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New Program to Help Small Businessmen

October 06, 1985

Support for an "incubator/training center" program, which would be designed to assist small businesses past their crucial first years of operation, has been pledged by several San Bernardino County leaders in education, industry and government.

Pledges of support came at a Claremont symposium last week on small businesses, sponsored by the Chevron Land & Development Co., from several quarters: representatives of Cal Poly Pomona, UC Riverside and Cal State University San Bernardino. Also, Thomas Laurin of San Bernardino County's Department of Housing and Community Development, and Ray Resendez, manager of the federally funded Business Expansion Loan Program for the county, both indicated that the county is preparing to provide financial support for the proposed "incubator" program in the belief that it would foster economic development and job growth in the region.

'Campus' Site

Chevron has offered space at its 673-acre master planned development, The Ontario Center, for a "campus" site to launch the proposed incubator program, said symposium host Michael D. Kenney, marketing manager for The Ontario Center. He told the gathering that Chevron's role would be to "kick-start" the incubator/training center.

"We're a convenient linchpin and would like very much to see this program launched as soon as possible," Kenney said.

Major Growth Area

Kenney described the symposium as a "brainstorming" session rather than a formal panel to start official action on the project.

Kenney said the program, which would enable small businesses to gather momentum after they begin, would benefit the region because the Inland Empire is one of the major growth areas in Southern California.

He pointed out that 80% of all small firms fail in the first five years of business because of inadequate management and under-capitalization. The incubator/training center supporters envision a successful program as a physical facility that provides new and emerging businesses with such support mechanisms as on-site business assistance at low or no cost, assistance in obtaining financing, shared support services at low or no cost, flexible lease acquisition, and employee training and placement services.

Establishment of a full-scale program would enable educational institutions in the area to play a major role not only setting up vocational, graduate and post graduate programs, but also in providing classrooms, libraries, laboratories and shared computer services, Kenney said.

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