Longtime Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards VIP sponsor, City National Bank, has elevated their support in 2020 as the Premier sponsor of the annual event.

The Spirit Awards, now in its 18th year, has adapted the show program from a live event with more than 1,000 attendees into a televised broadcast in order to continue the tradition of supporting and celebrating local entrepreneurs of Inland Southern California. Over the years, the Spirit Awards has grown to be known by participants as the “Oscars of Business” and has continuously recognized the top innovators and entrepreneurs for the past 18 years.

City National Bank saw an opportunity to elevate their support for this unique delivery of the very first televised program format in Spirit Awards history, at the same time supporting and honoring those entrepreneurs that have given so much in the face of the pandemic.

“We want to continuously support regional companies that are driven by entrepreneurial spirit,” said Cary Wanner, senior vice president and area manager at City National Bank. “City National aims to provide world-class banking services and that starts by focusing on growing strong business relationships. As the 2020 Premier sponsor of the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards, I can’t think of a better time to recognize these innovative entrepreneurs and celebrate them center stage!”

The 2020 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Award will be televised on Saturday, Nov. 21,  from 7-8 p.m. PST on KSCI Channel 18. The program format will include the presentation of the COVID Hero and COVID Innovator Entrepreneur Awards to recognize those entrepreneurs that have survived, thrived and played a key role in helping the community adapt and overcome the coronavirus pandemic through their direct efforts.

The 2020 Spirit of the Entrepreneur program features:

Janice Bryant Howroyd
Janice Bryant Howroyd

Mistress of Ceremonies – Janice Bryant Howroyd

The Spirit Awards televised program will feature Janice Bryant Howroyd, the founder and chief executive officer of The ActOne Group, as the distinguished Mistress of Ceremonies. She is currently No. 39 on Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. In 2014, Howroyd was recognized by Black Enterprise as the first black woman to own and operate a billion‐dollar company. She was BET’s first-ever BET Honors Entrepreneur of the Year and has received Black Enterprise’s Business of the Year award. In 2013, she was appointed a USA Ambassador of Energy at the White House.

She operates by the mantra, “Never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally.”

“Janice’s quality of character as an individual, ownership mindset and driving success as an entrepreneur certainly aligns and elevates all that the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards aims to honor and celebrate! Janice most definitely graces the stage with her effervescent spirit of entrepreneurship!” said Mike Stull, founder and executive producer of the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards.

Featured Entertainment – Vintage Trouble

The Spirit Awards’ featured entertainment is one of rock n’ roll’s best kept secrets – the Los Angeles-based quartet, Vintage Trouble, presented by City National Bank. They have appeared in more than 3,000 shows across 30 countries. Their distilling swaggering rock, soulful blues grooves, and pop ambition delivers a bold and brash brew of infectious music. The quartet — Ty Taylor (vocals), Nalle Colt (guitar), Rick Barrio Dill (bass), and Richard Danielson (drums) — have been on tour with music industry legends such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Lenny Kravitz and Bon Jovi.

Along the way, they also performed on Later… with Jools Holland, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Conan, The View, and The Tonight Show (four times in one year) in addition to receiving acclaim from New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and more. All with a trio of albums under their collective belt.

“They bring immense talent and spirit you can feel right through the screen,” said Stacey Allis, co-producer of the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards. “We are more than delighted to support local talent as they certainly know how to deliver inspiration!”


The Spirit of the Entrepreneur will unveil the 2020 COVID Hero and COVID Innovator Awards. Drawn from nearly 200 nominations and determined by an external panel of judges representing past Spirit Award recipients, the COVID Hero and COVID Innovator Awards seek to honor and recognize those entrepreneurs that have significantly insighted change and/or community support and business growth in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. The finalists:


  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire, Jennifer O'Farrell – Riverside
  • C.H.A.N.T. Training Academy/ G.S.M. Management & Consulting LLC, Vincent Garrett – Rancho Cucamonga
  • RPP Products, Inc., Eric Zwigart – Bloomington
  • SoCal Face Shields for Frontline Workers, Zubin and Tenzing Carvalho – Hemet


  • Another Brilliant Idea, Inc. - Brilliant Mobile Messaging, Mary Barnett – Corona
  • Inland SoCal United Way, Lisa Wright – Rancho Cucamonga
  • Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce, Patrick Ellis – Murrieta
  • Victor Valley Rescue Mission, Bill Edwards – Victorville

The Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition
One of the most beloved features of the Spirit Awards is the Student Fast Pitch Competition. This year the program has three finalists competing for prize money for the 2020 Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition in which college students have 90 seconds to present their winning idea. The top pitch is chosen from a panel of judges for the quality of their pitch and the attractiveness of their business concept.

This year marks 18 years of celebrating The Spirit of the Entrepreneur. Join us this November for a memorable televised broadcast filled with inspiration and innovation at this black-tie gala as we celebrate the top business innovators of Inland Southern California.

For more information, including broadcast and rebroadcast information visit the Spirit of the Entrepreneur website.

About the Spirit of the Entrepreneur event founder – The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE)
The Spirit of the Entrepreneur awards was founded by Mike Stull, director of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) that is located in the Jack H. Brown College of Business & Public Administration on the beautiful campus of Cal State San Bernardino.

The Spirit of the Entrepreneur stage banner

About the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship 

Established in 1999, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) supports and celebrates entrepreneurship and small business through innovative programs and educational resources. IECE is based at the Jack H. Brown College of Business & Public Administration at the CSUSB School of Entrepreneurship and coordinates academic support programs that lead to business degrees in entrepreneurship for undergraduate and graduate students as well as delivering experiential learning and student support programs.

Most recently, IECE was recognized internationally by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and received the Entrepreneurship Spotlight Challenge award for demonstrating leadership in creating (and incubating) cutting-edge business innovations through enriched student learning and experiential education, which ranked them among the top 35 entrepreneurship programs globally.

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 (IEWBC.org) (CVWBC.org), the Small Business Development Centers (IESBDC) (IEsmallbusiness.com) and the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) (californiaexport.org).

To learn more about IECE and all of the programs available visit, entre.csusb.edu.

About City National Bank

With $70.3 billion in assets, City National Bank provides banking, investment, and trust services through locations in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and Miami*. In addition, the company and its investment affiliates manage or administer $81.3 billion in client investment assets. City National is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC serves more than 17 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the United States and 34 other countries. 
For more information about City National, visit the company’s website at CNB.com.
*City National Bank does business in Miami and the state of Florida as CN Bank.