Supporting Small Businesses

Supporting Small Businesses
Posted on May 24, 2023

Supporting Small Businesses: San Bernardino's Training & Grant Program Empowers Growth and Resilience

In San Bernardino, small businesses play a pivotal role in driving the local economy, creating job opportunities, and fostering innovation. Recognizing the profound impact of the pandemic on these vital enterprises, the City of San Bernardino and the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have joined forces to launch the Small Business and Non-Profit Training and Grant Program. As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), this program aims to provide essential support to small businesses and non-profit organizations that have been severely affected by the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. By participating in the Small Business and Non-Profit Training and Grant Program, both businesses and individuals have the unique opportunity to make a tangible difference in their communities by supporting local entrepreneurs and organizations on their journey towards recovery and growth.

“Post-pandemic operations have pushed businesses and non-profits to adapt,” said Amanda Hernandez, Economic Development Manager for the City of San Bernardino. “We wanted to ensure businesses and non-profits could utilize free training and resources to develop new tools for growth and success.”

In celebration of National Small Business Month, we are spotlighting three recipients of the Small Business and Non-Profit Training and Grant, who are using the program to grow their business and serve the community.

Rose Apple Thai Cuisine

Among the many recipients of this program, Rose Apple Thai Cuisine stands as a shining example of how the grant has had a profound impact on a local business and its community. Rose Apple Thai Cuisine is a beloved Thai restaurant that has been serving authentic flavors and warm hospitality since 2009.

The Small Business and Non-Profit Training and Grant Program awarded Rose Apple Thai Cuisine with funds that would be allocated towards several vital aspects of the business. Panisa Kanonrangsi, owner of Rose Apple Thai Cuisine, emphasized that the timing of the grant program was crucial. The restaurant had been grappling with fixed costs such as rent increases, while experiencing a decline in sales revenues.

"We plan to utilize the grant for various essential areas, such as rent, inventory, utilities, and payroll," Kanonrangsi revealed. These funds would directly contribute to stabilizing the business's financial foundation, allowing it to continue providing exceptional service and quality to its loyal customers.

 Dr. Ahmed M. Naji Dental Office

Dr. Ahmed Naji, DDS, and his team at his San Bernardino dental office first learned about the Small Business and Non-Profit Training and Grant Program through a forwarded email. Initially, they were intrigued but skeptical, as the grant seemed almost too good to be true. Nevertheless, Dr. Naji recognized the value of the marketing and online presence courses offered by the program.

"The marketing and online presence courses were worth it," said Dr. Naji. The knowledge gained through these courses has equipped the dental office with the tools and strategies necessary to enhance their brand visibility and engage with their patients in more meaningful ways.

The grant funds awarded to the Dr. Ahmed M. Naji Dental Office will be allocated towards vital areas of the business that have been long overdue for improvement. Dr. Naji shared, "The grant money will be used for office expenses like rent, payroll, and much-needed office improvements."

Dr. Naji ARPA Award

Inland Empire Rebound

Inland Empire Rebound is a non-profit providing evidence-based services that prevents crime, facilitates reentry, and reduces recidivism of youth and adults in the criminal justice system. Owner and founder Owen Duckworth first learned about the program through an email announcement. Recognizing the potential benefits, the organization's key staff members reviewed the program's details and engaged in discussions to assess the feasibility and alignment with their goals.

The grant from the City of San Bernardino will play a pivotal role in easing Inland Empire Rebound’s current overhead costs, such as rent and utilities. Additionally, the grant will provide a boost to the organization's workforce. "We will be able to kick start new positions and expand existing ones," Duckworth shared. The grant will enable much-needed technological upgrades, empowering the organization to operate more efficiently and effectively in an increasingly digital world.

IE Rebound ARPA Award

Celebrating National Small Business Month

National Small Business Month serves as a timely reminder of the invaluable contributions made by small businesses to our economy and job market. By rallying behind these enterprises and providing them with the necessary support, the City aims to foster growth and empower the San Bernardino community.

More resources for small businesses and non-profits can be found on the City’s website at