Producing Results through Growth and Expansion Strategies
Created on August 14, 2014
The Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses; and most of our work is accomplished through our nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers and their work directly with the nation’s MBEs. While, we often report their successes in terms of contracts and capital obtained for MBEs, we rarely talk about how they do it. With this business center profile we hope to give you an inside look at one of our 44 Centers—the Phoenix MBDA Business Center.
Bringing in $587 million in contracts and capital for MBDA Business Center last year, the Phoenix MBDA Business Center is one of the highest performing in the country. Their assistance helped clients to create 1,447 new jobs and save 552 more in FY 2013. Led by Executive Director Alika Kumar, the Center’s success can be attributed to the well-rounded team of four who, together, possess the experience and technical expertise to guide their diverse clientele to a level of growth that the MBEs did not foresee. One successful client, Fortis Networks, grew its annual revenue from $500,000 to over $26 million since becoming a client in 2009.
Although most of the firms assisted by the Phoenix Center are in construction and related industries, its clientele also includes firms in architecture, air transport, trucking, engineering, forestry, and automobile manufac- turing. Regardless of the industry, companies needing financing and capital can count on the Phoenix MBDA Business Center, and David DeLeon, business development specialist, to provide expert financial consulting services. DeLeon was one of the first business center staff members to become certified by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) as a “delegated authority” who can approve loans up to $500,000. He also works with Ex-Im Bank on behalf of clients who need more than $500,000 in financing to sell their products abroad. DeLeon can be credited, in large part, for making Phoenix the highest performing MBDA Business Center for capital transactions, with a total of $520 million during FY 2013.
With clients in Arizona, California, and Denver, the Phoenix Center is also a trusted advisor to Native American business owners. Led by Peter Schwartz, procurement/contract consultant and Native American business specialist, Native American-owned business successes include $175 million in contracts and capital during FY 2013. Schwartz has extensive knowledge of the procurement process, having been a former procurement officer himself, and has far-reaching relationships with many Native American tribes. In FY 2013, Schwartz helped the Navajo Housing Authority secure $150 million in financing to build new housing for the tribe. He also assisted the White Mountain Apache tribe with funding to build a dam and the Tonto Apache to build a data center.
The newest member of the Phoenix team is Kaaren- Lyn Morton, a business consultant who specializes in proposal writing. Morton is connected to every client, as she meticulously identifies and provides clients with the latest contracting opportunities specific to their capabilities and interests. Alika Kumar has built a team that possesses the skills and expertise needed to assist clients of all sizes and industries. Having had great success developing MBEs in domestic markets, Kumar’s new strategy is to grow the businesses of her clients through exports. As a graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Kumar is well qualified to do so. In fact, she has spent the past year preparing her team and their clients to participate in exporting. She is a driving force behind Thunderbird’s Annual Global Business Conference, which brings together experts from private industry, business support organizations, and Federal Government officials (representing MBDA, Ex-Im Bank, and the Federal Trade Administration), to Arizona, as well as West Coast firms interested in exporting.
The Phoenix MBDA Business Center’s greatest asset is its highly qualified expert staff and their dedication to minority-owned firms. Together, the Phoenix team works with effective synergy to produce billion dollar results.