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About Microenterprise Collaborative

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About Microenterprise Collaborative

MicroEnterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California consists of a diverse coalition of community leaders dedicated to improving small business development in Riverside and San Bernardino counties and eastern Los Angeles county.

Over 700 banks, Chambers of Commerce, business associations, and nonprofits as well as universities and community college business departments, business programs, services, microlenders, and city and county agencies understand the importance of successful small businesses for the economy of the region and have signed on to become partners of MicroEnterprise Collaborative.

Micro-businesses—those with fewer than five employees—comprise 90 percent of all businesses and provide 23 percent of all jobs. These smallest of businesses create income for business owners and their families and well-paying jobs within the region. However, micro-business owners need the information, expertise, and capital to grow and succeed.

To assist them, small business service providers and microlenders provide training, counseling, and microloans and rely on our partners to refer small business owners who need their help. The purpose of the MicroEnterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California is to create and sustain business and jobs through micro-business development.

Our Mission Statement

The purpose of the Microenterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California is to create and grow sustainable small businesses and job development by supporting micro business development agencies.

WORKING TOGETHER TO STRENGTHEN MICRO-BUSINESSES IN INLAND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

  • $34M +

    Provided in Capital to Local Businesses

  • 20,000 +

    Jobs Created or Supported

  • 11,000 +

    Individuals Trained in Management Skills

  • 700 +

    Partners in our Collaborative

Background

In 2011, following an FDIC listening session, the Microenterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California (MECISC) was launched by a group of community leaders in Riverside, CA. These stakeholders discussed what was needed to improve the field of microenterprise development in the Inland Empire. They were concerned about conditions in the region that prevented small businesses and micro-businesses from starting or thriving including:

  • Small business owners and microentrepreneurs regularly failing to secure traditional financing for reasons such as lack of financial knowledge or insufficient sales or equity

  • Bankers, Chambers of Commerce, and nonprofits working with low-income and moderate-income individuals being unaware of available resources to help their clients or members

  • Small businesses and microentrepreneurs being unaware of available programs and services through microenterprise programs

  • Nonbank microlenders and nonprofit microenterprise programs struggling to secure financial resources to do outreach to the community and deliver training, technical assistance, and loans

To address these issues, MicroEnterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California was formed. Bank of America provided seed funding, and in 2014 Project Manager Catherine Marshall, an expert in the field of microenterprise development and a specialist in coalition-building, was brought on board. In 2022 Catherine Marshal retired and we hired our first Executive Director, Pamela Deans, an expert in the field of Workforce Development and a specialist in Small Business Entrepreneurship.

Today MicroEnterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California has grown to a network of over 700 partners. It has also provided a number of public education events, fostered collaboration, and built the capacity of service providers to meet growing demand. All of this has resulted in an increase in the number of small business owners using services and acquiring loan capital to grow their businesses.

OUR TEAM

The Microenterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California is led by an Executive Director and a Board of Directors representing financial institutions, nonprofits, small business programs, and microlenders who are dedicated to improving small business development in inland Southern California.

Board of Directors

Executive Director

Pamela Deans has been at the helm of the Microenterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California as the Executive Director since January 2022. Her extensive background boasts years of dedicated leadership in the Job Training and Workforce Development Field. She currently serves as a member of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board's Economic Development Business Resource Committee (SB WDB EDBRC). Moreover, she takes the helm as the Chair of the Business and Community Leaders Outreach Committee for Thrive Inland SoCal, also known as the California CERF (Community Economic Resilience Fund) Initiative.

Prior to her pivotal role at the Collaborative, she served as the Center Director for the Center for Employment Training (CET) in Colton, CA for over seven years. Her leadership consistently propelled the center to rank among the top-performing centers. CET, an esteemed Technical Training School for adults, was founded in 1967 in conjunction with UFW Leader Cesar Chavez to provide job training services to Farmworkers. During her tenure, she held full responsibility for the center's operations, orchestrating program development across human resources, curriculum design, program diversification, enrollment management, job placement, and, notably, ensuring students' overall success.

Notably, Pamela's tenacity and expertise facilitated the securement of significant grants from esteemed organizations, including coveted Federal Funding, such as the Department of Labor grant for $1 million, which provided full scholarships for women through the WANTO (Women in Apprenticeships and Non-Traditional Occupations) program. Her achievements at CET include introducing innovative programs, such as the Apprenticeship Readiness program, developed in collaboration with the North American Building Trades Union (NABTU). She was also a fervent advocate for women's empowerment in the trades, exemplified by her initiatives like "Weld-Like-a-Girl" and "Green-is-the-NEW-Pink."

Pamela’s dedication to women's professional development has remained steadfast throughout her esteemed career, being a member of NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) and NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). Further contributing to her impressive professional journey, she served as an elected secretary for SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) in the Inland Empire and has consistently participated in various committees focused on enhancing the quality of life in the Inland Empire.

Before her impactful journey in job development, Pamela's career embarked in the travel industry. She served as an Instructor for the International Air Academy for a remarkable 14 years, playing a crucial role in hundreds of individuals realizing their dreams of becoming flight attendants and working within the airline industry. Furthermore, she held leadership and training positions with esteemed organizations such as American Airlines and American Express Travel. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Pamela also owned and operated her own travel agency, amassing global travel experiences that have only deepened her appreciation for the Inland Empire, which she proudly calls her home.

Pamela Deans: Executive Director of Microenterprise Collaborative
Pamela Deans
Executive Director
Microenterprise Collaborative in Inland Southern California