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Blog Category: Minority Business Development Agency

MBDA Expands Economic Footprint of Minority Businesses‚ÄĒStrengthening the Economy

Guest blog post by Carmen West, MBDA Business Development Specialist

For over 45 years MBDA has been working aggressively to expand the economic footprint of minority business enterprises, also known as MBEs.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau‚Äôs 2007 Survey of Business Owners, these MBE firms contributed $1 trillion in total economic output and employed nearly six million Americans. These findings highlight that the economic contribution of these firms has a significant impact on the national economy.

MBDA helps firms to realize their full economic potential through technical assistance, public and private contracting opportunities, advocacy, research and education, and by serving as a strategic partner for growth and development. MBDA is the only Federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of our nation's 5.8 million minority businesses.

Since 2009, MBDA has assisted clients in accessing nearly $26 billion in contracts and capital, while helping them create and retain more than 60,000 jobs.  The bulk of this work is accomplished through our nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers.  Each center provides businesses with services to assist them in accessing capital, contracts, and new markets, as well as helping them to grow in size and scale.

Access to Capital

In 2014 MBDA created a new access to capital team to introduce our clients to alternative capital sources.  This work has been two-fold:  to educate clients and firms about the types of alternative financing available and to advocate on their behalf with the kind of resource partners that minority owned firms lack access to: venture capitalists, angel investors, mergers and acquisitions firms, and internet based platforms. 

Increasing Exporting

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently issued a report showing that U.S. goods and services exports supported more than 11.7 million jobs in 2014 - a new record. The new data showed that exports strengthen our economy and create good jobs, paying up to 18 percent more than non-export related positions.  In partnership with Ex-Im Bank nine MBDA Business Centers became loan originators for Global Credit Express offering short-term working capital loans to small business exporters.  Our work with exporting initiatives like Look South and Doing Business in Africa, has resulted in an increase in client requests for assistance with exporting, which showcases another way MBEs are helping to strengthen the U.S. economy.

To learn more about how MBDA works with U.S. companies in creating economic growth and recovery, visit www.mbda.gov.

Spotlight on Commerce: Joann J. Hill, Chief, Office of Business Development, Minority Business Development Agency

Spotlight on Commerce: Joann J. Hill, Chief of Business Development for the Southeastern Region, Minority Business Development Agency

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to building a middle class economy in honor of Black History Month

Guest blog post by Joann J. Hill, Chief, Office of Business Development, Minority Business Development Agency

I am a native of Columbia, South Carolina and a graduate of Benedict College with a BS in Business Administration. I also received a Masters of Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. After college, I began my career with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2000, I joined the MBDA Atlanta Regional Office and have been with the Department of Commerce for 14 years.  I began my career with MBDA as a Business Development Specialist and was eventually promoted to Chief of Business Development for the Southeastern Region. My next promotion relocated me to the MBDA National Headquarters in Washington, DC in 2012 where I currently serve as Chief of the Office of Business Development. In this capacity I oversee the Office of Business Development and serve as the lead federal program officer for the nationwide network of MBDA‚Äôs 44 Business Centers.

I lead the effort within the agency to promote economic opportunities that expand the growth and competitiveness of minority business enterprises (MBEs) across America. I am responsible for the creation and implementation of strategies for business development in the areas of: access to capital, access to contracts; access to emerging domestic and international markets and global supply chains.  We also actively engage strategic stakeholders like national chambers of commerce and trade associations in collaboration on policy and programs. 

For three consecutive years, I have served as Conference Director for the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference, the nation’s largest federally sponsored conference on minority business enterprise. This conference is held annually in Washington, D.C. and attracts over 1,000 attendees. Traditionally, we have hosted officials from the White House, including the Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of Commerce, Cabinet Secretaries and a host of CEOs from MBEs and Fortune 500 firms.

My role at the Department of Commerce has a direct impact on improving the U.S. economy and expanding opportunities for all Americans. Through MBDA‚Äôs programs and initiatives, more than $6 billion in access to contracts, capital and export transactions have been generated over the past year - resulting in 30,000 jobs created and retained. This economic infusion contributes to the expansion of the middle class and growth of the American economy.  

My personal leadership philosophy and core guiding principles are:  vision, courage, teamwork, and a commitment to excellence; accountability, clear mission, faith and a relentless work ethic rooted in integrity.

Northern California MBDA Business Centers Help Minority Entrepreneurs Enter Technology Transfer, Innovation Market

The San Francisco Minority Business Development Center signs partnership agreement with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in August, 2014.

Guest blog post by the San Francisco MBDA Business Center 

Led by National Director Alejandra Castillo, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has been collaborating with the San Francisco MBDA Business Center (SFMBC), operated by ASIAN, Inc., to advance a groundbreaking technology transfer and innovation agenda.   

The SFMBC, along with its sister San Jose and Fresno MBDA Business Centers, serve the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, which is universally recognized as one of the world‚Äôs leading regions for technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Minority business entrepreneurs (MBEs) in this region are not short of innovative ideas and are all too eager to gain access to cutting-edge technologies from national laboratories and universities, especially in life sciences, IT, and clean technology sectors. We‚Äôre working diligently to get those MBEs into these emerging markets. 

In September 2014, the SFMBC began piloting MBDA‚Äôs strategic Technology Transfer and Innovation Program. Closely working with Director Castillo, we designed our pilot model to engage regional MBEs with technology transfer and innovation concepts in an effort to connect them with U.S. and international investors, including angel investors and venture capital firms, and conventional funding, as well as to assist them with developing strategic commercialization channels. 

To increase awareness among local and regional MBEs and partners we jointly launched the initiative with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)Keiretsu Forum, and other professional service partners in October 2014 at our regional 2014 Minority Enterprise Development Week conference in San Jose. 

At the invitation of Director Castillo, the San Francisco team also brought in its partners and presented the pilot model to national-level MBE audiences at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)‚Äôs "Innovations in STEM: National Priorities and NIST" Symposium in November 2014. 

As members of the Keiretsu Forum, the San Francisco and San Jose MBDA Business Center team actively participated in the Forum‚Äôs Angel Capital Expo that same month, connecting with regional MBEs and over 500 angel investors worldwide. In January 2015, the team was invited to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, a gateway to connecting foreign investors with investment opportunities in cutting-edge U.S. technologies in life sciences. 

Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center’s MED Week Event Helps Local Entrepreneurs, Businesses Expand Their Opportunities

Isabella Cascarano, U.S. Embassy of Dominican Republic,  Jose Burgos USEAC, of Puerto Rico, James W. Brewster, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Gabriela Morales, MBDA Business Development Specialist, Teresa Berrios, Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center's Director, and Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA's National Director, ready to meet local entrepreneurs during the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center's MED Week Conference in San Juan's Condado Plaza Hotel, Jan. 30.

Puerto Rican businesses and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities that drive growth found them during Puerto Rico’s MBDA Business Center’s Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) conference held on January 30th in San Juan’s Condado Plaza Hotel.

The MED Week in Puerto Rico continued the celebration of the Minority Business Development Agency‚Äôs (MBDA) 45th Anniversary.  It was also another opportunity to amplify our continued efforts in Puerto Rico to assist minority-owned firms grow in size and scale, and diversify into the industries of tomorrow.

To that end, this past year, we engaged the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center on several important business endeavors.  One of them was ensuring that minority firms in Puerto Rico were well positioned to export, and that‚Äôs precisely why we invited James W. Brewster, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic to be the keynote speaker at this year‚Äôs MED Week event.  As a critical trade partner, we wanted to talk about the exporting opportunities that exist in the Dominican Republic, but also throughout all the Caribbean nations.

San Antonio MBDA Business Center’s Export Strategies Support Foreign Direct Investment

Look South logo

The San Antonio MBDA Business Center’s specialty is helping minority businesses (MBEs) find exporting opportunities in Latin America. Aligning with White House initiatives such as Look South, the center has assisted numerous MBEs develop international market entry strategies that vary by sector, size, capabilities, targeted countries and regions

The MBDA Business Center’s San Antonio Global Pathways Initiative has proven to be a conduit of global opportunities for domestic MBE clients. As a result of this success, some clients have engaged in partnerships with foreign enterprises.

‚ÄúOne of the tasks associated with the services we offer MBE‚Äôs preparing to export is to assist them with business to business relationships,‚ÄĚ said Orestes Hubbard, Director of the San Antonio MBDA Business Center. ‚ÄúThis service creates a two way opportunity for our client that sometimes serves as a platform to bring foreign direct investment into the U.S.‚ÄĚ

BBM Staffing, LLC, a Mexican staffing services company, is an example of the benefit of the business to business relationship concept. The center has helped BBM Staffing, LLC expand their presence in Texas by helping them gain access to markets and capital for their operations.

El Paso MBDA Business Center Kicks Off the New Year with Business Sunday

El Paso MBDA Business Center Kicks Off the New Year with Business Sunday

Guest blog post by Michelle Luevano, Director of the El Paso MBDA Business Center 

The MBDA Business Center-El Paso (Texas), operated by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, kicked off the New Year with its first Business Sunday Event at Destiny Family Christian Center this past weekend. The event was organized in collaboration with the local El Paso SBA office and the Women‚Äôs Business Border Center (a joint project of the U.S. SBA and the Hispanic Chamber). The program was part of a larger effort at the national level to promote local economic growth and job creation by connecting congregations and communities with valuable business development resources offered by the federal government. Business Sunday is a reflection of President Obama's commitment to strengthening the economy by empowering people - business owners, entrepreneurs, community development organizations, faith-based groups and others - to effect positive change at the local level. 

Over 30 entrepreneurs, all at different stages in their entrepreneurial journey, gathered at Destiny Family Christian Center to learn about the resources the MBDA Business Center, SBA, and Women‚Äôs Business Border Center have to offer. Participants were given a brief presentation regarding each of the entrepreneurial technical assistance centers and were then encouraged to meet one on one with the local Business Development Specialists in attendance. Terri Reed, Project Director for the El Paso MBDA Business Center, said of the program, ‚ÄúThis program is an excellent way of bringing business resources to entrepreneurs. Whether they are interested in starting a business or already have a business, we can provide resources and tools necessary to help them grow and be successful. Destiny Family Christian Center was a wonderful congregation to partner with as we launched this new project.‚ÄĚ 

As a result of the success of this first event, the MBDA Business Center-El Paso will be reaching out to other congregations in the area to host similar events and connect more entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to make them successful.

Minority-owned firms seeking to penetrate new markets ‚ÄĒ domestic & global ‚ÄĒ and growing in size and scale, can access business experts at a MBDA Business Center. Whether it‚Äôs securing capital, competing for a contract, identifying a strategic partner or becoming export-ready, your success is our priority. 

The Centers are located in areas with the largest concentration of minority populations and the largest number of minority businesses. The Centers are staffed by business specialists who have the knowledge and practical experience needed to run successful and profitable businesses. Business referral services are provided free of charge. However, the network generally charges nominal fees for specific management and technical assistance services.

Business Sunday Comes to South Florida

By Marie R. Gill, Operator and Executive Director of the MBDA Business Center in Miami and Josh Dickson, Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the US Department of Commerce

Earlier this month, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center in Miami hosted its first Business Sunday at Samaritan Christian Center in Hallandale Beach, Florida, in partnership with the Miami District Office of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Hallandale Parks and Recreation Department, the Hallandale Beach Community Reinvestment Agency (CRA), Career Source South Florida, the City of Miami and ACCION USA. Business Sunday is a program focused on promoting local economic growth and job creation by connecting congregations and communities with the valuable business development resources offered by the Federal Government.  A collaboration between the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Minority Business Development Agency and BusinessUSA Business Sunday builds ladders of opportunity by meeting people where they are at and ensuring they have access to everything they need to start or grow their business.

Business Sunday in Hallandale Beach featured business development presentations from MBDA and SBA at Samaritan Christian Center, followed by a two-hour, one-on-one networking and information-sharing session at the Community Center at Foster Park. In her presentation, Ms. Marie R. Gill, Operator and Executive Director of the MBDA Business Center in Miami, explained the various services that are available from federal agencies, provided information on resources available through the BusinessUSA website and highlighted ways that the MBDA Business Center can support the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses through access to capital, access to contracts and access to domestic and global markets. She also discussed the various collaborations the Center has formed - including a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the SBA - to provide the requisite level of support for MBDA’s clients. In addition, Ms. Althea Harris, a Program Director at the Miami District Office of the SBA, provided information on services and resources available directly from the SBA and its program partners.

During his presentation, Bishop Adderley, speaking to the 250-person congregation, thanked MBDA, SBA and all the supporting partners for choosing Hallandale Beach to launch Business Sunday in South Florida. ‚ÄúIt is wonderful that these programs and resources are being brought directly to us in our community,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚Äúand I encourage all members attending, and those listening and watching online, to take advantage of these opportunities.‚ÄĚ

As a result of this first initiative, the MBDA Business Center in Miami will embark on a new collaboration with the City of Hallandale Beach CRA in order to more easily access local businesses and to provide specialized consulting services and managerial coaching to minority-owned businesses.

MBDA Making Operational Excellence a Priority in 2014

For 45 years, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) programs have focused on providing greater access to business opportunities that better equip minority business owners to create jobs, build scale and capacity, and contribute to the U.S. economy.  

In response to the President‚Äôs call to make 2014 ‚Äúa year of action,‚ÄĚ MBDA ensured that we reached many more minority-owned firms throughout the nation. In addition to reaching new heights, MBDA was active in expanding its reach and services for the rapidly growing segment of the economy we serve. We opened seven new MBDA Business Centers in Baltimore, MD, Bridgeport, CT, Houston, TX, Bronx, NY, St. Louis, MO, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, D.C. 

MBDA also launched a concentrated effort focused on engaging minority business enterprises in emerging industry opportunities. Our collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy helps develop access and capacity for minority-owned firms to engage in the growing energy industry. 

In October, we provided our San Francisco MBDA Business Center with supplemental funding to establish a Technology Transfer and Innovation specialty center. The Technology Transfer and Innovation specialty center is designed to engage minority-owned firms in tech transfer and ‚Äúlab-to-market‚ÄĚ initiatives.  The San Francisco MBDA Business Center‚Äôs proximity to Silicon Valley, a leading hub for high-tech innovation and development, provides a prime opportunity to help minority-owned businesses leverage ‚Äúlab to market‚ÄĚ opportunities and ensure greater participation in the growing energy sector by assisting in capacity building and market entry. 

We also provided supplemental funding to seven other MBDA Business Centers to specialize in advanced manufacturing and healthcare technology, exports to Africa, exports to Mexico and South America and aerospace supply chain mapping. 

These efforts have anchored our Agency as a critical resource for the over 5.8 million U.S. minority-owned firms. And, as MBDA marches forward in the next 45 years, we will continue the pursuit of operational excellence and focusing on maximizing its value to customers. 

To learn more about how MBDA continues to pursue operational excellence in all aspects of the Agency in order to best serve the nation’s minority-owned businesses visit www.mbda.gov.

Fostering Economic Development in Tribal Communities and Among Native-owned Enterprises

Today, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Economic Development Administration teamed up to launch the Tribal Economic Development Webinar Series. Beginning on November 19, 2014, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) will host five webinars over the course of one year. This series is designed to help tribal leaders, tribal administrators, Native American-owned enterprises, and tribal advocacy organizations understand federal resources available for tribal economic development. 

The Department of Commerce is focused on bolstering its working relationships with tribal communities. Through the work of its diverse set of bureaus, the Department is committed to fostering a more innovative economy ‚Äď one that is better at addressing the needs of Indian Country by improving and creating the conditions for economic success, higher productivity and competitiveness.

Paving the Way for a New Legion of Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Paving the Way for a New Legion of Entrepreneurs and Innovators

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews last week spoke at the National Asian Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE) Conference and reaffirmed the Administration‚Äôs commitment to strengthening AAPI businesses in the U.S. and around the globe. He showcased the Department‚Äôs wide array of programs available to help the AAPI community successfully grow their businesses and knock down barriers in the process.  

With more than two million thriving AAPI businesses, the Commerce Department is focused on providing the necessary tools to help AAPI entrepreneurs stay viable and competitive in the global marketplace through partnering with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), International Trade Administration (ITA), Economic Development Administration (EDA), Census Bureau, and the SelectUSA program just to name a few.

During his remarks, Deputy Secretary Andrews emphasized the important role the Department’s agencies play in assisting AAPI entrepreneurs and innovators in everything from providing business counseling and other federal government resources to protecting intellectual property rights more expediently to disseminating data that spawn new businesses and promote better decision-making in existing businesses. Today, there are more than 1.5 million AAPI-owned firms that generate more than $500 billion in revenue. They employ more than 50 percent of all workers in minority firms nationwide.

MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo also spoke to the chamber about the importance of leveraging strategic partnerships and export opportunities. MBDA currently has 44 business centers designed to assist businesses gain more access to contracts, working capital and global markets. They also opened the first ever MBDA Federal Procurement Center designed solely to help minority-owned firms with annual revenues of more than $1 million, such as AAPI businesses, overcome some of the challenges it has faced in the past when accessing federal programs.

Through a myriad of services, MBDA has also helped AAPI entrepreneurs successfully gain contracts and enter into new markets around the world, including Vietnam, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

ITA is also helping small- and medium sized businesses sell their products and services around the world, with more than 100 Export Assistance Centers across the U.S. that offer hands on marketing and trade and finance support.

The Commerce Department remains steadfast in its efforts to continue helping AAPI businesses grow. 

Connecting Minority Serving Institutions with Research and Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Earlier this month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) hosted a special event for minority serving institutions to foster collaborations that could increase minority participation in scientific research and entrepreneurship. Representatives from large and small colleges and universities across the country gathered to learn about NIST‚Äôs national research priorities and about ‚Äúlab-to-market‚ÄĚ opportunities from both NIST and the MBDA.

MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo explained why the event was timely in her opening remarks when she said, ‚ÄúWealth creation is happening in the high technology sector, but only four percent of those businesses are minority owned. Minority serving institutions are not only positioned to educate scientists and engineers, but to create partnerships for the businesses of tomorrow.‚ÄĚ

Attendees learned about the many opportunities for partnering with NIST from Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May, who explained the importance of collaboration to NIST‚Äôs world-class research. NIST collaborates with a number of organizations and institutions of higher learning as it addresses national priorities including cybersecurity, manufacturing, communications, forensics, disaster resilience and healthcare and bioscience. ‚ÄúLast year, we provided about $200 million in grants to institutions of higher education that can collaborate with us and assist us in carrying out our mission,‚ÄĚ said May.

May highlighted the variety of opportunities at NIST for undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral, associate and visiting researchers. Of NIST’s approximately 1,600 associate researchers who come from academia, about one quarter are from Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or Minority Serving Institutes (MSIs).

The event was initiated by George Cooper, director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), who said he realized there was great potential at NIST for supporting partnerships between HBCUs and the federal government.

Day two’s agenda focused on moving research and technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace. Participants learned about the federal government’s role in technology transfer and the Lab-to-Market Programs in NIST’s Technology Partnerships Office and the MBDA’s San Francisco Business Center. A panel discussion including representatives from industry and non-profit and advocacy groups that support emerging businesses offered best practices for getting from lab to market.

Throughout the event, participants were encouraged to develop relationships not only with NIST and the MBDA, but also with one another. As Cooper put it, their partnerships could ‚Äúleverage the strengths of multiple institutions‚ÄĚ to increase engagement with federal agencies.

MBDA Business Centers Provide Technical Expertise Helping Minority Business Entrepreneurs Reach Success

MBDA Business Centers Provide Technical Expertise Helping Minority Business Entrepreneurs Reach Success

For more than four decades, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has led Federal Government efforts to provide focused support to minority businesses enterprises (MBEs), which are increasingly critical contributors to the U.S. economy. 

With an eco-system of 44 MBDA Business Centers located across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, the Agency‚Äôs national programs and initiatives provide increased access to contracts, capital and markets. Although the centers are strategically located in areas with the largest number of MBEs, there are no geographical boundaries for service delivery, which allows MBDA clients, regardless of their location, to seek services from any MBDA Business Center. 

Nine of the business centers are ‚Äúspecialty centers‚ÄĚ that deliver expert industry and market consulting and services in the areas of U.S. exports and business linkages in emerging economies, advanced manufacturing initiatives, and technology transfer and innovation. 

‚ÄúAt MBDA our goal is to expand the Agency‚Äôs reach, expertise, and resources to serve as many minority business enterprises through our national network of MBDA Business Centers,‚ÄĚ said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA National Director. ‚ÄúWe want to ensure that we provide greater assistance to minority-owned businesses to support job creation and the continued growth of the U.S. economy.‚ÄĚ 

Besides all the technical assistance, it‚Äôs the face-to-face time with minority entrepreneurs that is the core strength of the MBDA Business Centers. 

‚ÄúMBDA has functioned like a partner to my company, providing me with consulting services that led to joint ventures, capital financing, and contracting opportunities,‚ÄĚ said Clarence McAllister, Owner of Fortis Networks and client of the Phoenix MBDA Business Center. 

For complete listing of all MBDA Business Centers, their unique capabilities and contact information, please visit www.mbda.gov.

MBDA Business Centers Celebrate MED Week During October

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Centers across America celebrated Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, a venue for minority-owned businesses to access information, tools, and resources to grow their businesses both domestically and abroad. 

Each year, thousands of minority-owned firms across a variety of industries converge upon various cities to connect with public and private sector buyers, explore avenues for business expansion, and develop thriving partnerships with firms across multiple industry sectors. These goals are accomplished through networking events, workshops, and issue forums including, business-to-business matchmaking, and networking opportunities with multinational corporations, government representatives and leading entrepreneurs. The MBDA Business Centers culminate the week with an awards presentation where they honor minority-owned firms, entrepreneurs and advocates who are contributing to the minority-business community. 

‚ÄúThe MED Week legacy was started 32 years ago under the Ronald Reagan Administration,‚ÄĚ said Joann Hill, Chief of MBDA‚Äôs Office of Business Development, at the Baltimore MBDA Business Center‚Äôs MED Week on Oct. 20. ‚ÄúHonored by Presidential Proclamation, MED Week epitomizes the legacy of champions in the minority business community who have and continue to advocate for equity, parity, and the opportunity to compete on a level playing field for women and minority-owned businesses.‚ÄĚ 

The Phoenix MBDA Business Center used the MED Week opportunity to partner with the Thunderbird School of Global Management for the second annual Global Business Conference. During the two-day conference, topics included international business opportunities with Mexico, Canada, India, China, Africa and South America and the nuts and bolts needed to succeed in international business: financing, risk mitigation and logistics. Overall, the event provided a platform to talk about the National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it can benefit minority business enterprises. 

In Chicago, the focus was on merger and acquisition opportunities, as the MBDA Business Center there partnered with the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) to co-host the 2014 Minority Finance Forum and 15th Annual Midwest ACG Capital Connection. 

MBDA celebrated the National MED Week event in August and is already planning for next year’s celebration. For more information on MED Week or on our MBDA Business Centers, please visit: www.mbda.gov.

Commerce Partners with Small Business Administration for the Launch of Business Sunday in Houston, Texas

Commerce Partners with Small Business Administration for the Launch of Business Sunday in Houston, Texas

Last weekend, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration (SBA) launched Business Sunday at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, TX. Business Sunday is an outreach and educational program that takes place in local communities around the country, connecting current and future business leaders with valuable resources to help them start or expand their businesses.

On Sunday, Windsor Village’s Senior Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell welcomed representatives from SBA, Commerce’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), along with representatives from the city of Houston and other local entities, for the first in a series of Business Sundays that will take place around the country. More than 500 people attended the event, showcasing the strong demand among business owners and entrepreneurs for information on the high-impact business development resources offered by the federal government.
 
Originally piloted in Washington, DC, at the 19th Street Baptist Church in March 2014, the Business Sunday program consists of MBDA Business Centers partnering with SBA field offices and a local congregation to present information on federal business development resources from Commerce, MBDA, SBA, BusinessUSA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The event also provides attendees with an opportunity to connect one-on-one with the field staff. In the near future, additional Business Sunday events will be held in Philadelphia, PA; Mobile, AL; Washington, DC; Indianapolis, IN; El Paso, TX; Miami, FL; Denver, Co; Phoenix, AZ and Seattle, Washington. Details on upcoming events will be released once available.
 

MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo Challenges Young Latina Entrepreneurs to Think Big

MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo speaks at the Latinas Think Big Conference

Last week, Alejandra Castillo, the first Hispanic American woman appointed as the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, participated in a panel discussion at the Latinas Think Big Innovation Summit at Google’s Mountain View Campus. The Summit brought together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and influencers to exchange ideas, address important issues, and connect attendees to high-caliber networks.

Created by Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin, PhD, Latinas Think Big‚ĄĘ is a progressive platform and national tour created to bring together innovative ideas and groundbreaking projects of Latinas around the country. ‚ÄúI created Latinas Think Big‚ĄĘ to showcase the innovative ideas, talents and groundbreaking projects of Latinas around the country. I wanted to bring talented Latinas and thought leaders to the stages of well-regarded institutions like Columbia University and powerful companies like Google, for the world to 'see' how Latinas are contributing to the country's social and economic well-being,‚ÄĚ said Dr. Perez-Litwin.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners, between 2002 and 2007 Hispanic-owned businesses increased by 43.7 percent to 2.3 million, more than twice the national rate of 18 percent between the same period of time. Hispanic women-owned businesses are the fastest growing business demographic, increasing 43 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Latinas Think Big creates a space in which young women have access to speak to professional women across all sectors. At the event, Castillo talked to the audience of young Latinas about the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation. ‚ÄúAs entrepreneurs, you need to understand that 95% of the world‚Äôs consumers live outside of the U.S. borders. The fact that you speak Spanish, the fact that you are Latinos, and the fact that you understand the business culture of Colombia, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, positions you in a very unique place to be able to tap into those markets. When thinking about entrepreneurial ideas, think about how to go global,‚ÄĚ stated Castillo.

Minority Businesses Keep the ‚ÄúMade in America‚ÄĚ Brand Strong

Recent studies have shown that the pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to rise. Minority businesses are playing an integral part in that growth and are helping to keep the ‚ÄúMade in America‚ÄĚ product strong.

This year, the Minority Business Development Agency recognized two businesses for outstanding manufacturing impact and achieving significant success in employing new and innovative techniques that led to a significant increase in market share, job growth and customer satisfaction.

The first was Detroit Manufacturing Systems, LLC (DMS). DMS currently has more than 700 employees and develops state-of-the-art automotive interior systems. By utilizing the latest technologies, DMS assembles and manufactures injection molded interior trim components for global automotive brands, all with a firm commitment to quality and efficiency.

The second award was given to Ruiz Food Products, Inc. Fred Ruiz cofounded Ruiz Food Products, Inc., with his father Louis in a small warehouse in Tulare, Ca. in 1964. The company is now celebrating its 50th anniversary, and employs 2,300 people. Ruiz Food Products has three manufacturing facilities ‚Äď in Dinuba, Calif., Tulare, Calif., and Denison, Texas ‚Äď and recently purchased another facility in Florence County, S.C.

MBDA National Director Concludes Trip Connecting California Minority-Owned Businesses with Commerce Department Resources

MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo addressing the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Yesterday, MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo concluded her week-long tour of California where she spoke to local businesses and community leaders about the Obama Administration‚Äôs work to spur continued economic growth and job creation through support of exporters, entrepreneurs, and small, women- and minority-owned businesses. 

Earlier this week, Castillo joined U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in Oakland where the Secretary delivered remarks highlighting a number of Commerce Department resources available to help foster economic growth among minority-owned businesses. The Secretary also discussed the Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ a bold policy agenda focused on boosting trade and investment, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, and unleashing more government data. 

Following the Secretary‚Äôs remarks in Oakland, Castillo led a panel discussion on economic development that helped to connect local business leaders and economic development organizations with the expertise of the Department and its resources. The forum featured Overseas Private Investment Corporation‚Äôs (OPIC) Director of Corporate Development, Alison Germak; Port of Oakland‚Äôs Director of Aviation, Deborah Ale Flint; Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. 

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Shares Economic Development Opportunities in California

Representative Barbara Lee, Secretary Penny Pritzker, Clifton Burch, President at Empire Engineering & Construction, Inc. and MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo

Last year, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker unveiled the Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ a bold policy agenda focused on boosting trade and investment, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, and unleashing more government data. Yesterday, she took the Agenda on the road to California. Along with Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) National Director Alejandra Castillo, Secretary Pritzker spoke to local businesses and community leaders about the Obama Administration‚Äôs work to spur continued economic growth and job creation through support of exporters, entrepreneurs, and small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

Secretary Pritzker joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), a strong advocate for minority economic development and trade policy, at a regional economic development forum at the Oakland Airport, hosted by Lee. The Secretary delivered remarks highlighting a number of Commerce Department resources available to help foster economic growth. Noting that exporting is an essential tool for economic development, she discussed the Commerce Department‚Äôs NEI/NEXT initiative, a data-based, customer-driven effort to help U.S. companies increase their exports to international markets. Secretary Pritzker also talked about the work of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help manufacturers boost productivity and growth, as well as investments by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help attract new industries and create jobs. Through these and other tools, the Commerce Department is helping businesses in California and across the country to grow and hire. 

Following the Secretary‚Äôs remarks, MBDA National Director Castillo led a panel discussion on economic development that helped to connect local business leaders and economic development organizations with the expertise of the Department and its resources. The forum featured OPIC‚Äôs Director of Corporate Development, Alison Germak; Port of Oakland‚Äôs Director of Aviation, Deborah Ale Flint; Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. 

Before the event, Secretary Pritzker also participated in a roundtable discussion with East Bay business leaders, hosted by Rep. Lee. They discussed regional economic development, supplier diversity and the importance of gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership. Earlier in the day, Secretary Pritzker and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee met with leaders of local technology companies, including Twitter, Yelp, Kiva, and others, ‚Äčto discuss the Department of Commerce‚Äôs expanding role as ‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs Data Agency." Secretary Pritzker specifically asked how the government can most effectively make additional data available, and what public-private partnerships are currently serving as strong models that can be replicated when it comes to data dissemination.‚Äč 

Commerce Department Recognizes Minority Business Community Champions

Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency Alejandra Castillo, and MBDA Public Affairs Team Lead Velicia Woods congratulate a MED Week Award winner

Today, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews recognized the 2014 National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Award winners during a ceremony at the annual MED Week Conference in Washington, D.C. MBDA awarded 13 organizations, businesses and individuals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing the minority business community.

As one of the longest running Minority Business Enterprise events in the United States, the National MED Week Conference recognizes the outstanding achievements of leading minority entrepreneurs and organizations while positioning business owners for opportunities that drive growth. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet delivered remarks to kick off the one-day conference this morning.

The conference provided opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs to connect with senior public officials, industry executives and leaders from all over the country and learn about cutting-edge tools that can give their business a more competitive advantage.

The Obama Administration and Commerce Department have been laser-focused on helping businesses create good-paying jobs, particularly small and medium-sized businesses. On July 25, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring this week Minority Enterprise Development Week, during which Americans are celebrating the essential role that minority entrepreneurs and businesses play in our economy and communities.

Simple Steps to Expanding Your Business through Exports

Minority-owned firms employ nearly six million American workers and contribute one trillion dollars in annual economic output to the U.S. economy.

At the Department of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency we are dedicated to helping more minority-owned business leverage their competitive advantage and expand their business through exports. The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals how minority-owned firms employ nearly six million American workers and contribute one trillion dollars in annual economic output to the U.S. economy. This economic output includes significant exporting contributions. In fact, minority-owned firms are export leaders in 14 key industry sectors.

To celebrate World Trade Month we are kicking off a blog series to highlight valuable resources and information for minority businesses looking at exporting for the first time and firms looking to expand their existing exporting efforts. 

Here are six steps to start exporting:

Complete an export readiness self-assessment: Find out if you have what it takes to market your products or services into the global marketplace. Provide answers to nine questions and receive advice on your exporting potential.

Training and counseling: use online resources like webinars and training courses to learn the basics of exporting and increase your understanding of the exporting process. Access webinars and online courses from the International Trade Agency (ITA), U.S. Census Bureau Go Global Webinars, and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Develop your Export Business Plan: Use the SBA Export Business Planner to work through the process of gathering information and setting SMART goals and objectives. The Export Business Planner will help your business explore exporting options.

Conduct Market Research: It is critical for you to find the best exporting prospects for your business success. The U.S. government has the latest information on market conditions around the world. You can also use the Trade Stats Express to identify potential markets.

Find Buyers: Leverage opportunities at the local, state, and federal government levels to meet potential foreign buyers. Use reverse trade mission hosted by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency or overseas trade mission hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Many states government also host overseas trade missions check out your states business opportunities websites.

Investigate Export Finance Option: understanding the available grants, insurance and finance programs available to assist your firm as exporting options are critical to your exporting success. Start with federal resources at Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and SBA Export Loans

Take your business to the next level and begin to go and grow globally. MBDA and our national network of more than 40 MBDA Business Centers are here to help. Contact a MBDA Business Center to learn more about how exporting can increase your bottom line.

Also, stay tuned to learn more about the next phase of the National Export Initiative ‚ÄďNEI/NEXT! 

Commerce Connects U.S. Businesses to Opportunities in Africa’s Power Sector

Energy for Africa: 600 million people, 70% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa are without electricity

With its fast-growing middle class and tremendous human, agricultural, and mineral resources, the continent of Africa is attracting investors and businesses from all around the world. Home to seven of the world‚Äôs ten fastest-growing economies, Sub-Saharan Africa outpaces global average growth. That is why, in 2012, President Obama launched the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Sub-Saharan Africa, now known as the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. The Strategy recognizes that Africa holds the promise to be ‚Äúthe world‚Äôs next major economic success story,‚ÄĚ and the Commerce Department is working help businesses be part of that success story by promoting U.S. trade and investment through the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) campaign.

Today, the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA), Miami MBDA Business Center hosted the Power Africa B2B Summit to promote the public-private partnership model envisioned by President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. President Obama announced Power Africa last year as an initiative to double the number of people with access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 600 million people lack access to electricity. The United States is investing more than $7 billion in this effort.

At today’s Summit, prominent government and business leaders, including Nigeria’s Power Minister the Honorable Muhammed Wakil, CEOs of Africa’s major power companies, and representatives from the U.S. Export-Import Bank and USAID, joined MBDA to share opportunities for accessing the energy sector in African markets.

Commerce Participates in Business Sunday

Commerce Participates in Business Sunday

This weekend, the Commerce Department‚Äôs Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships joined forces with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), BusinessUSA, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and 19th Street Baptist Church to host the first Business Sunday in Washington, DC. Business Sunday is a program focused on promoting local economic growth and job creation by connecting congregations and communities with the valuable business development resources offered by the Federal Government.

Close to 300 business owners, entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders came together for the first Business Sunday, packing the fellowship hall at 19th Street Baptist Church. The event included greetings from Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as presentations from SBA, MBDA and BusinessUSA on how to access important technical assistance, business counseling, loans and other practical resources. Participants also had the opportunity to sign up for health insurance for their business or themselves through the DC Health Benefit Exchange. Following the event attendees stayed for more than an hour to network and speak individually with Commerce and SBA staff.

Business Sunday is a reflection of President Obama‚Äôs and Secretary Pritkzer‚Äôs shared commitment to strengthening our economy by empowering our people ‚Äď our business owners, entrepreneurs, community development organizations, faith-based groups and others ‚Äď to effect positive change at the local level. We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners to keep this work moving forward.

Department of Commerce releases FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan

Plan priorities are in direct alignment with the Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda‚ÄĚ

Today the Department of Commerce released its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2014 to 2018. The five-year plan, along with the recently released FY15 budget, provides the pathway for meeting the Department’s long-term goals and objectives. The plan, summarizes the key strategies and initiatives that will drive progress in the Department’s five priority areas:

  • Trade and Investment. Expanding the U.S. economy through increased exports and foreign direct investment that leads to more and better American jobs.
  • Innovation. Fostering a more innovative U.S. economy‚ÄĒone that is better at inventing, improving, and commercializing products and technologies that lead to higher productivity and  competitiveness.
  • Data. Improve government, business, and community decisions and knowledge by transforming Department data capabilities and supporting a data-enabled economy.
  • Environment. Ensuring communities and businesses have the necessary information, products, and services to prepare for and prosper in a changing environment.
  • Operational Excellence. Delivering better services, solutions, and outcomes that benefit the American people.

The creation of the strategic plan was a collaborative effort involving staff from every Department of Commerce bureau and serves as a foundation for economic growth and opportunity. The plan is in direct alignment with the  ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ which reflects the Department‚Äôs role as the voice of business, and the Administration‚Äôs focus on economic growth and job creation. Department leaders and employees will use this plan to transform strategies into actions, and actions into results.

Read a summary of the plan or the entire plan.

Files

MBDA Deputy Director Receives Hispanic Business Community Award

Photo of Castillo with event organizers

Cross-posted from MBDA.gov blog by Alberto Betancourt, Press Secretary

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation held their first Hispanic Business Community Awards celebration Oct. 23 at the Capital One Bank headquarters in McLean, Va. The awards recognized the impact of Latino business leaders on the Greater Washington, DC community.

Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA National Deputy Director, was one of five awardees honored at the event. Castillo received the Public Service Leadership award.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm very honored to receive this award,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI have a rewarding job where every day I come to work and have the unique privilege of honoring my father. He emigrated from the Dominican Republic and started his own business. That‚Äôs what inspires me to help minority-owned companies grow their own business.‚ÄĚ

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker also congratulated Castillo on the recognition. MBDA blog

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

Annual funding for the government expired on September 30. The Administration strongly believed that a lapse in funding should not occur. The Department is prepared for a lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations. Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) required the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations (PDF) in the absence of appropriations (a ‚Äúshutdown plan‚ÄĚ).

The plan may be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant. This plan (PDF) complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce. All employees who are Presidentially Appointed, Senate Confirmed will remain on duty.

In compliance with the restrictions of the Anti-Deficiency Act, the Department of Commerce will maintain the following services and activities during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

‚ÄĘ Weather, water, and climate observing, prediction, forecast, warning, and support
‚ÄĘ Law enforcement activities for the protection of marine fisheries
‚ÄĘ Fisheries management activities including quota monitoring, observer activities, and regulatory actions to prevent overfishing
‚ÄĘ Essential natural resource damage assessment activities associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident
‚ÄĘ Water level data for ships entering U.S. ports, critical nautical chart updates and accurate position information.
‚ÄĘ Patent and trademark application processing
‚ÄĘ Operation of the national timing and synchronization infrastructure as well as the National Vulnerability Database
‚ÄĘ Maintenance, continuity and protection of certain research property and critical data records
‚ÄĘ All services of the National Technical Information Service
‚ÄĘ Export enforcement ‚Äď the ongoing conduct of criminal investigations, and prosecutions, and coordination with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies in furtherance of our national security
‚ÄĘ Budget operations required to support excepted activities under a shutdown, such as tracking of obligations and funds control.

The following services and activities will not be available during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

‚ÄĘ Most research activities at NIST and NOAA (excluding real-time regular models on research computers used for Hurricane and FAA flight planning)
‚ÄĘ Assistance and support to recipients of grant funding
‚ÄĘ Technical oversight of non-mission essential contracts
‚ÄĘ Services and activities provided by:
‚ąíBureau of Economic Analysis
‚ąíEconomic Development Administration
‚ąíEconomics and Statistics Administration
‚ąíMinority Business Development Agency
‚ąíBureau of the Census
‚ÄĘ Most services and activities provided by the International Trade Administration

The Billion Dollar Roundtable

Guest blog post by David Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. Cross-posted from MBDA.gov.

Each year, since 1955, Fortune Magazine ranks the 500 largest corporations in the United States.  Corporations that are part of the Fortune 500, purchase goods and services from other businesses which in turn support thousands of other companies and millions of jobs across the nation.  Becoming a supplier to a major corporation is a growth strategy that many minority-owned firms incorporate into their business plans, and Fortune 500 corporations have responded by launching supplier diversity programs.  Some are more successful than others. 

The Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR) was created 12 years ago to identify and honor those Fortune 500 corporations that have embraced the value of working with diverse suppliers and procuring quality products and services to satisfy their corporate needs.   Every corporation that is a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable is formally committed to procuring at least $1 billion annually in goods and services from minority and women-owned businesses.  Today, there are 18 corporate members of the BDR, with many more on their way to achieving the $1 billion threshold.

Although $1 billion is the benchmark for joining the Billion Dollar Roundtable, AT&T is one corporation exceeding that goal.

On August 21st, I attended the Billion Dollar Roundtable annual summit, where attendees shared best practices in supply chain diversity excellence. There were also discussions about new strategies and opportunities to increase the number of Fortune 500 corporations in the Billion Dollar Roundtable. The Roundtable has accomplished a lot since its founding in 2001.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Visit With Commerce Employees in Denver, Colorado

Secretary Penny Pritzker Meets with Commerce Employees in the Denver Office

While in Denver, Colorado, as part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Pritzker met with the heads of the Commerce Department’s local offices, including: International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Inspector General (IG), and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). In addition to these meetings, she also spoke to employees about their work and ways in which their efforts are supporting economic growth and development in Colorado.

Today’s discussion in Denver served as an extension of an employee town hall she held yesterday in Boulder. The secretary emphasized how their work is crucial to creating a better quality of life for Americans and more opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. She also asked employees for their input in the department’s ongoing efforts to protect, promote, and inform what America needs to be competitive and innovative in the 21st century.

These employee engagement opportunities are part of the secretary’s overall efforts to serve as a bridge to the business community so that the public and private sectors can work together to create jobs and opportunities for all Americans.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Visits MBDA Team

Secretary Penny Pritzker Stands with the MBDA Leadership Team Outside Their Offices

Crossposted from MBDA.gov.

Newly appointed Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) employees during their staff meeting Monday.

During the visit, Secretary Pritzker talked to MBDA staff about her commitment to supporting the Agency’s mission of helping minority-owned businesses grow and create American jobs.

The secretary, who was familiar with MBDA’s work prior to joining Commerce, commended the agency on their recent annual performance report, and told employees that she looks forward to working with them to further the department’s mission.

During her recent address to the Commerce workforce, Secretary Pritzker emphasized she would work every day ‚Äď 24/7 ‚Äď to ensure that everyone in Washington, DC, across the country and around the world knows the great work agencies and employees are doing.

MBDA National Director David Hinson, speaking on behalf of the MBDA team, said that he was thrilled the secretary took time to visit the agency’s employees so early in her tenure, adding that the visit is an example of her commitment to employees, businesses and the nation’s economy.

MBDA is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. Our programs and services equip minority-owned firms to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues and expand regionally, nationally and internationally. Services are provided through a nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers, as well as through MBDA headquarters and a National Federal Procurement Center in Washington, DC.

MBDA’s Business Centers Expand Reach

MBDA logo

Celebrated since 1963, National Small Business Week recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Entrepreneurship is an integral part of our country’s DNA and increasing numbers of minorities are becoming entrepreneurs. However, starting a business can be challenging in that the majority of small- to medium-sized businesses often lack access and visibility to helpful resources.

Through a national network of nearly 40 business centers and a wide range of domestic and international strategic partners, the Minority Business Development Agency provides minority-owned businesses with technical assistance and access to capital, contract opportunities and new markets to create new jobs and support the economy. Nationwide MBDA Business Centers help provide heightened visibility and access to valuable opportunities for minority-owned firms through partnerships with multi-national corporations, industry coalitions, and government agencies.

For Kevin Robinson, CEO of RFS Group, LLC, in Indianapolis, IN, hard work and determination helped get his full service janitorial company off the ground. However, taking the business to the next level required some help. Robinson contacted the MBDA Business Center in Indianapolis for direction. The Center provided Robinson with procurement assistance and business counseling. As a result, RFS secured several contracts valued at $16,700, and it was able to hire eight additional employees. Within six months of partnering with the Center, RFS saw its revenues increase by 10 percent.

Commerce Department Supports Disaster Relief Across the Country

A tornado funnel cloud

Only a few weeks ago, an EF5 tornado ripped through Oklahoma.  The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season just began, and forecasts predict that it will be a very active season. Whenever events like these may occur, the Department of Commerce is ready to help communities across the country prepare for and recover from natural disasters.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is one of the Commerce bureaus that assist in disaster-recovery efforts. Just last month, EDA announced grants totaling $54.1 million for disaster relief to 15 communities in 12 states and territories. For example, EDA announced a $20 million investment that will help redevelop the 20th Street corridor in Joplin, Missouri, where a devastating tornado in May 2011 claimed 161 lives, flattened large sections of the city, and destroyed more than 7,000 housing units.

Some other recently announced recovery projects include:

  • rebuilding a flood-damaged railroad bridge across the Judith River in Montana that provides the sole freight link for numerous farming communities;
  • providing communities in New England that were devastated by Tropical Strom Irene with the means to provide technical assistance to small businesses and local governments; and
  • rebuilding public infrastructure in downtown Minot, North Dakota, an area that was destroyed by flooding of the Mouse River.

These projects are part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support in communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011.

Doing Business in Africa Forum Presents Opportunities for American Businesses in Sub-Saharan Region

Francisco S√°nchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Minority Business Development Agency National Director David Hinson Address the Doing Business in Africa Forum

Guest blog post by Francisco S√°nchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and David Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency

Earlier this week, we attended the Doing Business in Africa Forum at the White House. This was the first forum of the Doing Business in Africa campaign that the Commerce Department launched three months ago in Johannesburg, South Africa. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank gave the opening remarks and focused on strengthening commercial ties between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. She emphasized that as the continent‚Äôs wealth increases, so does the demand for improved infrastructure, energy services, and high-quality consumer and agricultural products ‚Äď all of which American companies are well positioned to provide. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the ten fastest-growing countries in the world, which helps explain why over the past decade, U.S. trade to and from Africa has tripled, with U.S. exports now topping $21 billion.  Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor for Strategic Engagement, welcomed the group of federal government officials, African-born U.S. business and financial leaders, and African-American entrepreneurs, corporate executives, fund managers and investment advisors. Mr. Strautmanis emphasized the need for a collective approach from federal agencies to provide expanded investment and trade financing support to help U.S businesses become more effective global competitors, particularly in the Sub-Saharan region.

Amplifying that message, both of us, along with representatives from government entities including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Millennium Challenge Corporation, described for the assembled group how all of our services are structured under the Doing Business in Africa campaign to help them seize opportunities in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. 

Presidential Proclamation‚ÄĒMinority Enterprise Development Week, 2012

This week the Minority Business Development Agency will be hosting the 30th Anniversary National Minority Enterprise Development Week and on Friday, November 30, 2012, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation about Minority Enterprise Development Week, 2012.

MINORITY ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT WEEK, 2012

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

At the core of who we are as a Nation is a fundamental belief: that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, if you have an idea and a willingness to work hard, you can succeed. It is this belief that leads a worker to leave a job to become her own boss, propels a basement inventor to sell a new product, or drives an amateur chef to open a restaurant. It is this belief that has drawn millions to our shores and spurred America's prosperity for centuries.

The belief in tomorrow's promise is guiding minority entrepreneurs across our country to start the kinds of businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. With a combined economic output of $1 trillion, minority-owned firms are key producers in an array of industries, hubs of innovation and new technology, and engines of job creation in our communities.

Because the continued growth and success of minority enterprises is essential to our economic recovery, my Administration has taken steps to help bolster these businesses. Through the Minority Business Development Agency, we are providing access to capital, consulting, contracts, and markets to minority entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses at home and overseas. We are also making it easier for business owners to find Federal resources with www.BusinessUSA.gov, a centralized, one-stop platform for businesses to access services to help them grow and hire.

As the number and size of minority-owned firms continue to expand, we must harness the diversity and power of these businesses to help strengthen our economy and put people back to work. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Minority Enterprise Development Week, let us honor the role America's minority-owned businesses play in spurring our prosperity and recommit to equipping them with the tools for success in the 21st century.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 2 through December 8, 2012, as Minority Enterprise Development Week. I call upon all Americans to celebrate this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities to recognize the many contributions of our Nation's minority enterprises.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

MBDA National Director Hinson Builds Relationships with Brazil In Line with Obama Administration NEI Goals

With Director Hinson (right) are Ms. Reta Jo Lewis, S/Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of State Mr. Julio Semeghini, Secretary of State, S√£o Paulo, Planning and Regional Development


The Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) National Director David Hinson wrapped up a five-day trip to Brasilia and S√£o Paulo, Brazil, on August 24. 

The trip provided an opportunity for Commerce’s MBDA to help push forward on the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative (NEI) by fostering greater access to emerging markets in Brazil for minority business enterprises. Helping the administration achieve its NEI goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014 is a top priority for MBDA, because more exports mean more jobs. Through the NEI, MBDA is thinking strategically about the sectors and markets that give America’s minority businesses a comparative advantage globally. Brazil is one of those key markets.

During the trip, Director Hinson met with Brazil‚Äôs Ministry of Foreign Relations and Brazilian business owners to discuss how MBDA can help U.S. minority-owned businesses enterprises (MBEs) improve their return on investment through strategic partnerships and gain access to the unprecedented opportunities in the United States and Brazil‚ÄĒthe two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere.

MBDA Achieves 130x Return on Taxpayer Investment in FY2011

Front Cover of the Minority Business Development Agency's FY 2011 Annual Performance Report

Guest blog post by David Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency

When Muhammad Ali, the legendary world heavyweight boxing champion, was asked by reporters why he kept boasting about being the greatest in the ring, he used to say, ‚ÄúIt isn‚Äôt bragging if you can back it up.‚ÄĚ

The MBDA FY2011 Annual Performance Report (APR) (7MB PDF) backs up what we’ve been saying about MBDA’s achievements under President Obama. In 2011, we registered the best performance in our 43-year history. It was our third record-breaking year in a row.

The recently released APR presents detailed information about the contracts and capital MBDA helped obtain for minority-owned businesses, along with the number of new jobs created. It also highlights our strategic and organizational accomplishments.

Let me give you just a few of those highlights.

Despite the serious head winds the economy is facing, more than 5,780 new jobs were created by minority-owned firms working with MBDA and its network of MBDA Business Centers in FY 2011.  MBDA assisted minority-owned businesses in obtaining access to nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital.

During the first three years of the Obama Administration,

  • MBDA facilitated a total of more than 16,300 new jobs, an increase of 20% over the prior three-year period.  
  • MBDA directly served more than 17,400 minority-owned businesses and indirectly served thousands more, a 36% increase over the prior three-year period.
  • And MBDA achieved a Return on taxpayer Investment (ROI) between 102x and 130x, an impressive 86% increase over the prior three-year period. 

MBDA’s FY2011 APR also presents a state-by-state detailed analysis of the performance of minority-owned businesses broken down by industry.

MBDA: Strengthening Support to Minority-Owned Firms

MBDA logo

Guest blog post by David A. Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency
 
Supporting the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned businesses is a priority for the Department of Commerce and the Obama administration.

And we’re making good on that priority. Last year, the Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) registered the best annual performance in its 41-year history. It assisted minority-owned businesses in gaining access to nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital, supporting the creation of nearly 6,000 much-needed jobs. Over the last three years, our network of 39 MBDA Business Centers, has been largely responsible for generating $10 billion in contracts and capital while helping to create and save nearly 20,000 jobs.

Today, the challenge for MBDA‚Äďlike so many organizations across the federal government‚Äďis to figure out how we build on that record while becoming more efficient.  A number of bureaus right here within the Commerce Department are facing a similar challenge, which has led, for example, to consolidating or otherwise cutting several programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), restructuring some units within International Trade Administration (ITA) and shifting the Economic Development Administration‚Äôs (EDA) emphasis to regional innovation strategies. So how do we at MBDA meet the President‚Äôs mandate to improve services to minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in an increasingly difficult budget environment?

The answer for our Bureau started with looking at the grassroots where MBDA interacts on a daily basis with minority business owners. Our front lines are our 39 MBDA Business Centers and related business development support services. Our plan is to strengthen connections at that level to enhance services and get more for your tax dollar.

Commerce Secretary John Bryson Meets with the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise

NACMBE with Secretary John Bryson

Data from the Department of Commerce reveal that minority-owned firms are an engine of job growth and are more likely to export than non-minority-owned firms. These firms account for $1 trillion in gross receipts and employ almost six million Americans. To bolster the economic impact of minority entrepreneurs across the county, the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise (NACMBE) was established in April 2010.  

Commerce Secretary John Bryson hosted the fifth meeting of the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise today at the Commerce Department. The Council, co-chaired by Mark Hoplamazian, CEO of Hyatt Hotel Corporation, and Janice Savin-Williams, co-founder and principal, Williams Capital Group, includes CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and scholarly research experts.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs clear that minority communities and minority-owned businesses were hit hard in the recession. However, in the last 22 months, 3.2 million jobs were created.  Also, credit is flowing again to a certain degree,‚ÄĚ Bryson said today. ‚ÄúBut with your help, we can foster an environment where minority entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders can do what they do best‚Äďcreate jobs.‚ÄĚ  

MBDA Presents $1.775 Million Grant to Open New Business Center

MBDA National Director David Hinson Presents SoCal Corporate Growth Partners for with a grant for $1.75 million

Today the Commerce Department‚Äôs Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) presented a grant to SoCal Corporate Growth Partners for $1.775 million to operate a new MBDA Business Center in Riverside, California. 

MBDA National Director David Hinson was joined by Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge and Daniel Sieu, CEO & President of SoCal Corporate Growth Partners to celebrate the opening of the new Riverside MBDA Business Center, which will be operated over five years. 

This Business Center is a part of a network of 45 centers that operate nationally under the auspices of MBDA designed to help minority-owned firms secure capital for new equipment and facilities; compete for public and private sector contracts; and prepare for exporting opportunities.  The Centers also provide strategic advice on supplier diversity programs to help make buyers more effective and efficient in meeting their goals.

The most recently opened business centers were in Boston, MA, Minneapolis, MN and Manhattan, NY. 

Federal Government Help for Manufacturing Companies: How Commerce Contributes

US-Made Auto Parts

In last night's State of the Union address, President Obama laid out proposals for how to bring about a new era of American manufacturing, with more good jobs and more products stamped Made in the USA.  A few of the proposals are:

  • Reward companies for bringing jobs back to America.
  • Lower tax rates for companies that manufacture and create jobs in the United States.
  • Get tough on trade enforcement.
  • Create more jobs and make us more competitive by rebuilding America using half of the savings from ending foreign wars.

These proposals build upon the efforts already underway by the White House.

At the Department of Commerce, we support manufacturers in a multitude of ways:

New Job Creation and Economic Impact Dominate Big Numbers for Minority Business Development Agency

Warehouse with workers (Photo: USDA)

2011 proved to be another highly productive year for Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)‚ÄĒthe only federal agency tasked to promote the growth and global competitiveness of the minority business community. MBDA is a leader in strengthening the economy and improving the lives of all Americans. We support job growth and economic expansion through a network of MBDA business centers, collaboration with federal, state and local government agencies, and strategic partnerships. The U.S. economy continues to benefit from a strong minority business sector as illustrated by our big numbers below.

  • $1.0 trillion‚ÄĒThe combined economic output of the nation‚Äôs 5.8 million minority-owned and operated businesses that provide goods and services across all industry sectors, including renewable energy, environmental remediation, manufacturing, information technology and telecommunications.  
  • $10 billion‚ÄĒThe total dollar value of public and private sector contracts and capital that MBDA and its network of business centers obtained for minority-owned firms since the beginning of the Obama administration.
  • 15,000 plus‚ÄĒThe number of new jobs created by minority business enterprises as a result of working with MBDA and its network of business centers during the first three years of the Obama administration. 
  • 125X‚ÄĒThe return on investment the U.S. taxpayer receives from MBDA due to its increased operating efficiencies and focus on job creation.  

We anticipate 2012 will be another great year for the Minority Business Development Agency as we launch new business services, push global exporting opportunities and release recommendations from the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise. To learn more about what we have planned and how we can help you create jobs and improve your business, subscribe to the MBDA newsletter, visit an MBDA Business Center, and come to our 30th National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference.

Obama Administration Investment Promotes Job Growth and Mitigates Environmental Risk in Tribal Communities

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez Participates in the Third Tribal Nations Conference at the White House

Guest blog post by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John R. Fernandez

This year, President Obama hosted the third White House Tribal Nations Conference to hear directly from tribal leaders about their priorities. I had the opportunity to address some of the representatives of federally recognized tribes during a series of briefings and listening sessions hosted by the White House.

The President is committed to strengthening the government-to-government relationship with Indian Country and partnering and investing to find solutions to complex issues and to win the future for Indian Country.

Environmental challenges are affecting tribal economies. The Obama administration has taken significant steps to mitigate environmental risks and strengthen the capacity of reservations to meet the training and economic needs of their communities.

Native Americans living on reservations experience higher incidences of environmentally-related health issues than other groups, including in the upper Missouri River basin. This includes 19 reservations in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, along the Missouri River system and its tributaries where minerals and wildlife are abundant both in water and on land. Unfortunately, as concerns about the environment have plagued these communities, the response has not been timely or meaningful. These are areas of the country where the norm is economic depression and generational unemployment. In some cases unemployment rates approach 90 percent. The impacts of environmental degradation have contributed to stagnant business growth in these rural communities and severely limited opportunities for workers.

Boston MBDA Business Center Opens to Assist Minority Businesses

Dr. Frederick McKinney, President & CEO, Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and MBDA National Director David Hinson

On Tuesday, David A. Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) joined legislators, dignitaries, and business owners in celebrating the opening of the new MBDA Business Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

The new center will receive a five-year $1,375,000 federal grant from MBDA to operate in the Boston area to assist minority businesses to successfully compete globally and domestically, and to gain access to contracts, capital and markets. The center will be operated by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC).

Acting Secretary Blank Addresses Minority-Owned Businesses about the Importance of the American Jobs Act

Acting Secretary Blank Addresses MED Week 2011

This morning Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank addressed the 29th Annual Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference about the importance of Congress passing the American Jobs Act. Dr. Blank emphasized that the American Jobs Act will help a private sector in need of a little boost. It will create jobs. It will prevent the layoffs of teachers and first responders. And it will rebuild the roads, railways and airports that form the very backbone of Commerce. 

She noted that the Obama Administration knows government can’t solve all the problems facing our country. What it can do is help lay a foundation for growth and create smart incentives for minority entrepreneurs and all American businesses to build something special on top of that foundation.

As part of this commitment to business and job growth, among the programs the administration has created are:

  • The Startup America Initiative, which connects established private sector mentors to innovative entrepreneurs;
  • The Small Business Jobs Act, which is providing billions of dollars in lending support and tax cuts for small businesses;
  • The $33 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to drive job growth through public-private partnerships in regions around the country, and we‚Äôre pleased to note that three MBDA centers were among the winners.
  • The National Export Initiative, which Commerce leads, is aimed at connecting small and medium sized enterprises with the 95 percent of the world‚Äôs consumer who live outside our border and doubling U.S. exports by 2015; and,
  • New aggressive steps by federal agencies, which are the nation‚Äôs largest purchaser of goods and services, to improve contracting with small businesses, including minority-owned firms.

The goal is simple. It is to improve the overall competitiveness of American business at home and abroad.

Spotlight on Commerce: Alejandra Castillo, Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency

Alejandra Y. Castillo is the National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Alejandra Y. Castillo is the National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.

Since joining the Minority Business Development Agency in April 2010, I serve as the principal advisor to the MBDA National Director and manage the day-to-day activities of the Agency‚Äôs 5 Regional Offices and 48 Minority Business Centers. These Offices and Business Centers are vital centers of economic growth and job creation. Under the Obama Administration, MBDA has assisted minority-owned firms in obtaining nearly $7 billion in contracts and capital, creating nearly 11,000 during the last two years.  As the National Deputy Director, I am also responsible for executing the Agency‚Äôs mission to help Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) grow and succeed through access to capital, access to contract and access to business opportunities both domestically and abroad.

Prior to MBDA, I served as Special Advisor to the Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce‚Äôs International Trade Administration (ITA) where I was responsible for business outreach and development of policy initiatives geared at trade promotion and enforcement of U.S. trade laws. Before coming to the Department of Commerce, I was a practicing attorney for several years, working in the private, government and non-profit sector.  I also served as the Interim Executive Director of the Hispanic National Bar Association working with the White House and non-profit organization, such as the Latinos for a Fair Judiciary, in support of the nomination and confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.

Creating Jobs For All Americans

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Logo

In the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama asked every American to take steps to ‚ÄėWin the Future‚Äô by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competitors.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the United States Department of Commerce is the only federal agency tasked to create new jobs by expanding the U.S. economy though the nation’s 5.8 million minority-owned and operated businesses. The minority business community accounts for over $1 trillion in economic output to the nation and provides nearly six million jobs for U.S. citizens.

MBDA experienced record performance in 2010. The Agency created 6,397 new jobs by assisting minority-owned companies in obtaining nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital, an historic high. During the first two years of the Obama Administration, MBDA created nearly 11,000 new jobs and saved tens of thousands of existing jobs while helping minority-owned firms obtain nearly $7 billion in contracts and capital. In FY 2010, MBDA’s Return on Investment (ROI) was 125x, up from 102x in 2009 and from 70x at the end of the prior administration. This speaks to the increased operating efficiency of the agency during this Administration.

MBDA Opens New Business Center in Cleveland

Director Hinson and officials shown with presentation check

Cleveland is the home of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) newest business center. On Thursday, Sept. 1, more than 250 people turned out for the Cleveland MBDA Business Center’s grand opening and press conference held at the Wyndham Hotel.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, (D-Ohio) delivered remarks; and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson presented a proclamation recognizing the center’s role in the city.

MBDA National Director David Hinson delivered remarks to the crowd, challenging business owners to take advantage of the new opportunities that will be available through the business center in creating access to capital, contracts and markets.

The $1,125,000 five-year federal grant check was presented to center operator Andrew Jackson, Senior V. P. and Executive Director of the Commission on Economic Inclusion, Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Following the open house and tour of the center, a select group of minority business owners and key economic development stakeholders were invited to a White House Business Roundtable, where business owners shared in a candid conversation about their issues and concerns.

Director Hinson challenged business owners to consider what their companies specifically need to create ‚Äúone more job.‚ÄĚ  

MBDA Business Centers assist minority entrepreneurs with strategic business consulting services. Centers work directly with minority business owners and managers at the local level and provide enhanced assistance through MBDA‚Äôs national strategic partners, both within the federal government and the private sector.  

Minority Business Development Agency: Helping Rural Business Owners Create Jobs

Image of products from Sister Sky

Since the start of this administration, the Minority Business Development Agency has helped minority-owned firms gain access to $7 billion in contracts. Those firms are located in cities and rural communities throughout the country. However, what these firms have in common is their tenacity, innovation and creativity.

MBDA has made a point of ensuring that minority-owned firms are given access through our 50 center touch points located throughout the country. Among our MBDA business centers is the Native American Business Enterprise Center (NABEC) program.

Each NABEC leverages project staff and professional consultants to provide a wide range of direct business assistance services to eligible Native American, tribal entity and minority-owned firms.

MBDA’s NABEC services include initial consultation and assessments, business technical assistance, and access to federal and non-federal procurement and finance opportunities.

MBDA Helps Minority-Owned Businesses Win the Future

Workers installing solar panels on reservation building

Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is enabling job creation and growth within minority-owned companies as they expand through innovation and untapped resources. MBDA has 50 business development centers and regional offices throughout the country and is preparing to open its newest business center in Cleveland, Ohio, in September to continue to create an environment for support, technical training and access to capital, contracts and to markets for business owners there.

Knowing that many jobs of the 21st century will be in clean and renewable energy, green technology, and Healthcare IT, the MBDA Business Centers are reaching out to minority-owned firms so they can expand into those new areas and keep communities strong and workers employed.

For example, MBDA client Sacred Power Corporation Inc. based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a Native-American-owned renewable and distributive energy manufacturer. Sacred Power operates on the principle that ‚Äúthe world in which we live can change its current direction and dependence on polluting energy sources and convert to renewable technologies that provide clean, long-term solutions to today‚Äôs energy problems.‚ÄĚ

MBDA National Director Highlights Opportunities for Partnerships as a Global Growth Strategy at London Symposium

David Hinson, Director of MBDA

The Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) National Director David A. Hinson traveled to London this week to discuss mergers and acquisitions as a global growth strategy for middle-market minority businesses. At the Third Global Merger & Acquisition Symposium: The New Economics for the Private Middle Market, Hinson explained that minority-owned businesses offer international investors above average return prospects and a powerful market entry vehicle into the United States and other countries.

‚ÄúWithin every market there are hidden and often undervalued opportunities that support both market entry and the potential for outsized profit,‚ÄĚ Hinson said. ‚ÄúOne of these hidden opportunities within the United States is called the minority business community.‚ÄĚ

The U.S. minority business community represents $1 trillion of U.S. economic output, and if measured against the size of countries around the world, it would be the 17th richest nation. The minority business sector has also shown the greatest growth dynamics in the U.S. economy in terms of gross receipts, growing at 56 percent based on the latest Census Bureau data.

Now totaling 5.8 million, minority-owned companies in the United States have over $2.46 trillion in total annual purchasing power.

‚ÄúPartnering with a U.S. minority-owned firm and leveraging not just the firm‚Äôs U.S. market presence but the ‚ÄúMade in America‚ÄĚ brand can be a winning proposition for a new entrant to a foreign market.‚ÄĚ

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

This blog post is about an older plan. The United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations at the end of FY 2013 is available here.

The current FY 2011 Continuing Resolution may expire without new budget authority. While it is not anticipated that there will be a lapse in appropriations, the Department must be prepared for a potential lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations.

Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations in the absence of appropriations (a "shutdown plan"). This plan will likely be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, as the situation develops, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant.

This plan complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce.

Files

Economic Development Organizations from Across the Nation Work to Create New Jobs at Hannover Messe 2011

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan open the Invest in America Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2011.

Guest Blog Post by Brian McGowan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

21 Economic Development Organization’s (EDOs) from across the nation are working today to create new jobs in their regions by participating in the U.S. Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011, the world's largest industrial technology showcase. The event runs from April 4-8, 2011 in Hannover, Germany.

The purpose of the program is to promote the Obama administration's National Export Initiative (NEI) as well as to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the U.S. By leading regional business clusters abroad, the Department of Commerce is aiding communities in promoting their regions as ideal locations to do business.

The program is the product of a unique partnership formed by the Commerce Department‚Äôs Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the International Trade Administration‚Äôs U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), and Invest In America (IIA) programs. 

Spotlight on Commerce: David Hinson, National Director of MBDA

David Hinson, Director of MBDA

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the President's vision of winning the future through their work.

David Hinson is the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.

As I travel around the country, I am in awe of the tenacity and the indomitable spirit of minority business owners and their unwillingness to quit in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s the spirit that makes America great.

As the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), I am proud to be a part of this Administration and a part of an Agency where our work helps to expand the U.S. economy and create new jobs through the historically underutilized minority business community.

I have the privilege of serving on the senior staff of the Secretary of Commerce and serving as Bureau Chief of MBDA, as well as engaging with various stakeholders, members of Congress, minority-owned and operated businesses, and nonprofit organizations that support minority business development across the nation.

MBDA is a national organization with more than 46 business centers in five regions, which generates nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital for minority-owned businesses. We also create thousands of jobs for all Americans and help save thousands of existing jobs.

Minority-owned firms are an engine of job creation for the U.S. economy, outpacing growth within the general business community for most of the last decade. Collectively, minority-owned businesses generate $1 trillion in economic output and create nearly 6 million jobs. They also possess almost $2.5 trillion in buying power.

My first introduction to business was as a child growing up in St. Louis, MO. I learned lessons about entrepreneurship from my next door neighbor who ran a small cookie distribution company from his home.  He taught me about the importance of inventory and business efficiencies. While I was a dreamer, who often thought about what people were doing in other countries, my parents‚Äô neighbors and teachers taught me that simply dreaming wasn‚Äôt enough. Making dreams come to fruition requires true grit and determination.

Build It Here: American Manufacturing

During the course of our economic recovery since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, domestic manufacturing has been a star. In the past, manufacturing output and job growth have typically lagged behind the economy’s overall recovery in the United States. But this time, manufacturing has led the way.

Manufacturing activity expanded in January at its fastest pace in seven years, recording its 18th month of growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management‚Äôs January manufacturing index. As Commerce Department Chief Economist Mark Doms noted recently in his new blog, manufacturing jobs are associated with relatively high wages, hence the commonly used phrase ‚Äúgood jobs‚ÄĚ in reference to those created in the industry.

In the video below, U.S. companies from a wide range of industries from health care to plastics talk about why they manufacture their goods in America. The United States offers a highly educated workforce, strong intellectual property protections, and a business climate that supports and encourages innovation. For ET Water, Labcon, Supracor and others, manufacturing in America just makes smart business sense.

See video

Black-Owned Businesses Outpace Growth of Non-Minority-Owned Businesses

Today the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners showing that the number of African American-owned firms in the United States increased by 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007 to 1.9 million firms. African American-owned businesses also drove job creation over the five-year period, with employment growing 22 percent, exceeding that of non-minority-owned businesses.

‚ÄúWe are encouraged by the overall growth of the minority business community, including African American-owned businesses, but we still have a lot of work to do,‚ÄĚ said MBDA National Director David A. Hinson. ‚ÄúCreating new businesses and new jobs on a path to entrepreneurial parity in size, scope and capacity is our primary goal.‚ÄĚ

While minority-owned firms are experiencing substantial growth, African American-owned businesses still only represent 7 percent of all classifiable firms but 12 percent of the adult population. MBDA works to promote the growth and global competitiveness of minority businesses, so they are better equipped to create jobs, boost their local economies and compete in the global marketplace. 

Find out more about African American-owned businesses.

Secretary Locke Announces Members of New National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises

Today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the appointment of 25 members to the new National Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprises.  The advisory council will be led by the Commerce Department‚Äôs Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and provide advice and recommendations to the department and the administration on a broad range of policy issues affecting the minority business community. 

The new council is the first to focus on promoting minority businesses since around 1969, when President Nixon established MBDA ‚Äď formerly the Office of Minority Business Enterprise ‚Äď and an advisory council to oversee and advise the new office.

The minority business community is an engine of economic growth and job creation. Today, there are approximately 5.8 million minority-owned firms generating $1 trillion annually and employing nearly 6 million workers. Yet, there continues to be challenges within the minority business community.  Of those 5.8 million firms, only 800,000 have more than one employee and the gap in average annual revenue between minority-owned and non-minority-owned firms is significant.

The Obama Administration is committed to narrowing that gap and finding ways to support and promote minority businesses. 

‚ÄúThe nation‚Äôs 5.8 million minority-owned firms have significant untapped potential that can benefit the United States,‚ÄĚ said David A. Hinson, MBDA‚Äôs national director. ‚ÄúThe advisory council has an opportunity to shape future policies and programs that will set the foundation for the growth of $100 million companies across all industries that are owned and operated by U.S. minorities.‚ÄĚ

The first meeting of the new National Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprises is planned for early 2011.

 

Hispanic-Owned Businesses Grow by More than Double the National Rate

The Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency and U.S. Census Bureau today announced that the number of Hispanic-owned firms increased by nearly 44 percent between 2002 and 2007 from 1.6 million businesses to 2.3 million, according to new data released today from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners. Employment at Hispanic-owned firms also grew by 26 percent from 1.5 million to 1.9 million workers, a growth rate significantly higher than that of non-minority-owned firms.

‚ÄúIt is encouraging that the Hispanic business community is growing, but we need to create the right conditions for Hispanic-owned businesses to grow more quickly,‚ÄĚ MBDA‚Äôs National Director David A. Hinson said. ‚ÄúWe encourage Hispanic-owned businesses to explore new markets and take advantage of their existing cultural, family or business ties in foreign countries to export as a means to grow and compete in today‚Äôs global economy.‚ÄĚ

Hispanic-owned businesses generated $345.2 billion in sales in 2007, up 55.5 percent compared with 2002. And of all Hispanic-owned firms with employees, approximately 44,000 have revenues of more than $1 million, representing an increase of more than 51 percent over 2002.

While these are welcome improvements for Hispanic-owned businesses and the minority business community, there is still significant room for growth. Learn how the Minority Business Development Agency can help you grow your minority business.

Today‚Äôs newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau is available by geographic area, industry and size of business.  |  Full release  |  Noticias en espa√Īol

Secretary Locke Addresses Exports, Economic Growth and Job Creation with Minority Businesses

Secretary Locke talks at MED Week

On the final day of the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference hosted by the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed minority business owners, government officials and corporate representatives and officially opened a Business-to-Business Expo Hall.

Locke discussed President Obama‚Äôs National Export Initiative (NEI) and how minority businesses can become more competitive and increase job creation and economic growth by participating in the global marketplace. Minority businesses already export twice as much as the average business, as they often have existing cultural, family or business ties to foreign countries. The NEI seeks to build on that, with a goal of increasing the number of small-, medium- and minority-owned businesses exporting to more than one market by 50 percent over the next five years.

Following his remarks, Locke officially opened and toured the Business-to-Business Expo Hall, which includes exhibit booths and one-on-one matching services with more than $20 billion in opportunities for minority businesses. The expo also offers 20-minute power-learning sessions conducted by public- and private-sector partners.

The MED Week Conference wraps up Friday night with the Awards Gala. U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower will highlight the impact of minority-owned firms on the global economy and thank the MED Week award winners for their hard work.   Remarks

Minority Business Development Agency Kicks Off National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference

Conference to help expand global reach for minority-owned firms

Alternate TextToday Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) kicked off the 28th annual National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, D.C.  The week-long conference focuses on ‚ÄúStrategies for Growth and Competitiveness in the Global Economy.‚ÄĚ

The MED Week conference helps minority-owned firms grow domestically and globally through a series of educational, training and business-to-business networking events. Throughout MED Week, nearly 1,500 minority business owners, government officials and corporate representatives will hear about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and develop the skills to become export-ready. They will also have the chance to participate in sessions on opportunities for minority-owned firms in federal contracting and Haiti reconstruction, among others. The week will wrap up with an awards gala to honor excellence in minority-owned firms.

MBDA and National Director David Hinson will welcome several speakers to this week’s conference, including: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Administrator of the Small Business Administration Karen G. Mills, U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Dennis Hightower, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez.

MBDA is focused on helping minority-owned firms grow their businesses domestically and globally to foster job creation and economic growth. For more information about the conference and a video of National Director Hinson at MED Week, visit http://www.medweek.gov.  |  Conference details and more  | USPTO Kappos's remarks

MBDA Unveils First U.S. Global Construction Program for Minority-Owned Firms

Secretary Locke with participants at National Press ClubProgram to provide minority-owned firms with education, mentoring and ability to compete for $1 billion in global construction procurement opportunities

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower, Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the International Trade Administration (ITA), the Tutor Perini Corporation, and the University of Southern California‚Äôs School of Policy, Planning and Development today announced the nation‚Äôs first program created to globalize the U.S. minority-owned construction industry by providing education, mentoring and procurement opportunities to minority-owned firms. Firms that complete the program will have the opportunity to compete for a minimum of $1 billion in Tutor Perini contracts, primarily international contracts, over a four-year period.

‚ÄúThis program could not be more relevant in today‚Äôs economy, where global competition is tougher than ever before,‚ÄĚ said Hightower. ‚ÄúPresident Obama has set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years though his National Export Initiative and we need every stakeholder in America actively engaged in re-building our economy to create new jobs.‚ÄĚ

An unprecedented public-private program spearheaded by MBDA, the Global Construction Program will prepare 150 high capacity, minority-owned and operated general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to compete for construction opportunities worldwide. Participating firms will receive training, education and mentoring, as well as a new, broader source of contracting opportunities. Tutor Perini Corporation is one of the nation‚Äôs largest global construction conglomerates and a leader in supplier diversity within the construction industry. 

Pictured are Ralph Moore, President and CEO, Ralph G. Moore & Associates, Jennifer Grodsky, Executive Director, Federal Relations, University of Southern California,  Richard Rizzo, Executive Vice President, Tutor Perini Corporation, Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower, and MBDA National Director David Hinson.  Read more

Commerce Department Recruiting Industry Experts to Serve on New Advisory Council on Minority Business

Comerce seal

The Commerce Department is recruiting leaders from the private sector to serve on the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise (NACMBE). The council will provide advice and guidance to the Secretary on key issues, including policies that would best position minority-owned firms to compete in the global economy: access to capital, expanded participation in emerging industries, and improved access to the global supply chains of the world’s largest corporations. Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will assist the Secretary in overseeing the Advisory Council. (More) (Nomination notice)

Secretary Locke Joins President Obama and Administration Officials at White House Tribal Nations Conference

Secretaries Salazar, Vilsack and Locke seen at conference.

Photo-capture from White House Web stream

U.S. Commerce Secretary Locke joined President Obama and high-level administration officials at the White House Tribal Nations Conference to highlight the department’s ongoing efforts to support economic development in Native American communities through the Minority Business Development Agency and other department bureaus. The conference provided leaders from 564 federally-recognized tribes the opportunity to have interactive discussions with administration officials regarding: economic development, public safety, housing, education, health and labor. (Remarks)

Secretary Lock Gives Keynote at MED Week, Follows White House Event for National MED Week Awardees

MED Week logo. Click to go to MED Week Web site.

Secretary Gary Locke laid out the Obama Administration’s strategy to expand opportunities for minority businesses. In his keynote, Locke outlined how the President’s Recovery Act is giving businesses access to billions of dollars in loan guarantees, and how it seeks to reorient America’s energy policy towards providing new manufacturing jobs in clean energy. Locke called for reform of the healthcare system so that small- and medium-sized businesses can better afford health benefits for their workers. On Wednesday, Secretary Locke and Vice President Joe Biden congratulated the 2009 National Excellence in Minority Business Award Winners at a reception at the White House. (Remarks)

Earvin "Magic" Johnson to Keynote MBDA's Annual MED Week Conference

Earvin “Magic” Johnson will keynote the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, August 26-28. Also participating as speakers will be U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, new MBDA National Director David Hinson, and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills. The conference will focus on fostering innovation, competitiveness and opportunities for minority businesses to retool and rebuild America’s infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (More) (Registration)

Locke Announces St. Louis Native to Lead MBDA

File photo of David Hinson smiling.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the appointment of David Hinson, a St. Louis native with more than 20 years of business experience, as the new administrator of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This agency is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in the United States.“The success of minority-owned businesses is essential to our economic recovery, and I’m counting on David to maximize their opportunities,” Locke said. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Efforts to Support Minority Business Access to Recovery Act Opportunities

MBDA lgo. Click to go to MBDA Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced significant efforts by the department to support access for minority-owned businesses to Recovery Act opportunities. Locke, along with Commerce senior advisor Rick Wade, held a conference call with reporters today to discuss the department’s commitment to improving outreach and education. “President Obama is committed to ensuring that minority businesses are aware of and have access to federal contracts and funding opportunities,” Locke said. “The success of minority-owned businesses is vital to our economic recovery, and we’re working hard to make sure they have access to these important federal opportunities.” (More) (Commerce.gov/Recovery) (www.mbda.gov)

Minority Business Development Agency Marks 40 Years Promoting Competitive Business Growth

MBDA logo.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is celebrating four decades ofpromoting the establishment and growth of minority businesses. Throughout the year, the MBDA will be highlighting businesses that benefited from its programs and the people and communities it has impacted. MBDA’s Minority Business Blog (www.mbda.gov/blog) which launched in conjunction with the 40th anniversary will tell success stories of minority businesses, offer tips and business solutions for minority entrepreneurs, as well as communicate up-to-date information affecting the minority business community. (More) (Blog)