INLAND EMPIRE, Calif. and ONTARIO, Calif., Oct. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Before creating and launching the innovative business growth program called Entrepreneur Ecosystem, Hilda Kennedy, Founder of AmPac Business Capital, a successful nonprofit community lender, started out early in her career following a passion for helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
Hilda would first hone her financial expertise by working in local government. For the City of Inglewood, she served as Chief of Staff to the Mayor; Executive Assistant to the City Manager; then Economic Development Director. It was serving in this position that propelled her to fight for people whom others had overlooked. She began looking for ways to get resources to business owners who were not receiving them. As Hilda puts it, "I was compelled to provide The Possible to those who didn't have the possibilities."
As Economic Development Director, Hilda established a $45 million loan fund, leveraging Department of Housing and Urban Development funds with matching bank funds in order to provide financing to businesses in the community.
After leaving her position at the City of Inglewood, Hilda's mentor and successful businessman, Bill Lowenstein offered her some advice: "why don't you get an SBA license and start your own community lending institution?" Hilda did just that, and as a result, the dream of owning her own lending business became a reality: AmPac Business Capital.
Bill then introduced Hilda to another successful businessman, Larry Pohill who was impressed with her business plan. He became one of AmPac's early investors and served as the Founding Board President. In addition, Larry offered to share his office space and staff with the newly formed company.
In appreciation of Bill Lowenstein's valued mentorship and support, the Entrepreneur Ecosystem Collaboration Center will be named after him: The Lowenstein Collaboration Center. In honor of Larry Pohill's valuable contributions, The Pohill Business Acumen Training Room will carry his name.
The Desire to Emphasize Financial Literacy Fuels an Idea
To continue scaling her business endeavor, Hilda connected with a network of women business owners where she found women with the same resilience, passion and drive that she recognized in herself. They were indeed inspirational but Hilda did find a few of her colleagues could have used her financial expertise in their early business decisions. As Hilda remembers, "At one of the first meetings, I was sitting next to a woman who had taken out a fintech high interest loan. She was worried she wouldn't be able to get out of it. Shortly after, I learned of another woman business owner who had a "loan" where she was paying an exorbitant monthly payment of $4,000 for a $50,000 loan and she had no idea how they were taking it out of her accounts."
"These women's struggles reinforced my dedication to give more business owners access to legitimate capital with AmPac Business Capital. As the years went by, I realized we needed to expand our growth services even further. That's when the Entrepreneur Ecosystem concept was born. I'm proud to say that AmPac's Entrepreneur Ecosystem is like no other business growth resource. Under one roof, you have access to resource providers AND a capital partner."
Hilda explains, "Capital resource is an important aspect of the Entrepreneur Ecosystem because lack of capital is one of the three reasons that businesses don't succeed. As a result, we constantly emphasize to business owners that to succeed and create jobs, they need to understand their numbers and embrace business financial literacy. This focus includes making the best decisions about microloans, working capital loans, building loans and/or business equipment loans."
"The Entrepreneur Ecosystem is like no other business growth resource. Under one roof, you have access to resource providers AND a capital partner."
Supportive Business Growth in a Focused Environment
The Entrepreneur Ecosystem provides year-round, state-of-the-art training for 5 to 7 entrepreneurs looking to start a business or to refresh the ones they have with an 18-month curriculum. In a nurturing and secure environment featuring the Launch Center, small businesses can access resources at all stages of their growth journey.
Resources and training bridge the digital divide with both an in-person and virtual program in a COVID-19 friendly environment. This culture-building effort is inclusive, inspirational, and faith-centered with physical messaging to support it. Entrepreneurs can also access:
- Classes that are focused on a range of growth aspects of entrepreneurship such as one-on-one business coaching
- A creative space for collaboration, idea sharing and mastermind activities
- Resourceful space for local business-related non-profits to have board meetings with storage space for transitioning leadership if needed
Entrepreneur Ecosystem Resource Partners can also take advantage of the Launch Center as a developmental space where they can provide their services under one roof, making it convenient to collaborate for and on behalf of the small business client.
A range of Resource Partners will offer expert knowledge and guidance to Entrepreneur Ecosystem startups. Just a few include:
- SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
- Inland Empire Women's Business Center
- Inland Empire Small Business Development Center
- CSUSB IECE - California State University San Bernardino - Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship
- Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
- Black Chambers of Commerce
Give Your Dream an Opportunity to Come True
From her early days as a Chief of Staff to now, Hilda is appreciative of her journey and looks forward to continuing to help other entrepreneurs succeed with greater resources. She states, " I am confident that the Entrepreneur Ecosystem offers a sound foundation of invaluable growth resources and access to capital that will motivate people to follow their dreams of business ownership."
To take advantage of AmPac's Entrepreneur Ecosystem, business owners can sign up for Entrepreneur Ecosystem memberships that include a diverse range of service levels from a 25-day Punch Card to a Virtual Level. For more information, visit https://entrepreneurecosystem.optixapp.com/signup/
Located in the new AmPac Business Capital office location in the Inland Empire in Ontario California, the Entrepreneur Ecosystem Launch Center is conveniently close to the Ontario airport and in proximity to the 10 Freeway plus it is also an easy connection to the 15 Freeway. Tours are available. To book a tour, visit
Entrepreneur Ecosystem Grand Opening Event
The invitation-only Grand Opening Event will be held on Friday, November 5. Food and refreshments will be served. The celebration will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with tours and special guest appearances.
Country Archer, an Ampac Business Capital SBA 504 Success Story
Country Archer, a jerky manufacturing company with a long history was floundering as its founders were retiring. The new owners, Susan Kang and her partner took over the business as a "start-up." Their "move-in" office was housed in a small trailer where the office staff barely had passing room and each person shared a desk. Manufacturing space was equally less than ideal for growth. Needless to say, Country Archer decided to find more accommodating space to grow and increase sales.
The Ampac team stepped in to assist Country Archer by partnering with the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center and Security Bank to develop a new business plan and low cost, fixed-rate capital to facilitate the company's growth.
Choosing a location in the City of San Bernardino, a labor surplus area hard hit by the economic downturn, this women-owned business has successfully created a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that is attracting nationally known retail store names (including Starbucks®) that want to sell the private label jerky.
Coupled with its high-quality business model, Country Archer is also socially conscious. The company pledges a strong commitment to serving U.S. veterans along with several other initiatives to support disabled and returning veterans.
About AmPac Business Capital
Founded in 2005 by Hilda Kennedy, AmPac Business Capital is a nonprofit certified lender on a mission to finance and foster business success at all stages of growth. During the pandemic, AmPac has served more than 650 small businesses with PPP loans, and assisted thousands of businesses in getting connected to relief grants in addition to providing an array of assistance to stabilize business operations. Since its inception, AmPac had funded more than 400 businesses with over $750 million to finance commercial real estate and equipment for further growth and success while also creating more than more than 3,000 new jobs throughout the state. In 2017, AmPac was named SBA 504 Lender of the Year by the SBA Orange County and Inland Empire District, and has been honored with numerous other recognitions.
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SOURCE AmPac Business Capital