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Business Climate Improves in Many African Countries but Access to Electricity Remains a Challenge

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Created on November 21, 2014

Doing Business 2015Doing business in Africa is not always easy, but the business climate is improving in many African countries, the World Bank’s latest Doing Business report shows.

The latest version of the Bank’s widely-watched report shows that many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have adopted reforms related to starting a business, protecting investors, paying taxes and registering property. Five of 10 countries listed for a “most improved” business climate – Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Democratic Republic of Congo – were in Sub-Saharan Africa.

While showing significant improvement in many of the factors that are needed to attract private investment, the report also serves to underscore some of the persistent challenges to doing business on the continent. Among those African countries that made the most-improved list, only one, the Democratic Republic of Congo, was recognized for adopting reforms related specifically to accessing electricity, a key challenge throughout the continent that severely limits business activity.

MBDA Emphasizes Importance of Diversity, Inclusion during Louisiana Diversity Forum

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Candace Shiver, Special Advisor Office of the National Director
Created on November 18, 2014

DiversityThe Southern University Law Center and Kean Miller, LLP, hosted the Louisiana Diversity Forum on Oct. 30 in Baton Rouge, La. The forum included several panel discussions and speaker presentations focused on diversity and inclusion with respect to commerce, business, workplaces, and legal education.

Candace Shiver, Special Advisor to the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) participated as a panelist during the event. Her panel, where she was joined by representatives from Exxon Mobil Corporation and GE Foundation, had a special emphasis on corporate supplier diversity. Together, the panelists discussed and provided critical insight and perspectives on why and how more U.S businesses are achieving diversity and inclusion by building strategic inclusive business models.

Providing context during the panel discussion to the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Shiver stated “At the time of MBDA’s founding in 1969, and for a number of years thereafter, many argued for minority inclusion as a matter of right or equal opportunity.”  “Fast forward 45 years, and today we’re recognizing at MBDA how much of a business imperative it is to engage minority-owned companies – to not only open the door, but to also keep the door open - in order for corporations to remain viable and grow increasingly competitive worldwide.”

The Affordable Care Act’s SHOP Enrollment is Open

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Created on November 18, 2014

Affordable Care ActWhether you’re a small employer or a sole proprietor whose enrollment opened Nov. 15, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) can help you find health coverage for yourself and your employees.  Find out how the SHOP Marketplace can help you get health coverage if you have fewer than 50 employees at:

If you have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, the SHOP Marketplace offers you a choice of plans.  Remember that you can enroll in SHOP coverage at any time throughout the year, using an agent, broker, or insurance company that offers SHOP Qualified Health Plans.  This website will get you started:  

Building Wealth and Contributing to “Better Lives” - Business Center Profile

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Created on November 17, 2014

Michael Bing, Project Director, Washington MBDA Business CenterThe Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses; and most of our work is accomplished through our nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers and their work directly with the nation’s MBEs. While, we often report their successes in terms of contracts and capital obtained for MBEs, we rarely talk about how they do it. With this business center profile we hope to give you an inside look at one of our 44 Centers—the Washington, DC MBDA Business Center. 

Washington DC MBDA Business Center is one of four serving the Baltimore and Washington, DC metropolitan area MBEs.

Led by Project Director Michael Bing, the Washington DC MBDA Business Center is known for their innovative approach to business development.  In 2013, the Center developed and successfully launched a peer-to-peer business development cost-share program that creates portfolios consisting of no more than five firms that vary in size, but offer similar services based  on their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes.

5 Ways to Prepare for Small Business Saturday

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Created on November 17, 2014

November 29: Small Business Saturday!November 29th is Small Business Saturday! That’s right, the day after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday is your chance to make a lasting impact in your community by encouraging shoppers to shop local.

But just how big an impact does the day have? According to research by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday in 2013 spent $5.7 billion with independent merchants (a four percent increase over the previous year).

It also gained attention at the highest levels. President Obama championed the day and 41 state governors issued proclamations in support of the campaign.

Small Business Saturday is fast becoming a holiday tradition, and it’s an especially powerful opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to boost holiday sales. Here are five steps you can take to make November 29th a big day for your small business.

Incorporate Small Business Saturday into Your Bigger Holiday Marketing Campaign

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