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March 2011

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From the National Director News from the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises

David Hinson

In honor of Women’s History Month and in recognition of the new statistics on firms owned by American Indians and Alaskan Natives, this edition of MBDA’s newsletter features an inspiring storing about Sister Sky—a firm owned and operated by two sisters from the Spokane tribe in Eastern Washington.  As I travel around the country, I am in awe of the innovation, tenacity, and the indomitable spirit of minority business owners and their unwillingness to quit in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s the spirit that makes America great.

With the release the 2007 Survey of Business Owners data by the Census Bureau and MBDA’s American Indian and Alaskan Native Business Fact Sheet, we have evidence that there was growth in the number of American Indian and Alaskan Native-owned firms since 2002.  Yet, job creation by these firms has not materialized and the average gross receipts of American Indian and Alaskan Native-owned firms ($145,000) are significantly below average compared to non-minority firms ($490,000). 

Still, of the 237,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native-owned firms that generate more than $34.0 billion in gross receipts, there are more than 4,600 that produce $1.0 million dollars or more in revenue.  These firms combined generated gross receipts of $23 billion and employed 116,759 workers.  Clearly, there is an upside to building your firm to size, scale and capacity.  Sister Sky, along with their commitment to creating jobs on the Spokane reservation, and with the support of MBDA and other federal partners, is headed in the right direction.

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Department of Commerce

On Friday, March 11th the National Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprises (NACMBE), convened for its inaugural meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. 

The meeting was led by David Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, and NACMBE Chairs, Mark Hoplamazian, Chief Executive Officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Janice-Savin Williams, Founder of Williams Capital. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, as well as International Trade Administration Under Secretary, Francisco Sanchez welcomed the council members.

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Join MBDA at the Annual Global Merger & Acquisition Symposium in London, England

M&A SymposiumIf you’re interested in expanding your business through merger or acquisition, branching out into overseas markets, or just want some insight into international trade laws, plan on attending the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors’ (AM&AA) 3rd Annual Global Merger & Acquisition Symposium (M&A Symposium) in London, England, May 10th – 12th, 2011. This year we’re pleased to announce National Director David Hinson will be delivering the keynote address on Wednesday, May 11th.

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Grant Competition Announced

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) opened a grant competition to candidates interested in operating MBDA Business Centers in three U.S. regions: the Upper Midwest, the Northeast and Southern California.  The primary objective of MBDA Business Centers is to provide strategic business consulting services to minority firms that will result in increased public and private sector contracting opportunities and capital investments, ultimately leading to the creation of new U.S. jobs. 

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MBDA Helps Sister Sky Tap into a Legacy of Entrepeneurism

Monica and MarinaMonica Simeon and Marina Turning-Robe have accomplished what many have said is impossible – working together as sisters in constant contact and still remaining best friends.

“There is great comfort in working with a business partner that you can be brutally honest with and not jeopardize the relationship. In reality that type of relationship is very advantageous to the business,” Monica said. “We balance each other out with our individual strengths and we collaborate very well and those two elements are extremely critical to our company’s success.”

The siblings are members of the Spokane tribe, located in rural Eastern Washington, where unemployment is hovering around 50 percent. While there is very little private sector development in the area, Sister Sky is one of the few small businesses on the reservation and it is committed to creating jobs and economic diversification beyond casinos.

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