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Entrepreneur of the Month – July 2016

Blogged By: 
Created on July 15, 2016

Barry Corona“I’ve always had the drive to be an entrepreneur… Of course, getting here was not easy,” said Barry Corona, the Co-Founder & President of Production Products Manufacturing & Sales Co. Inc., and the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) July Entrepreneur of the Month. Corona truly exudes the qualities of an entrepreneur and has recognized his capabilities, utilized his resources, and demonstrated an undeniable work ethic to build his company from the ground up. Production Products is a recognized manufacturing company that specializes in medical isolation and CBRN protection.

Corona was raised in a conservative household that thrived on the premise of stability. His father grew up as a first-generation American during The Great Depression, and admirably quit school in sixth grade to get a job that was needed to help his family survive. As a result, having a job was always the goal in his childhood household—it represented survival and security—but he aspired for more.

Mexico and the United States Expand Relationship Through TPP

Blogged By: 
Leslie Wilson is the Mexico Desk Officer at the ITA
Created on July 12, 2016

Shipping containersThe United States and Mexico share a deep, longstanding relationship that goes far beyond diplomatic relations to include extensive commercial, cultural, and educational ties, with over $1.6 billion in two-way trade of goods and services and roughly one million legal border crossings each day.  Mexico is our second largest export market and third largest source of imports, with annual two-way trade of $580 billion, reflecting the highly integrated nature of our bilateral value chains.

These deep commercial ties not only make Mexico a favorable market for businesses to expand their operations, but they also make it an ideal first market for new exporters.  Mexico is a high-performing, diversified economy with strong macroeconomic fundamentals.  It provides significant opportunities for U.S. exporters in key sectors such as chemicals, automotive products, metals and ores, machinery, and information and communication technologies. In fact, more than 18,000 U.S. companies have operations in Mexico and more than 57,000 U.S. companies exported goods to Mexico in 2013. These goods exports supported over 952,000 U.S. jobs, and services exports supported an additional 192,777 U.S. jobs. In addition to these market opportunities, initiatives between our governments such as the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue promote mutual economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness.

Exports Fuel American Dream at Minority- and Woman-Owned California Small Business

Blogged By: 
Nicole M. Woods, Export-Import Bank Public Affairs Specialist
Created on July 6, 2016

Kusum Kavia, President of CAIOver the last 9 years, minority-and woman-owned business Combustion Associates Inc. (CAI) has significantly grown their business from a small domestic operation to one that generates the majority of its revenue from exports to sub-Saharan Africa, using financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

Established in 1989, the California-based company manufactures and customizes gas turbine power generation systems, bringing dependable electricity to customers from Western Africa to Eastern Asia to South America. CAI's generators and power plants provide a reliable supply of electricity to governments, businesses, schools, and communities where spotty access to power has often hamstrung economic growth.

“We are part of the American dream of owning a business, being entrepreneurial and creating American jobs,” said Kusum Kavia, President of CAI.

Kusum and her husband Mukund were born in Kenya, raised in England, and immigrated to the United States, founding CAI in Corona, California 26 years ago. Beginning as environmental consultants, they moved on to engineering, manufacturing and installing their electrical power equipment and auxiliary systems.

Back to the Future: How MBDA Expanded Its Essence Festival Agenda

Blogged By: 
Sondra Crowley, MBDA Intern
Created on July 1, 2016

The ESSENCE Festival is the nation’s largest annual gathering of African American cultural and lifestyle events, unfolding over days in New Orleans, Louisiana.  While renowned for the entertainers and A-List celebrities it features, the Festival has evolved in recent years to also highlight much more than music. And this year, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) are on site leading a robust agenda of entrepreneurship programs and technical workshops.

This weekend’s Essence Festival, from July 1-3, marks the second year in a row that MBDA has hosted service-oriented programs at the gathering – though this year’s offerings are significantly more substantial. Last year, MBDA collaborated with ESSENCE to host ‘Pitch City: Minority Business Executive Institute’, which provided minority entrepreneurs from the Gulf Coast region the opportunity to participate in an intensive two-day training course focused on business development.

The Artful Essence of Doing Business with the Government: MBDA Provides Insights for Entrepreneurs at 2016 Essence Festival

Blogged By: 
Angela Washington, MBDA Business Development Specialist
Created on July 1, 2016

Have you ever wondered what it takes to sell your products or services to the federal government? Perhaps you've attended a workshop on doing business with the government at some point in the past. Maybe you even heard about the billions of dollars the U.S. Government spends every year buying goods and services from entrepreneurs just like you.

At this week’s Essence Festival, MBDA is offering panels and technical assistance to help demystify this process.  At our Leap. Run. Grow slate of business development sessions, I’m eager to connect with emerging and established entrepreneurs. The panel I am moderating on July 1 is focused on government contracts, and it is titled, “Are You Ready to Do Business with the Federal Government?”

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