The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at California State University, San Bernardino has been awarded $1.59 million in new funding to support local entrepreneurs and small business owners as part of the federal CARES Act economic relief package. 

The CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries.

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are vital to our local economy and they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Stull, lead academic professor and director of the IECE. “This is an important investment to assist them during this critical time and is integral to the economic recovery of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. As the Inland Empire’s leader in providing support to entrepreneurs, we are looking forward to assisting even more business owners in the community.”

The IECE, located in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, delivers innovative programs and educational resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners through a broad range of community and campus programs. As the leading entrepreneurial support organization in the Inland Empire, the IECE is also one of the largest University-based Entrepreneurship Centers in the world and has been recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) as a Top 35 program for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.  

The CARES Act funding, provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support IECE’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Women’s Business Center (WBC) programs, will enable the center to deliver additional counseling, mentoring, training services and special programs that will assist local small business owners in navigating through the COVID-19 crisis. 

Both the SBDC and WBC programs, which operate from full-time offices in Colton, Ontario, Palm Desert, Riverside and 10 part-time offices throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties, have a long history of delivering free business counseling, mentoring and training to existing and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs. Collectively, the programs have provided support to over 10,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs in 2020.

“The IESBDC will be working closely with local partners to provide Riverside and San Bernardino county small businesses that have experienced supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges, a decrease in gross receipts or customers, with greater access to education, training, and business advising. These expanded services will include virtual, on-demand, and in-person expertise to be delivered based on the needs of our business community over the next 18 months,” said Paul Nolta, interim director of the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (IESBDC).

About the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE)

Established in 1999, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship supports and celebrates entrepreneurship and small business through innovative programs and educational resources. IECE is based at the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration at CSUSB and 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.

In the local community, IECE offers existing and aspiring entrepreneurs a wide array of business advisory, mentoring services and entrepreneurial training programs that help them achieve greater levels of success in their business ventures. The top service segments of IECE are the CSUSB Entrepreneurship program (both San Bernardino and Palm Desert campuses), the Women’s Business Centers ( (, the Small Business Development Centers (IESBDC) ( and the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) (

To learn more about IECE and all of the programs available, visit