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  • Submitted on 15 July 2016

    Created on July 15, 2016
     

    MBDA employees discuss their recent DISC assessments Communication and teamwork are two of the most critical components of any organization, regardless of its mission. Without communication and teamwork, it’s almost impossible to achieve or sustain operational excellence.  For the Department of Commerce, operational excellence is defined as “strengthening the Department’s capacity to achieve its objectives, maximize return on program investments and deliver quality, timely service.”

    One of the ways that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is focusing on operational excellence is by completing individual DISC Behavioral Assessments.

    DISC is a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication; and to increase employee engagement.  The assessment is based on the DISC theory developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston, and focuses on four behavior types: Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance (DISC).

  • Submitted on 01 July 2016

    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.

  • Submitted on 01 July 2016

    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?”

  • Submitted on 10 June 2016

    Created on June 10, 2016
     

    MBDA Associate Director for Business Development Takes Part in Follow-On Trade Mission to China

    Follow-On to “China Clean Technology – Business Development Mission” from April 2015 As he embarks on a trade mission to China, Efrain Gonzalez of the Minority Business Development Agency  (MBDA) looks forward to laying the groundwork for growing numbers of American companies to participate in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.

    “It’s exciting to be a part of the effort to explore potential collaboration and partnerships in support of our minority business global business development effort in China,” said Gonzalez, Associate Director for Business Development at MBDA at the U.S. Commerce Department.

    “Our goal is supporting the Department of Commerce’s efforts to create a strong foundation for global business development in China, particularly in green energy sectors,” Gonzalez said.  “For the thousands of minority-owned businesses that MBDA serves, China represents a crucial international marketplace.”

  • Submitted on 06 June 2016

    Created on June 6, 2016
     

    MBDA Post Award ConferenceIt was a family reunion of sorts for nearly 50 Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center Operators and Project Directors who traveled from across the United States to attend the 2016 MBDA Post Awards Conference at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

    The conference is normally held every five years at the start of a new award cycle for the Agency’s funding competition, with the last conference being held in 2011.

    The attendees were all recipients of $31.5 million in federal funding awarded to 21 MBDA Business Centers across the United States and Puerto Rico back in April as part of the MBDA Business Center Program.

  • Submitted on 26 May 2016

    Created on May 26, 2016
     

    AAPI Welcome SignsHighlighting the critical nature of their role in America’s global economic position, the U.S. Commerce Department launched the first-ever Asian-American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Business Summit May 25.

    Co-hosted by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the Commerce Department, and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), the day-long event drew more than 200 members of the AAPI business community, including entrepreneurs, policy makers, and business leaders. Speakers included Congressional representatives and Obama Administration officials who addressed a range of topics and policies focused on strengthening economic ties and creating growth opportunities.

    The Summit provided a broad overview of Obama Administration economic development priorities affecting AAPI business owners – one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States. The program centered on solutions for business owners seeking to scale up enterprises, including expanding to overseas markets, accessing capital, and entering high-growth industries such as technology and other STEM-based sectors.

    AAPI-Owned Enterprises: An Expanding Part of U.S. & Global Commerce

    Nearly 2 million businesses are owned by Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide, employing 3.6 million workers, and generating nearly $700 billion in revenue annually, according to the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.  In addition, Census Bureau research indicates that as the U.S. population becomes ‘majority minority’ by 2044, AAPI will represent a significant portion of America’s overall population.

  • Submitted on 17 May 2016

    watch the video

    Watch the DOC Talks

    Joann Hill, Chief of MBDA's Office of Business Development and Alika Kumar, Project Director of the Phoenix MBDA Business Center jointly participated in the Department of Commerce's first ever DOC Talks. Together, they gave a talk entitled "Minority Business Enterprise Parity for National Economic Prosperity."

  • Submitted on 29 March 2016

    Created on March 29, 2016
     

    From left to right: Darold Hamlin, President and CEO – Emerging Technology Consortium, Ivory Toldson, Ph.D., White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Department of Education, Diane J. Frasier, Director, Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management ( also Head of the Contracting Activity) – NIH, Alejandra Castillo, Esq., National Director, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and Lyn R. Williams, President and CEO – Bridge Enterprises Incorporated

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a symposium on The Path to Sustainability for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on March 9, 2016 in Rockville, Maryland. The theme of the symposium was "Teaming for Opportunities in Biomedical ‘Big’ Data." The National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, Alejandra Y. Castillo was on hand to deliver the keynote presentation. 

    Director Castillo spoke about the changing demographics of the country and the importance of minority business enterprises to the growth of the U.S. economy. She also discussed the new MBDA Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I3), saying, "minorities need to be at the front end of innovation." The Inclusive Innovation Initiative will do just that by facilitating engagement between MBEs, federal laboratories, and the innovation ecosystem. 

  • Submitted on 24 March 2016

    Created on March 25, 2016
     

    In the early morning of March 5, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon emerged from the private residence of The White House and received his daily schedule.  As usual, it was packed with ceremonial events and meetings concerning governance.

    Tucked between a 7am breakfast with NSA Assistant Director Henry Kissinger, and a lunch-hour meeting with Urban Affairs Assistant, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Nixon had an event with a very long title:

  • Submitted on 15 March 2016

    Created on March 15, 2016
     

    It’s rare that the topics of education, democracy, entrepreneurship, and partnership with the federal government intersect in a single conversation, but that’s exactly what happened at Harvard University.

    Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, led the conversation before an audience of educators, students, and alumni at the Askwith Forum March 4 at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (GSE).

    The forum was part of the Graduate School of Education’s 14th annual Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC) March 3-5 at Harvard. The conference theme was “Educators as Architects: Building a Mosaic for Democracy Now.”

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