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MBDA Explores Export Markets for Minority-Owned Firms in Agribusiness

Blogged By: 
Candace Shiver, Special Advisor to the National Director
Created on June 30, 2014
 

Candace Shiver, Special Advisor to the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency

Shiver and Corporate Council on Africa President Stephen HayesI recently participated in the 2014 Agribusiness and Food World Forum in Cape Town, South Africa from June 17-19. The forum, hosted by the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association and the Corporate Council on Africa, brought together more than 500 business leaders, government officials, industry experts, students, and academia from more than 30 countries.

The forum’s presentations and discussions emphasized the importance of U.S. private sector involvement and investment in the critical agriculture and agribusiness sectors of the region. In sub-Saharan Africa, the industries are projected to collectively grow from $313 billion today to $1 trillion by the year 2030.1 Contributing to Africa’s food systems will help to build capacity in emerging markets, enhance food security, and promote U.S.–Africa relations through the imparting of best practices and technical and business knowledge between farmers and entrepreneurs of all sizes.

Next Generation Supply Chain Management

Blogged By: 
John Lloyd, MANTEC
Created on April 2, 2014
 

This article was originally posted on the PNC Business Insights e-news section. Guest blog post by John Lloyd, MANTEC

Every company, large or small, is dependent upon the companies that make up its supply chain. The term “supply chain” encompasses all of the entities on which a business depends to meet its customer expectations. These range from first-, second- and third-tier material sources to service providers to logistics and transportation specialists. Today’s forward-thinking companies have come to understand that their own performance hinges on the success of their supply chain relationships.

Historically, companies viewed their suppliers simply as the instruments to get them the parts they needed on time at the right price. Too often the customer/supplier relationship was very autocratic: Demands were made and it was expected that those demands would be met. In making sourcing decisions, companies traditionally did not look beyond a supplier’s capability, price and delivery. But those who stop there are missing a valuable opportunity to view suppliers strategically as a resource to add customer value and create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Suppliers can be a source of critical information to improve product design, quality, performance and cost.

National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo Discusses the Importance of Minority Entrepreneurship

Blogged By: 
Leona Lam, MBDA Intern
Created on June 26, 2014
 

National Director Castillo and Ron BrownsteinOn June 24, Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), gave a keynote address at “The Next America: Making America Work,” an event hosted by the National Journal in Washington DC. The event was designed to discuss how the public and private sectors can promote minority financial empowerment, workforce development and entrepreneurship.

Speaking to the more than 200 attendees, Castillo reminded them that MBDA was celebrating its 45th year anniversary, but that the Agency’s goal was to think about the role it will play in helping minority-owned businesses during the next 45 years.

“Minority-owned businesses see opportunity where others do not,” she said.  “As we move forward, MBDA will continue helping our clients with both domestic and global business opportunities; we will continue helping them become procurement-ready and we will focus on helping them develop a succession plan for their future.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), a minority business owner and member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, also gave keynote remarks at the event. Additionally, there were two expert panels that explored minority workforce development and financial empowerment, and how to create opportunities for minority small businesses. Al Jazeera America Host Ray Suarez, Atlantic Media Editorial Director Ronald BrownsteinNational Journal Correspondent Janell Ross, and National Journal Correspondent and Director of the Next Economy Project Amy Sullivan moderated the discussions.

Franchise Anyone?

Blogged By: 
SBA
Created on June 23, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on the SBA.

Dale Van Eckhout, Senior Area Manager, Bismarck Area Office - North Dakota District Office

FranchiseMany people associate fast food businesses with franchising. In fact, there are over 120 different types of franchise businesses and hundreds of thousands of franchises available in the United States, including automotive, cleaning & maintenance, health & fitness, and pet-related franchises - just to name a few.

Franchising is the practice of selling the right to use a firm's successful business model. This involves two major players which are the franchisor who sells the business model, and the franchisee owning a direct stake in the business. The franchisor's success depends on the success of the franchisees.

There are many benefits in buying a franchise including the following:

  • Saving time - the franchise company already has the business model in place so you can focus on running a successful business.

  • Company image and branding - the image and brand of the company is already established. Consumers are always more comfortable purchasing items from a familiar name or company they trust.

  • Training - the franchisor usually provides extensive training and support to the franchise owner.

4 Ways Understanding Data Can Inform Your Export Strategy

Blogged By: 
Kenneth R. Mouradian
Created on June 23, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on the Tradeology, the ITA Blog

Kenneth R. Mouradian is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Orlando U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Relying on export data can make your international business ventures more profitable.

Numbers can be misleading, especially when they’re used as a proxy for quality thought in decision making.

Now, let’s be clear, here. When I say that numbers can be misleading, I’m assuming that you’re looking at an X and a Y axis with data points and no text except that which is necessary to label the graph. Alternatively, you’re looking at 10 numbers: five years and five corresponding dollar amounts or volumes. That’s where a lot of U.S. exporters begin their market research; and, if that’s where their research ends, that’s a problem.

Potential exporters need to look behind the data points on the graph by asking some important questions:

  • What happened before the trend?

  • What happened after the trend?

  • What caused the trend?

  • Can you compete (i.e., price, quality, terms of sale, features, post-sales support)?

Here’s a hypothetical: Imagine for a moment that you sell building products and the data indicate a 5-year growth trend in Timbuktoo for exactly what you sell. Assume, too, that the data are two years out of date and that you don’t follow soccer. Little did you know that Timbuktoo hosted the World Cup two years ago and that, if you had more recent data, you’d see a drop in demand for building products once the stadium, exercise buildings, dormitories, and tourism infrastructure had been completed.

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