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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.


  • $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


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.


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

Ms. Deans joins the Collaborative with over fourteen years’ management experience in the Job Training and Workforce Development Field. Under her recent seven-year leadership as Center Director for the Center for Employment Training (CET), the center ranked consistently among the top performing centers. She was responsible for the center operations, program development including human resources, curriculum, program offerings, enrollment, placement, and overall student success during her tenure.

Pamela’s nonprofit career experience has given her the opportunity to secure renewing grants from organizations like Edison, Inland Empire United Way, and Wells Fargo, along with many other organizations which helped numerous adult students achieve vocational training and improve their employment outlook in the Inland Empire overall.

She brought new programming to CET including an Apprenticeship Readiness program to CET, developed by NABTU (North American Building Trades Union), and women’s empowerment programs such as “Weld-Like-a-Girl” and “Green-is-the-NEW-Pink.” She also secured a Dept. of Labor grant for full scholarships for women called WANTO (Women in Apprenticeships and Non-Traditional Occupations).

She has been a member of NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) and an advocate for women’s professional development throughout her career.

Prior to her leadership roles in job development, Pam Deans worked in the travel industry as an instructor, helping hundreds become flight attendants and ticket agents. She also worked in both leadership and training roles for American Airlines, American Express Travel, Carlson Wagon-Lit Travel. In addition, she owned and operated her own travel agency for over fourteen years. She has traveled the world over and chooses the Inland Empire as her home.

Pamela has served as elected secretary for SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) of the Inland Empire and consistently has served on various committees to improve the quality of life in the Inland Empire.

Ms. Deans is the mother of two children, a daughter who graduated from Cal Baptist with a master’s degree in opera performance and a son, a graduate of CET, who is now an automotive technician and business owner.

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