Downtown Entrepreneurial Resource Center Opens

New Entrepreneurial Resource Center in Downtown San Bernardino Opens
Posted on Nov 05, 2023

New Entrepreneurial Resource Center
in Downtown San Bernardino Opens

 Entrepreneurial Resource Center (ERC), a partnership between the City of San Bernardino and California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, November 2nd with a ribbon cutting event attended by leaders from the City and CSUSB, as well as over 100 local and regional business and community leaders. San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran, along with City Council Members Ben Reynoso and Kimberly Calvin joined CSUSB President Tomas Morales, Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship Director Mike Stull, and Silva Harapetian, owner of Studio D to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Led by CSUSB’s Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE), the ERC will be an easily accessible hub for small business services, centrally located in downtown San Bernardino at Studio D, a newly established co-working and business hub for entrepreneurs located at 330 North D Street.

The ERC will bring together a wide range of entrepreneurial support programs and organizations to provide a complete set of training, business counseling, and access to resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs in the City. The programs at the ERC will be available to existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners from the San Bernardino area to help them launch and grow their businesses.

"The Entrepreneurial Resource Center is more than just a building," said San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran. "This center represents the City and CSUSB's commitment to fostering innovation, supporting entrepreneurism and driving economic vitality in our community. It's a place where ideas will flourish, businesses will thrive, and partnerships will be forged."

“The new center will improve access to resources for all aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, increase the rate of business creation, and foster greater success and long-term sustainability for local small businesses,” said Mike Stull, a professor of entrepreneurship and director of the IECE and the CSUSB School of Entrepreneurship. “The ERC will also seek to address disparities in small business ownership and entrepreneurship through a deliberate focus and outreach to underrepresented groups in the City.”

Each partner is making a significant commitment to ensure the success of the ERC, including the City of San Bernardino investing of $1.87 million over three years, and the IECE investing $1.9 million of resources through its major business assistance programs including the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (IESBDC) and Inland Empire Women’s Business Center (IEWBC).

The ERC grew out of the City and the University’s participation in the Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program’s City Action Lab, a unique initiative that focuses on Latino majority cities and communities to strengthen local entrepreneurial ecosystems. San Bernardino was one of six cities in the nation chosen to participate in the program, which focuses on generating long-term, inclusive economic growth through business ownership.

Out of the City-University partnership with the Aspen Institute, the ERC emerged as one of the ways CSUSB, as an anchor institution in the region, could strategically work with the City to assist local businesses. 

“The creation of the Entrepreneurial Resource Center stands as a testament to the unwavering partnership between California State University, San Bernardino and the City of San Bernardino,” said Tomás D. Morales, president of the university. “The ERC will serve as a beacon of opportunity, a hub of creativity, and a catalyst for economic growth, providing budding entrepreneurs the resources and support they need to turn their visions into reality. Together, we embrace the spirit of innovation, resilience, and inclusivity, confident that this center will unleash the potential of our community and drive us towards a brighter, more prosperous future.”

“I applaud the City of San Bernardino and CSUSB’s strategic alliance – the Entrepreneurial Resource Center. This is a game changer for the San Bernardino small businesses ecosystem,” said Domenika Lynch, vice president of the Aspen Institute and executive director of the institute’s Latinos & Society Program. “The ERC will consolidate business support resources in a one-stop shop and increase opportunities for innovation and access to capital necessary to start and scale small business. I am delighted that the Aspen Institute’s City Action Lab could help catalyze this endeavor.”

“The ERC is just the beginning of an integrated effort with the University, the City and other stakeholders to revitalize San Bernardino’s downtown,” said Robert Nava, CSUSB vice president of University Advancement. “Bringing the university’s academic capital in the form of services, such as those provided by IECE, from the campus to downtown will not only be a catalyst of activity for the City’s core, but also a driving force to move the community forward.”

The IECE, housed at the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration at CSUSB, is one of the largest university-based centers in the world and has a 20-plus year track record of providing business assistance programs, having served more than 173,000 business owners and achieving an economic impact of more than $534 million.