Inland Empire higher ed gets boost from OC economic development nonprofit

The schools, which are associated with the corporation through business and collaborative relationships, are the recipients of additional funds the corporation had at its disposal.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three higher education institutions in Southern California’s Inland Empire are getting a much-needed financial boost this year thanks to an economic development nonprofit in Orange County.

On Feb. 10, the Small Business Development Corporation of Orange County awarded a total $20,000 in grants to the following educational institutions:

• Crafton Hills Community College Foundation in Yucaipa

• Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University in Riverside

• Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, California State University, San Bernardino


Crafton Hills College Foundation received $5,000 to fund scholarships for business majors. The Cal State San Bernardino marketing department received $5,000 to help its students attend the 2017 American Marketing Association International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans in March. And La Sierra’s business school received $10,000 to support its student entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship programs.

The small business development corporation typically works with banks and various types of businesses. The schools, which are associated with the corporation through business and collaborative relationships, are the recipients of additional funds the corporation had at its disposal.

“Because of our public mission, when we have surplus funds, we distribute those funds to benefit the community,” said the corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Ocasio. “And as a nonprofit, we support other nonprofits with a community-focused mission.”

Crafton Hills serves more than 5,800 students from a region where the poverty and unemployment rates exceed the state average, the college stated in its funding request. “We are extremely proud to be the pathway to social and economic advancement for many who would otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue a college education,” the college said.

Cal State San Bernardino serves a student body that is more than 70 percent Hispanic. Additionally, the university stated that 85 percent of its graduates remain in the region to begin careers and families. The AMA conference “provides students opportunities to enhance their professional development, receive cutting edge career advice, get recognized, network and connect with like-minded individuals,” the marketing department said in its grant request.

La Sierra’s student innovators participate in the school’s award-winning Enactus team and pursue entrepreneurial ventures through the business incubator program to start new companies. The university has garnered national and regional recognition for the diversity of its campus and the value of its education.

The SBDC of Orange County helps a wide range of small businesses and nonprofits secure access to capital, grow their organizations and create jobs. Clients include automotive and construction companies, manufacturers, arts organizations and redevelopment projects.

During its 2015-16 fiscal year, SBDC of Orange County issued a record $33.2 million in credit guarantees which supported $54.2 million in bank lending. This represents a total financing package of $116.5 million with 3,399 jobs created or retained. Thirty-three percent of credit guarantees issued were to women and minority small business owners.



SBDC of Orange County ( is a quasi-public/private 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public benefit corporation, which operates under the state’s public municipal bank, The California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (iBank). SBDC of Orange County is not affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The corporation, established in 2001, is a mission driven organization dedicated to assisting small business owners secure operating capital through its capital access programs including California’s State Loan Guarantee Program, Export Lines of Credit, bond conduit and Green Energy Initiatives to support small business access to credit.