ranging from $300 to $75,000, it creates opportunity for increased income, economic stability and employment. For more information or to contact the San Diego office, visit the Accion website or call 619-795-7250.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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San Bernardino’s Chem-Pak Ushers in New Era: A Legacy Continues with Fresh Leadership

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Under new ownership by Eric L. Goodman, San Bernardino’s long-standing Chem-Pak embarks on an expansive journey, building upon its 36-year legacy of community and industry service.

Terry Goodman, owner of Chem-Pak, recently announced his retirement, marking the end of a remarkable journey in the industrial supply industry. Starting as a one-man operation 36 years ago, Goodman transformed Chem-Pak into a business with multiple offices and approximately 15 employees.

In the late 1980s, Goodman was a sales representative for Easterday Janitorial Supply Company near Norton Air Force Base. When the company shut down its San Bernardino office, Goodman, a Highland resident, opted to start his venture rather than commute to Los Angeles. He sought support from his customers, laying the foundation for what Chem-Pak is today.

“I never aspired to have numerous employees. My goal was to build a team that enjoyed a good living without feeling drained at day’s end,” Goodman explained. “Having experienced ‘Corporate America,’ where successful territories are often split to limit earnings or, conversely, underperformers are let go, I wanted to follow a different path.”

Many of Chem-Pak’s team members have been with the company for 20 to 30 years, a testament to the familial and collaborative environment Goodman cultivated. “I’ve always viewed my team not just as employees but as equal partners in this journey. There’s nothing in this company that I haven’t done myself. When a few team members were out with COVID recently, I didn’t hesitate to help with deliveries. Our customers’ needs come first,” he said.

Pablo Carbajal, manager of the San Bernardino store for 22 years, shares his commitment to Chem-Pak. “Despite numerous job offers over the years, this is where I belong. Goodman’s mentorship taught me everything from equipment knowledge to customer service, shaping my understanding of the business world,” Carbajal expressed.

Richard Bowman, a contract employee for about 30 years, also praised the company’s ethos. “Working for Chem-Pak has been empowering. It’s akin to finding a golden opportunity.”

Goodman recalls landing major accounts, including Carl’s Jr. and Stater Bros, as career highlights. However, the COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges. “During the pandemic, our business boomed, particularly for hand sanitizer and toilet paper. We had to adapt quickly to the surging demand and the evolving ‘new normal’ of a post-pandemic economy,” he recounted.

Goodman’s work ethic dates back to his teenage years, starting with a part-time job at a gas station and later at McMahan’s furniture warehouse. He emphasizes the importance of networking and real-world experience for young people. “I often speak at career days in San Bernardino schools to offer students firsthand insights into the workforce, beyond what they hear from peers or parents,” he said.

Looking forward, Goodman plans to travel and engage in volunteer work, confident in leaving Chem-Pak in capable hands with family members and experienced employees at the helm.

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Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Hawaii Chamber as Honorary Global Member

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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.

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Corona Factory Files Landmark Trade Secret Lawsuit in New Hampshire Federal Court

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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.

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