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asowah's blog

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?”

MBDA Partners with Essence Festival 2016

Blogged By: 
Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA National Director
Created on June 30, 2016

Igniting the Inclusive Innovation Movement

As New Orleans prepares to welcome the 22nd Annual Essence Festival, the Crescent City and the state of Louisiana anticipate another economic boon from the expected half a million attendees.  The festival, rooted in celebrating African-American music and culture, has become “a huge economic engine for the city,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a 2014 interview, noting that the Essence Festival generated some $241 million in revenue.

Essence Crowd Shot

This year, the Festival promises to soar to new heights.  For the first time, the event will feature a Money + Power Expo that offers a transformative experience for attendees, inviting them to think as innovators and entrepreneurs, and to access solution-oriented content to start, sustain, or grow their business.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is excited to have partnered with Essence to design the Entrepreneurship Village, which anchors the Money + Power Expo.  Our program sessions, titled Leap. Run .Grow. will deliver a perfect blend of inspiration and substance through three tracks of interactive workshops and panels designed with a specific goal in mind: supporting a population of emerging and established entrepreneurs whose contributions are essential to America’s economic future.

ACE Tool: New Data Aids US Business Investment Decisions

Blogged By: 
Created on June 29, 2016

Assess Costs EverywhereThe Department of Commerce's Assess Costs Everywhere tool (ACE) highlights the hidden costs and risks that manufacturers need to consider when deciding where to locate their operations or supply chains in the United States. 

Since launching ACE in April 2013, the Department's Office of the Chief Economist has periodically updated the data and research underlying its analysis of 10 costs and risks.  This week, coinciding with the third SelectUSA Investment Summit, we are announcing a new set of updates to the tool. The Summit brings together global companies, U.S. economic development agencies, and other parties working to encourage and facilitate investment in the United States—people who have done the calculus that ACE promotes and find that investing in the United States pays off.

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