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Maryland’s Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Host Conference, Expo Empowering Minority Entrepreneurs

Blogged By: 
Alberto Betancourt, MBDA Public Affairs Specialist/Media Relations
Created on May 20, 2014
 

Joann Hill Maryland’s Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs hosted their 5th Annual MBE University Conference and Expo at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore on May 20.

The event was a unique forum, combining educational workshops with business development and networking opportunities that meet the unique needs of small, minority and women-owned businesses.

“The workshops, exhibitors and matchmakers who participated in this conference were all chosen with the intent of adding great value to our small, minority and women-owned entrepreneurs,” said Zenita Wickham Hurley, Special Secretary, Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs.

Several federal government representatives addressed more than 200 attendees during the opening session. The speakers included Congressman Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, Sharon R. Pinder, Director, Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development, and Joann Hill, Chief, Office of Business Development, Minority Business Development Agency.

“Each minority business enterprise attending today’s conference represents job creation and economic growth,” said Hill. “Through your businesses, each of you keeps your community, city and state thriving and moving forward economically. That is an invaluable contribution and is to be applauded.”

After the opening session, the crowd dispersed into one of the three designated areas that included workshops, exposition hall and the matchmaking seminar.

Simple Steps to Expanding Your Business through Exports

Blogged By: 
MBDA
Created on May 20, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on the Commerce.gov Blog

Warehouse - ExportingAt the Department of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency we are dedicated to helping more minority-owned business leverage their competitive advantage and expand their business through exports. The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals how minority-owned firms employ nearly six million American workers and contribute one trillion dollars in annual economic output to the U.S. economy. This economic output includes significant exporting contributions. In fact, minority-owned firms are export leaders in 14 key industry sectors.

To celebrate World Trade Month we are kicking off a blog series to highlight valuable resources and information for minority businesses looking at exporting for the first time and firms looking to expand their existing exporting efforts. 

Here are six steps to start exporting:

Complete an export readiness self-assessment: Find out if you have what it takes to market your products or services into the global marketplace. Provide answers to nine questions and receive advice on your exporting potential.

Training and counseling: use online resources like webinars and training courses to learn the basics of exporting and increase your understanding of the exporting process. Access webinars and online courses from the International Trade Agency (ITA), U.S. Census Bureau Go Global Webinars, and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

SBA Proposes Revisions to Size Standards for Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade Industries

Blogged By: 
SBA News
Created on May 20, 2014
 

Wholesale Trade IndustryThe U.S. Small Business Administration has proposed increasing small business size standards affecting businesses in 46 industries in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sector 42, Wholesale Trade, and in one industry in Sector 44-45, Retail Trade.  If they are adopted, nearly 4,000 more firms will become eligible for SBA’s loan programs.  The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register today.  

The proposed size standards would define the maximum number of employees a firm in these industries could have and still be a small business.  The proposed revisions reflect changes in marketplace conditions.

SBA proposed to retain the current size standards for the remaining industries in those sectors.  SBA reviewed all of the employee-based size standards for both sectors to determine whether the size standards should be revised or retained. 

The SBA has also proposed to retain the current 500-employee size standard for federal procurement of supplies under its non-manufacturer rule because Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade NAICS codes and their small business size standards cannot be used for procurement of supplies.  These proposed revisions primarily affect eligibility for SBA’s financial assistance programs. 

Cash Flow Strategies to Make Your Exports More Competitive

Blogged By: 
Jonathan Rees is the Managing Director of Western Union Business Solutions
Created on May 16, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on the Tradeology, the ITA Blog

Jonathan Rees is the Managing Director of Western Union Business Solutions in North America. Western Union Business Solutions is an International Trade Administration Strategic Partner.

Monthly U.S. Goods and Services Exports - January 2009 - March 2014A healthy U.S. economy includes strong exports. In an age of ever-increasing global trade, these exports indicate the demand for U.S. products and services, particularly in countries with an expanding middle class.Since 2010, the government has committed to help U.S. businesses find buyers worldwide, win more contracts, and learn new ways to sell products and services overseas. This commitment highlights the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in propelling the American economy.

However, after a sharp appreciation, over the last two years U.S. exports have been showing signs of hitting a plateau.

The good news is this: U.S. exports have abundant room to grow. In fact, compared to other industrialized countries, there are signs that the United States is only beginning to tap into its export potential.

MBDA Public Servant Reflects on 42-years of Federal Service

Blogged By: 
Alberto Betancourt, MBDA Public Affairs Specialist/Media Relations
Created on May 14, 2014
 

In March, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) celebrated its 45th anniversary. And as the Agency begins planning for the next 45 years, it will do so missing a key team player.

Venice Pamela Harris was 17-years old when she started working with the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1972. She was still in high school when she applied and was accepted into the Junior Technician Program, a federal program managed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that was geared for high school students who didn’t plan on going to college. Little did she know that entering that program would lead to a memorable and rewarding 42-year federal service career.

“In high school, my curriculum was geared towards business. I had a lot of shorthand, typing classes,” she said. “What’s funny is that DEA also had a program where they recruited young high school ladies for entry-level secretarial positions. I also applied for their program, was accepted and offered a GS-3 position. It was a tough decision to make, but I decided to go with the Department of Commerce’s GS-1 position working with the Office of the Secretary (OS), Office of Personnel.”

Harris thanks Mrs. Ruffin, her high school business teacher, for helping her make that decision—the one she said was “the right decision.”

Did you know...

MBDA Minority Business Centers helped clients secure contracts totaling $6.9 billion during the last 5 fiscal years.
Graph for Dollar Value of Contracts

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