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World Trade Month: Promoting Products Made in the U.S. Abroad

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From the National Director Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

David Hinson

World Trade Month:  Promoting Products Made in the U.S. Abroad

May, designated as World Trade Month, is marked by events across the country to promote U.S. trade relationships and provide resources to U.S. businesses looking to export their goods and services around the world. This year it has particular significance – the Obama Administration and the Commerce Department have made increasing exports and revitalizing America’s manufacturing sector among their top priorities. It makes good business sense to link the two. Both manufacturing and exporting play a role in strengthening our economy, creating jobs and opening up opportunities for minority-owned businesses.  

In 2011, the United States hit an all-time record of $2.1 trillion in U.S. exports. More than half of that -- about $1.3 trillion – was manufactured goods. And manufacturing not only drives exports, it also spurs innovation. Last year, manufacturing was responsible for 70 percent of our private sector R&D and 90 percent of our patents, according to a newly released Commerce Department report.  The report also shows that manufacturing workers earn pay and benefits about 17 percent higher than other workers.

Minority-Owned Manufacturers

According to an MBDA yet-to-be released fact sheet, minority-owned firms in manufacturing tend to be most concentrated in the food, apparel, fabricated metal, printing and related services sectors.  And, in FY 2011, minority-owned manufacturers were one of the leading sectors assisted by the MBDA Business Centers. Through its network of 40 MBDA Business Centers around the country, MBDA is helping minority-owned manufacturers secure capital for new equipment and facilities; compete for public and private sector contracts; and prepare for exporting opportunities. As a result of working with MBDA, minority-owned manufacturers secured more than $450 million in contracts and capital.

As the manufacturing sector continues to rebound and gain momentum, and foreign trade continues to increase, we know there’s enormous potential for minority-owned businesses to grow. Several of MBDA’s Business Centers are located in manufacturing enclaves, including Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, El Paso, Houston and Seattle, where they are best positioned to reach manufacturing firms that are minority-owned.

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$26 Million Multi-Agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge$26 Million Multi-Agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

The Obama Administration announces a $26 million Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

This initiative will assist the development and implementation of regionally-driven economic development strategies that support advanced manufacturing and cluster development. In addition to the six partnering agencies, the initiative will leverage technical assistance from up to eight other Federal agencies.

The investments will accelerate innovation-fueled job creation and economic prosperity through public private partnerships, and serve as a catalyst for leveraging private capital, assisting entrepreneurial development in disadvantaged communities and promoting cluster based development in advanced manufacturing.

View Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge Funding Opportunity

Advanced Manufacturing Jobs Accelerator Website

Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards Nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for the Minority Business Development Agency's 2012 Minority Business of the Year Awards Program.

Don’t miss this chance to recognize the outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs, as well as individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing minority business enterprise.

Awards will be given in the following categories:

  • Access to Capital Award
  • Minority Export Firm of the Year
  • Minority Manufacturer of the Year
  • Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award
  • Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement

Recipients of the MBDA awards will be honored during the 30th Anniversary Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference to be held on September 24-27 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Visit to learn more about the program or to make your nomination.

Upcoming Events

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Spotlight On: Texas MBDA Business Centers

State of Texas

With MBDA Business Centers in Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio, minority-owned businesses don’t have to travel far in the Lone Star State to reach a Business Development Specialist who can assist in gaining access to capital, contracts and new markets. In FY2011, MBDA helped Texas minority-owned businesses secure $352 million in contracts and $64.6 million in capital, creating 521 new jobs. Just a few of the many clients who were helped by MBDA include Ewing Engineered Solutions, Mirador Enterprises and Dependable Services, Inc.

The MBDA Business Center in Dallas worked with Ewing, an 8(a) Native American-owned company, to obtain  a $24 million contract with the U.S. military to supply communications solutions products and services. In El Paso, the MBDA Business Center assisted Mirador Enterprises with certification, bidding, bonding and financing. As a result, Mirador secured one contract for $20 million with the Texas National Guard, and another contract for $4 million with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The MBDA Business Center in San Antonio worked with Dependable Services, Inc. on expanding its business by forming joint ventures and teaming arrangements that led to a $14 million contract with the Department of Defense.

MBDA is pleased to announce that  the National Community Reinvestment Coalition will receive a $1.2 million grant over five years  to operate the Houston MBDA Business Center. The new MBDA Business Center program launched in 2011 extended grants from three to five years, eliminated geographic boundaries and included other enhancements to strengthen the services offered to minority-owned firms. The Center in Houston, along with the one in New Orleans, was among the last to transition to the new program and will undertake a rebranding transformation.