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UC Riverside supports equitable recovery of the Inland Empire with $900,000 CARES Act EDA Grant

UC Riverside has received a $900,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, or EDA, to provide technical assistance to small businesses to bolster the region's ability to withstand future economic disruptions. The EDA grant will be matched with $416,461 in local investment.

With this grant, UCR will provide technical assistance to 1,000 small businesses in the Inland Empire affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on minority-owned business, 800 of which will be from traditional industries and 200 of which will be high-tech startups. The support aims to revitalize growth of affected businesses, create new products, enhance competitiveness, and create or retain well-paying jobs.

The UCR team will make use of its validated research and commercialization infrastructure such as the Entrepreneurship Proof-of-Concept and Innovation Center, or EPIC, the EPIC Small Business Development Center, and its team of 20 staff and 16 entrepreneurs-in­residence with expertise in business creation and business growth, to support regional businesses connecting them to the opportunities and resources available to help them succeed.

Specifically, UCR will conduct community outreach with a focus on minority and female­owned businesses and will provide support to strengthen operational infrastructure, data and technology strategies, and online presence. The UCR team will also provide mentoring and support to assist with customer acquisition and business growth strategies, in coordination with regional partners.

"This program demonstrates UCR's commitment to support our region's entrepreneurs and business community by leveraging its team of business experts, human talent, and research facilities," said Rosibel Ochoa, associate vice chancellor for technology partnerships.

The program will be implemented in collaboration with more than 15 regional partner organizations that will play a critical role in reaching the communities in need at a grassroots level and providing technical assistance. The execution of this grant will be an integrated part of the region's overall effort to help revitalize small businesses affected by the pandemic.

"Small businesses are critical drivers of economic growth and mobility, and in California, we're doubling down on our support with the largest small-business relief program in the nation," said Gov. Gavin Newsom. "This new EDA grant for the University of California, Riverside will help pandemic-impacted small businesses in the region get the support they need to succeed, giving a boost to our efforts to ensure an equitable recovery and foster long-term growth in communities across the state."