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Innovation: Much More than High-Tech

Blogged By: 
Patricia Tomczyszyn, MBDA Public Affairs Specialist
Created on July 21, 2015

MBDA High TechInnovation. When most people hear or use this term, they are referring to new, cutting edge technology and products. However, innovation means much more than that. Operational innovation involves creating entirely new ways of filling orders, developing products, providing customer service, or doing any other activity that an enterprise performs.

David Brier, a brand identity expert, explains the single difference between the innovator and the ordinary person as: The innovator sees the dots and connects them while ordinary people either 1) don’t see them, or 2) don’t explore, question, or connect any of them.

The Atlanta MBDA Business Center connected the dots when they recognized the potential for substantial growth among minority-owned information technology firms in relation to the growing demand for healthcare IT services. A successful partnership with the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance enabled the Center to transition 77 minority-owned businesses into the rapidly growing healthcare industry in fiscal year 2014.

The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center connected the dots by realizing that baby boomer business owners are retiring and selling their companies. They also realized that acquiring these businesses is a perfect opportunity for minority-owned firms to increase revenue, expand operations, and create jobs.

Business Mission to Tanzania

Blogged By: 
Created on July 14, 2015

TanzaniaFollowing the recently concluded U.S.-East African Community (EAC) Commercial Dialogue, the Eastern Africa Diaspora Business Council in partnership with the Tanzania Embassy in Washington, DC will host a Trade Mission to Tanzania. This Trade Mission scheduled for August 5th -10th 2015, is designed to promote Tanzania’s sleeping giant, the agribusiness sector to U.S. Investors. This sector will play a significant role in energizing the Tanzanian economy to achieve poverty reduction through resourceful and productive processes that can accelerate economic growth, sustainable development and deeper integration of the Agribusiness sector in Tanzania through Public Private Partnership. 

The Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) partners believe they can bring up to 350,000 hectares under production, creating 420,000 jobs, generating annual farming evenues of $1.2 billion, contributing to food security, and lifting more than two million people out of poverty by 2030. This Trade Mission is going to highlight opportunities of trade and investment with the U.S. under African Growth and Opportunity Act specifically by diversifying their exports as well as facilitating Tanzania's integration into the global economy. This mission will give investors a hand-on experience, with site visits, tours of key infrastructure facilities, meetings with key agencies and a round-table discussion with existing investors and top CEOs.

The main U.S. businesses targeted for this Trade Mission include those in the Agriculture related sectors which include; financing, logistics, energy, cold storage facilities, infrastructure. Other mission highlights include an opportunity to visit a World Heritage site Ngorongoro Conservation area (also home of the Big 5) as well as a meeting with the East Africa Community Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania.

Benin is Powering Up and Wants U.S. Products and Expertise

Blogged By: 
Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist
Created on July 13, 2015

Benin AmbassadorIt’s not every day when a credentialed ambassador to the United States leans over, eyes brightening, and says, “If small U.S. companies come to Africa, they will make money.  A lot of money.”

He smiles as he savors the words a lot, as if tasting something delicious.

But then it’s back to reality.  He’s asked about perceptions among U.S. businesspeople that much of Africa is decidedly unpalatable, unhealthy, unfriendly, and unprofitable.

The Benin Ambassador to the United States Omar Arouna has heard it all before.  “Benin has been a stable democracy since 1990,” he explains.  “We have the same values, the same aspirations as the American people.  We see things exactly like the American people.”

He wants more Americans to do business in Benin, a country the size of Kentucky on the coast of West Africa. Benin’s 10 million people work mostly in the service sector and in agriculture, where the main exports are cotton, pineapple, and cashews.

The Ins and Outs of Alternative Financing

Blogged By: 
Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing and Communication
Created on July 13, 2015

Apple & OrangeAfter the recent financial crisis, traditional banks are more reluctant than ever to fund small businesses. Entrepreneurs need not be discouraged though, as a new trend has emerged in the world of finance: “alternative lending.” What exactly is alternative lending and is it right for your business? Here are some resources to help demystify the latest options in small business financing.

“Alternative Lending” Defined

You may walk through open doors of your local bank only to hit a brick wall. According to this Alternative Lending e-guide, traditional banks decline up to 80% of small business loan applications.

Advocacy Research Examines How Patenting Changes May Affect Small Innovators

Blogged By: 
SBA News
Created on June 30, 2015

Patenting and Innovative Startups:  Putting the America Invents Act in a Broader  Economic ContextThe Office of Advocacy, an independent office within the U.S. Small Business Administration, released an Issue Brief entitled “Patenting and Innovative Startups: Putting the America Invents Act (AIA) in a Broader Economic Context.” The issue brief summarizes some of the potential small business outcomes of the AIA and contextualizes those outcomes for innovative startups. This issue brief finds that policy changes that affect patenting could affect innovative startups as they may heavily utilize patents to raise funds to continue to innovate.

The importance of patents to the economy

Patents are at the crux of innovation in the economy. Patents provide a framework by which innovative research can take place and new technologies can be disseminated. In particular, patents provide a clear economic incentive to undertake innovative research that has the potential to substantially grow startups.1 Patents protect researchers and investors with clear determinations of intellectual property rights while also providing a vehicle with which to share newly developed technologies without a fear of losing ownership of intellectual property.2

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