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San Bernardino County and Mastercard Launch New Microbusiness COVID-19 Grant Relief Program



In recent news, San Bernardino County and Mastercard announced a new Microbusiness COVID-19 Grant Relief Program to award eligible businesses with less than five employees with a $2,500 award to help offset the negative business impacts from the pandemic. To disburse the funds, San Bernardino County is leveraging its membership with the City Possible network, a partnership model pioneered by Mastercard to address urban challenges and inequalities. The network has grown from 16 founding members in 2018 to more than 325 city members and candidate cities globally. 

Supporting small business owners is a continued priority for Mastercard, which pledged to bring 50 million small businesses, including 25 million women-owned businesses, into the digital economy by 2025. In San Bernardino County, 45 percent of local businesses have five employees or less, with 10 percent of those businesses being minority-owned. Many of these businesses were severely impacted due to the closures and restrictions from COVID-19.

Starting February 28, 2022 eligible businesses and non-profits can apply for a $2,500 grant towards qualified expenses such as the purchase of new equipment, investment in working capital, renewal of local permits, payment of business debt accrued during the pandemic, and costs resulting from COVID-19 pandemic and related health and safety restrictions or business interruptions as well as closures.

“Microbusinesses were especially hard hit because of forced COVID-related closures and restrictions. These businesses are more often founded by women, minorities and veterans. Many times, these are entrepreneurs who are just starting out or seeking an opportunity to gain market share and then suffered substantial economic losses due to the pandemic. San Bernardino County is enthusiastic about an opportunity to help support these start-ups and small business owners to move forward and continue to thrive in our region,” said Chairman Curt Hagman, Fourth District.

“Creating an ecosystem in which small and micro businesses are well-positioned to succeed is an essential part of the economic health of cities as we recover from the pandemic, and a major focus of the City Possible global network,” said Miguel Gamiño, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships and Head of Global Cities and City Possible at Mastercard. “The Microbusiness Grant Relief program will be crucial to ensuring the long-term sustainability and inclusive recovery of micro-businesses in San Bernardino County for generations to come.”

San Bernardino County will work in collaboration with its marketing partners to reach micro businesses to ensure they are aware of this program. Marketing partners include: Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship; Inland Council 4 Immigrant Justice; Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce; Inland Empire Black Chamber of Commerce; Small Business Majority Inland Empire; Uplift San Bernardino; Asian Business Association Inland Empire; and the Small Business Development Center Inland Empire.

Qualified microbusinesses will be:

  • An entity that meets and self certifies that it began operation prior to December 31, 2019
  • Currently active or has a clear plan to reopen
  • Was significantly impacted by COVID-19 due to closure
  • Had less than $50,000 in revenues in 2019
  • The business currently has fewer than five full-time employees in 2019 and 2020

Usio, a Mastercard program partner, and AmPac Business Capital, will process applications and payments directly to eligible businesses through prepaid debit cards. San Bernardino County’s Economic Development Department is a member of City Possible, a partnership and co-creation ecosystem pioneered by Mastercard that brings cities, companies and communities together to identify common challenges and co-develop solutions that advance inclusive and sustainable urban development.

To apply, businesses can go to Applications will be processed based upon receipt of completed application and eligibility requirements. For more information and to access frequently asked questions, please go to  

*Source: Grant requirements set by the State of California


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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Bizz Buzz

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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