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  • Submitted on 20 May 2014

    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.

  • Submitted on 14 May 2014

    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.”

  • Submitted on 14 May 2014

    Created on April 2, 2014
     

    AAPI Business RoundtableSince 1977, the month of May recognizes the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians to the American story. The legislation honoring the significance of our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage was introduced by some of the finest Asian Americans in U.S. history: Congressman Norman Mineta, Senator Spark Matsunaga, and Senator Daniel Inouye.

    On May 5th, the White House Initiative for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage hosted a business roundtable at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where representatives from the Small Business Administration, International Trade Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), met with more than 50 AAPI business leaders from around the country.

  • Submitted on 12 May 2014

    Created on May 12, 2014
     

    AAPI Heritage Month

    During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and we reflect on the many ways they have enriched our Nation. Asian American and Pacific Islander entrepreneurs and businesses play a vital role in economic growth, job creation, and community revitalization.

    This May, the theme for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) is “I Am Beyond.” The phrase captures the aspirations of the American spirit and how Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have always sought to excel beyond the challenges that have limited equal opportunity in America. This year we want to amplify the AAPI voice and highlight the valuable impact the community has made as we go into the 37th year of this celebration of culture. Share your unique story using #IAMBEYOND on social media.

  • Submitted on 17 April 2014

    Created on April 17, 2014
     

    Intellectual PropertyDuring the month of April, MBDA will collaborate with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to conduct a three part webinar series on the intellectual property process.

    The webinar series will focus on the three types of intellectual property protection: copyrights, patents, and trademarks. The complimentary webinars will provide a wealth of information, resources, and tools to protect and promote your intellectual property.

    Register today to learn from USPTO intellectual property experts on best practices, common pitfalls and where to start!   

    April 22 - Copyrights: An introduction to copyrights, how copyrights are protected in the U.S. and abroad, and the benefits of U.S. registration.
    Register at http://go.usa.gov/kc4Q

    April 23 - Patents: The facts about patents, including the differences between provisional and non-provisional applications and tips on making the application process more efficient.
    Register at http://go.usa.gov/kcgA

    April 24 - Trademarks: Understand the critical factors when choosing a trademark, the importance of doing a complete search, and whether an attorney should be used.
    Register at http://go.usa.gov/kcgT

  • Submitted on 17 April 2014

    Created on April 17, 2014
     

    Minority-owned businesses seeking to grow their firms and branch out into new markets have new resources to find help. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) proudly welcomed two new MBDA Business Centers into their family of network centers that operate across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

    On March 17, while most of the Eastern region of the country braced for a snow storm, the Bronx MBDA Business Center held their grand opening ceremony. Local legislators, community leaders and business owners joined the celebration held at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBro) offices. SoBro was awarded a $1.5 million grant to operate the center for three years.

    “Our center is here to promote the growth and global competitiveness of the minority business community, making them better equipped to create jobs, impact local economies and compete successfully in domestic and global marketplaces,” said Phillip Morrow, President and CEO of SoBro. “Together, I know that we will engage minority businesses to promote growth, and further the discussion with leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors on how their current priorities and initiatives align with the goals of the center.”

  • Submitted on 17 April 2014

    Created on April 17, 2014
     

    DOE SealIn 2013, MBDA and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) established a partnership aimed at increasing the participation of minority business enterprises (MBEs) in energy – one of the largest industries in the United States.  In addition to enhancing access to procurement and contracting opportunities available through the DOE for minority firms, MBDA and ED are also working to create and unveil growth opportunities for minority firms through technology transfer and commercialization. 

    On March 13 and 14, 2014, MBDA Acting National Director Alejandra Castillo joined Director Dot Harris of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED), on a Domestic Trade Mission to one of DOE’S 17 national research laboratories - the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois.   Joined also by a delegation including minority-owned firms and the local Chicago MBDA Business Center, this Trade Mission represented a collaborative effort to advance the mission of the Minorities in Energy Initiative launched by DOE in September of 2013.

    The delegation participated in meetings with instrumental partners and stakeholders including Clean Energy Trust, Energy Foundry, World Business Chicago, the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation, and the Office of Congressman Bobby Rush of the First District of Illinois.  The meetings proved informative, helping to open doors for minority firms to access innovation, technology, and capital resources through this partnership. 

    The partnership shared with DOE will also help to level the playing field for minority firms and develop a gateway to new opportunities through technology transfer.  Upon gaining critical market intelligence of the technology developed at laboratories such as Argonne National Laboratory, MBEs will be able to better compete in their contracting programs.  Also, the sharing of expertise and resources between the MBDA Business Center network and the DOE national laboratories can be of immense benefit to the growth and development of MBEs in the energy and technology industries.

  • Submitted on 08 April 2014

    Created on April 8, 2014
     

    Group Photo from Roundtable DiscussionWomen leaders from the African American, Asian, Hispanic and Native American business communities showcased their expertise and entrepreneurial achievements during the “Power and Promise of the Minority Women in Business” roundtable discussion in Washington, DC, hosted by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on March 31.

    In celebration of Women’s History Month, the event attracted a diverse group of more than 25 women business leaders that included federal officials, researchers, entrepreneurs and high-level executives, who represented organizations on the forefront of helping women, transform economies and communities. Maria Cardona, Principal at the Dewey Square Group and CNN and CNN en Español Political Contributor, served as the moderator and helped guide the discussion on “what’s next for women business owners.”

    “Today, women-owned businesses are the backbone to the U.S. economy,” said Alejandra Castillo, MBDA, Acting National Director. “MBDA strives to support the new generation of women entrepreneurs to ensure they understand that women have the potential to change how America does business.”

  • Submitted on 02 April 2014

    Created on April 2, 2014
     

    Crowd Shot from Business SundayThis weekend, the Commerce Department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships joined forces with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), BusinessUSA, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and 19th Street Baptist Church to host the first Business Sunday in Washington, DC. Business Sunday is a program focused on promoting local economic growth and job creation by connecting congregations and communities with the valuable business development resources offered by the Federal Government.

    Close to 300 business owners, entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders came together for the first Business Sunday, packing the fellowship hall at 19th Street Baptist Church. The event included greetings from Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as presentations from SBA, MBDA and BusinessUSA on how to access important technical assistance, business counseling, loans and other practical resources. Participants also had the opportunity to sign up for health insurance for their business or themselves through the DC Health Benefit Exchange. Following the event attendees stayed for more than an hour to network and speak individually with Commerce and SBA staff.

  • Submitted on 17 March 2014

    Created on March 17, 2014
     

    The Houston MBDA Business Center held their grand opening ceremony March 5.

    Houston Open House

    The kick-off event started with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the center, followed by a roundtable discussion with local business leaders. Candace C. Shiver, Esq., MBDA’s Special Advisor to the Office of the National Director and Roger Harris, Houston MBDA's Program Director, spoke with participants about local challenges minority businesses face and opportunities for enhancement and growth.

Did you know...

MBDA Minority Business Centers helped clients obtain capital totaling $4.76 billion during the last 5 fiscal years.
Graph for Dollar Value of Capital

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