In her role as co-founder of LessonCast Learning, a learning platform that helps community members share best practices, Nicole Tucker-Smith keeps an idealistic mindset that helps her elevate her company to the next level. But she also recognizes the importance of balancing idealism with practicality. The Minority Business Development Agency helps entrepreneurs, like Nicole, with identifying and taking advantage of resources that support day-to-day tasks of a budding startup.
As the Founder and CEO of Urban Co-Lab, Natalie Madeira Cofield and her team believe that if you empower communities through entrepreneurship and business engagement, you not only give people the opportunity to sustain themselves but also their communities. For more than 10 years, Natalie has been inspired by and influenced by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) as a champion for minority-owned businesses.
Purnima Voria’s story is one of inspiration and achievement. Growing up in India, Voria watched her father build a successful company importing U.S. farm equipment. After several years and many business successes, her family came to the U.S. to pursue the American dream. Inspired by her father’s example, she merged her love for her home and her newly adopted-country, and developed a strong desire to help U.S. business owners bring high quality products overseas to India.
In 2005, Voria founded the National U.S. India Chamber of Commerce (NUICC ), which leads trade missions and delegations to India. These missions began humbly, with her using her family and social connections to help a U.S. textile machine manufacturer with embroidery computer software to access the Indian market. Thanks to her connections and know-how, Voria was able to help the U.S. textile manufacturer connect with the top Indian manufacturer of textiles clothing, an exporter to major U.S. clothing stores. With only a handshake to seal the deal, they were able to sell 100 machines with software packages. Voria had found her niche and recognized the positive impact that she could have on both countries by serving as a mentor to U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed. In 2005, she was awarded a Congressional Medal of Distinction for her outstanding leadership in business and her contributions in helping to grow the U.S. economy. The Wall Street Journal also honored Ms. Voria as Business Woman of the Year.