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Ford Motor Company announced recently that it had exceeded its supplier diversity sourcing goal, purchasing $4.1 billion in goods and services from minority-and women-owned companies.
The success of Ford’s supplier diversity efforts illustrates how valuable minority-owned business enterprises are to our country’s top companies and our economy overall. From heavy equipment to financial services, no matter what the demands of your supply chain are, there’s a minority-owned firm that can fulfill them. In fact, the number of high-quality minority-owned businesses spread across every sector of the economy totals 5.8 million.
To better assist corporate America in locating minority business enterprises with scale and capacity, supplier diversity executives should put the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, on speed dial. MBDA can help you find these firms and put you in contact with them so you can establish the kinds of profitable partnerships that more and more Fortune 500 companies are seeking out. In 2010, with the help of the MBDA network of business centers, MBDA helped the private sector secure more than $850 million in products and services from minority firms.
MBDA Seeks Bids for Business Center Focused Exclusively on Federal Procurement
The month of May has brought with it a number of announcements, news releases and opportunities of interest to the MBE constituency MBDA serves. With this month’s newsletter I’d like to highlight two opportunities for your participation—one designed to create jobs and another intended to reform government rules. I’d also like to present new business statistics about Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander businesses.
Just last week, the Obama Administration announced the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to promote innovation and job growth and advance our global competitiveness. The competition offers a total of $33 million in funding from three federal agencies and technical assistance from 13 additional agencies to promote the development of at least 20 industry clusters across the country. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will be investing $10 million in funding and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will be supporting the program’s implementation.
The goal of the program is to spur economic growth through public-private partnerships in 20 regions across the country. Applicants to this federal funding opportunity will be considered based on their ability to demonstrate a focus and measurable outcomes on achieving sustainable economic growth in the region; augmenting business formation, especially of small businesses, and leveraging existing business assets; increasing exports; developing a skilled workforce through outreach, training and the creation of career pathways, and integrating historically underserved businesses and communities into the economic activities of the regional cluster.
Recently, a number of state and local governments have begun taking a close look at their existing Minority and Women-owned contracting programs. A number of intergovernmental groups, such as the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, have advocated for additional assistance to minority-owned firms. The State of Maryland and the City of New York are two particular examples of this increased focus.
On May 10, 2011, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) signed Senate Bill 120 into law which aims to change the way the state contracts with minority-owned businesses.
Regional innovation clusters are based on a simple but critical idea: if we foster coordination between the private sector and the public sector to build on the unique strengths of different regions - while creating the incentives for them to do so - we will be better equipped to marshall the knowledge and resources that America needs to compete in the global economy.
The $33 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge that the Obama Administration announced yesterday will help capitalize on shared strengths, encouraging America's regions to plan more strategically to support long-term growth and an environment where the private sector can succeed. It reflects an understanding by both private sector leaders and policymakers that we must implement strategies that capitalize on the full extent of regional assets and ensure that the benefits of cluster development extend to all workers and communities throughout the region.
A proposed rule published today for comment in The Federal Register by the U.S. Small Business Administration would adjust the size definition of small businesses in the transportation and warehousing sector to reflect changes in marketplace conditions in those sectors.
The proposed revisions would increase the revenue-based size definition businesses must meet to qualify as small businesses in 22 industries of the transportation and warehousing sector. As part of its ongoing comprehensive review of all size standards, the SBA evaluated all industries in this sector that have revenue-based size standards to determine whether the size standards should be retained or revised.