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Opportunity in the New Economy: MBDA Supporting Minority Businesses Now and in the Future

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Blogged By: 
Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA National Director
Created on February 16, 2016

On January 12, 2016, President Barrack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address to members of Congress. During his highly-anticipated annual address, President Obama spoke optimistically of America’s future and our progress in the areas of foreign policy, the economy, health care, social progress and his desire to transform America into the global leader in fighting climate change.

As we spotlight the Nation’s successes over the past seven plus years of the Obama Administration, we must also closely examine the state of minority businesses. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, by the year 2044, people of color will make up a majority of the U.S. population. The face of our nation is transforming and our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. It is what will keep us at the forefront of technology, innovation and the global marketplace. Minority businesses are essential to the economic success of our nation.

During his address, the President also posed several key questions. One in particular, is of special importance to us here at the Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency; “How do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in the new economy?”

One way is through our Agency. Since 1969, MBDA has been a faithful advocate for economic and business development for minorities. We continue to lead efforts by providing minority business owners with greater access to capital, contracts and markets. We currently have 44 business centers across the nation to support our minority business entrepreneurs.

On Dec.15, 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau’s released the final results of the 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO). This data revealed that business ownership in our nation is mirroring our increasingly diverse population. The number of minority-owned firms in the U.S. rose from 5.8 million in 2007 to 8 million in 2012, and contributed $1.4 trillion to our economy. From 2007 to 2012, the percentage of minority-owned firms increased from 22 percent to 29 percent of the total number of U.S. firms.

That’s positive news for minority business owners and the nation, but there’s still more work to be done to grow all minority businesses. I challenge each of us to collectively use our resources to not only identify opportunities in this new economy, but to also create them for others in the minority business community. We must work together to export our products, diversify our corporate ranks, leverage data such as the SBO results and lend our full support to businesses that support minority communities.

Change will not occur overnight but it will occur through strategic action from minority business entrepreneurs, the federal government and the nation. Each of us plays a part.

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