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Technology and Business


  • Submitted on 10 January 2012

    SustainabilityThe Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center in Alabama announced a strategic partnership with the International Sustainability Institute of Applied Sciences, a division of ACF Enterprises LLC, to pilot a blueprint for small business sustainable development in South Mobile County.  

    To ensure inclusion and capacity-building of minority business enterprises (MBEs) in the emerging green economy, staff at the Business Center, which is working collaboratively with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, received comprehensive training from the International Sustainability Institute of Applied Sciences to become Certified Sustainability Consultants. The intent of the strategic partnership is to pilot a “blended” training program that leverages technology with consulting to move central Gulf companies along a continuum of continuous improvements in sustainability performance.

    According to Pamela Ramos, the Business Center’s Program Director, “Training and consulting will play an important role in transitioning south Mobile County businesses to sustainable operations in 2012.  This is a way to add value and competitive advantage to a minority business enterprise classification.”

  • Submitted on 06 December 2011

    Business ContinuityHere are a few things your can do – at no cost – to jump-start your business continuity plan:

    Determine your greatest risk potential.  It might come from loss of heat, frozen pipes (which can burst, causing water damage), or loss of access caused by icy conditions.  What would happen if you had to shut down your business for several days?  Look at the building where you do business and assess the property damage risks. If you do this early enough, you’ll have time to make structural upgrades that can prevent possible future storm, wind, water or earthquake damage.

    Calculate the cost of business interruptions for one week, one month and six months.  Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able investigate insurance options or build a cash reserve that will allow your company to function during the post-disaster recovery phase. It’s also a good idea to develop professional relationships with alternative vendors, in case your primary contractor can’t service your needs.  Place occasional orders with them so they regard you as an active customer when you need them.

    Review your insurance coverage.  Contact your agent to find out if your policy is adequate for your needs. Consult with a business insurance expert to advise you on the right coverage for your situation.  When buying insurance, ask “How much can I afford to lose?”  It’s a good idea to know the value of your property.

  • Submitted on 10 November 2011

    This week, the United States is hosting the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers and Economic Leaders’ Meetings in Honolulu, Hawaii. As President Obama’s lead negotiator and spokesperson on trade, I will host a meeting for my fellow APEC Trade Ministers in preparation for President Obama’s meeting with APEC Leaders later this week and to build on the success of the APEC Trade Ministers’ meeting held in Big Sky, Montana last May.

  • Submitted on 10 November 2011

    Small businesses in emerging industries – like clean energy – have cutting-edge ideas that are strengthening our country and changing the world. Today, we’re helping them continue to do just that in two major ways.

    First, unlike larger firms, many small firms don’t have the staff or time to search for all of the federal opportunities that can help them grow and create jobs.

    We’re pleased to announce that they’ve got a new tool with green.sba.gov, where they can find all federal opportunities in a single location.

  • Submitted on 26 October 2011

    Previous Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-funded studies of small business patenting activity established the existence of a cohort of independent, for-profit innovative small firms with 15 or more patents over a five-year period.

    The studies also showed that innovative small firms had a higher percentage of emerging technology patents in their portfolios than their larger counterparts. A recent focus on “green” jobs, businesses, and technology led to this study of a subset of these innovative patent holders. This project was designed to highlight differences in the patent activity of small and large firms in green technologies and industries.

    Overall Findings

  • Submitted on 18 October 2011

    The face of America – and of American agriculture – is changing. The number of farms in the United States has grown 4 percent and the operators of those farms have become more diverse in the past five years, according to results of USDA’s most recent Census of Agriculture.  The 2007 Census counted nearly 30 percent more women as principal farm operators. The count of Hispanic operators grew by 10 percent, and the counts of American Indian, Asian and Black farm operators increased as well.  In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of minority-owned businesses grew more than 45 percent between 2002 and 2007.

    American AgricultureTo reflect the diversity of our agricultural sector and business community, USDA is stepping up its efforts to continually supplement its seven Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees (ATACs) with new members, especially those who represent minorities, women, or persons with disabilities. We believe that people with different backgrounds and views will make the work of these committees, and thus of USDA, more effective.

    Applicants should represent a U.S. entity with an interest in agricultural trade and have expertise and knowledge of agricultural trade as it relates to policy and commodity-specific issues. For example, Robert Anderson of Sustainable Strategies LLC has served at different points in time on both the Fruits and Vegetables ATAC and the Processed Foods ATAC. Of his experience, Anderson said, “I had the opportunity to meet directly with the highest levels of international trade leadership in the United States and globally. Most importantly, the U.S. government actually seeks our input, listens, and responds to the needs and expectations of the U.S. agricultural industry.”

    At a time when our economy is trying to rebound from a serious recession, having a voice on one of these committees can make a significant impact on the government decisions that affect our economic future. That’s because agricultural trade plays an extremely important role in the health of our nation’s economy. U.S. agricultural exports have consistently contributed to the positive U.S. trade balance, creating jobs and boosting economic growth. In fiscal 2011, U.S. agricultural exports were forecast to reach a record $137 billion, which supported more than one million jobs in America this year.

  • Submitted on 22 August 2011

    Connecting Line Technological PotentialSmall Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

    The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

  • Submitted on 27 July 2011

    David HinsonFor over 40 years, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has facilitated job growth by fostering the development of minority-owned business here in the United States. Minority business enterprises (MBEs) create jobs in a variety of economic sectors, from manufacturing to hospitality services and everything in between.  

    To ensure that our country remains competitive in the future, we must ensure that minority-owned businesses are providing the jobs of the future. That’s why MBDA works to help minority-owned businesses participate in some of our fastest growing sectors including high-tech, healthcare IT, and green energy.

    Advancements in technology and new developments in information technology bring more opportunities in the tech sector. As healthcare providers improve and update the way they store and share medical records, there will be growing jobs in healthcare IT. Finally, as we transition from fossil fuels to cleaner modes of energy production, there will be more and more opportunities in the green, renewable energy solutions our children and grandchildren will come to rely on.

    These jobs may be updating our electrical grid, maintaining infrastructure, or manufacturing new materials, such as solar panels.

  • Submitted on 01 June 2011

    Green BusinessesRecently, a client of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Ecotech Global Solutions (Ecotech), made inroads into the growing Chinese market that will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    On May 6, 2011, during the U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Forum at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, Ecotech signed a landmark agreement in the fields of energy efficiency and carbon reduction with China Quality Certification Center (CQC).  This collaboration, and others like it, demonstrates that the path to economic prosperity and the path to environmental sustainability are one and the same. 

     

  • Submitted on 24 May 2011

    Regional innovation clusters are based on a simple but critical idea:  if we foster coordination between the private sector and the public sector to build on the unique strengths of different regions - while creating the incentives for them to do so - we will be better equipped to marshall the knowledge and resources that America needs to compete in the global economy.

    The $33 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge that the Obama Administration announced yesterday will help capitalize on shared strengths, encouraging America's regions to plan more strategically to support long-term growth and an environment where the private sector can succeed.  It reflects an understanding by both private sector leaders and policymakers that we must implement strategies that capitalize on the full extent of regional assets and ensure that the benefits of cluster development extend to all workers and communities throughout the region.

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