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Increasing Participation of Minority and Women-owned Business

Blogged By: 
Leslie Grant and Deepak Shenoy, MBDA Interns
Created on June 14, 2013

On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Houston City Council approved Mayor Annise Parker’s recommended enhancements to the city’s 30-year-old goal-oriented Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) contracting program. This action reinstated women-owned businesses into the program, and increased the participation of Minority and Women-owned business from 22 percent to 34 percent in the citywide construction goal. 

Under these enhancements, the Office of Business Opportunity of Houston has implemented certain procedures to ensure the program’s effectiveness, including: reviewing the MWSBE Program every five years; expanding the geographic boundaries to include San Jacinto and Austin Counties; revising the Good Faith Efforts Policy requiring contractors to submit their plans for meeting the good faith efforts at the time of bid submission; implementing a three-year MWSBE certification; and standardizing department accountability for monitoring of good faith efforts.

In 2009, a lawsuit against the MWBE program resulted in the removal and replacement of women-owned businesses with Small Business Enterprises. However, in April 2012, a comprehensive construction industry disparity study indicated a need for a significant increase in citywide MWBE participation to reach construction goal.

Interested in Operating an MBDA Business Center?

Blogged By: 
Created on June 14, 2013

Recently MBDA announced a grant competition to operate MBDA Business Centers in Baltimore, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., as well as one additional city with a large American Indian and Alaska Native population.  The successful applicants will join a network of around 40 MBDA Business Centers across the United States and Puerto Rico.

The business centers provide strategic consulting services to minority-owned firms that aim to create and retain American jobs through business growth. MBDA Business Centers have had notable success in increasing public and private sector contracts and capital investments obtained by minority-owned firms. Successful applicants to this grant competition are also expected to foster global business expansion by promoting export opportunities.

MBDA Business Center Spotlight: Detroit

Blogged By: 
Al Betancourt, Press Secretary
Created on June 14, 2013

Nestled on the banks of the Motor City’s Detroit River where approximately one mile of water separates America with Canada, the Detroit MBDA Center uses the city’s international urban flair to expand its clients’ business reach across the globe, including to South Korea and Myanmar (formerly Burma).

To facilitate exporting opportunities with our free-trade partner South Korea, the Detroit MBDA Business Center is drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korea Importers Association (KOIMA). According to KOIMA, an organization comprised of 8,000 business members, Korea imported over $600 billion worth of goods and services in 2012 and expects to import close to $1 trillion dollars of goods and services in 2013. In partnership with KOIMA, the Detroit MBDA Business Center will pursue reverse trade missions with Korean companies to showcase U.S. minority-owned firms and promote business partnerships.

Unlike the well-established market of South Korea, Myanmar is an emerging market.  A country rich in natural resources, it is geographically bordered by five countries including India and China. Acknowledging the recently signed United States and Myanmar bilateral trade and investment framework agreement, the Detroit Center secured meetings with the Ministers of Commerce, Construction, and senior officials of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce.  These meetings led to a MOU with the Myanmar Minister of Commerce that will be used to inform the MBDA Business Center network of the numerous export opportunities.   

Pre-Registration Opens For SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit

Blogged By: 
Created on June 14, 2013

SelectUSA 2013 Investment SummitPre-registration is now open for the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit! This first-ever event will take place in Washington, DC on October 31 and November 1. 

The two-day SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit will connect international and domestic investors and firms with economic development organizations (EDOs) from across the country in an effort to promote investment here and support the creation of American jobs.

Through a series of presentations and panel discussions, Summit participants will hear from world-class business leaders, senior Administration officials, and industry and technical experts. The Summit will feature an exhibition area where EDOs can showcase their business opportunities. Participants will also learn what Federal resources are available for investing in the United States. Another key component of the Summit will be matchmaking sessions, with opportunities for extensive networking.

SelectUSA, located within the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, was established by President Obama in 2011. This Presidential initiative is charged with leading federal government efforts to promote the United Sates as the premier global investment destination and facilitate investment in the nation. SelectUSA provides counseling to the global investment community, serves as an ombudsman for investors, and advocates for U.S. cities, states, and regions competing for global investment.

Facts You Should Know About Direct Line for American Business

Blogged By: 
Created on June 10, 2013

Direct Line for American Business: Market Information U.S. Business Can Use

“Let me be very clear: more than ever, foreign policy is economic policy. One of the best things our diplomatic presences abroad can do is to advance our economic interests and help create jobs here at home.” – Secretary of State John Kerry

With 96 percent of global consumers living outside the United States, exports are a great way to increase jobs and income here at home. Successful exporting requires accurate and up-to-the minute information on opportunities and market conditions abroad.

Direct Line to American Business

Direct Line lets U.S. business hear directly from our Ambassadors and our economic and commercial experts at over 260 Embassies and Consulates in over 190 countries. Our staffs are trained to identify promising market sectors and to help U.S. exporters capitalize on new opportunities.


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