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  • Submitted on 05 August 2015

    2015 Regional Innovation Strategies Program to Spur Capacity Building and Access to Capital for Innovators and Entrepreneurs 

    Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently announced the launch of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $10 million funding opportunity for the 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for two funding opportunities: the i6 Challenge, which funds organizations that help innovators and entrepreneurs turn innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research into viable, sustainable companies, and Seed Fund Support Grants (previously Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds), which funds regionally-focused seed capital funds that provide early-stage capital to innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth. This is the second RIS competition; EDA’s 2014 i6 and Seed Fund Support Grant awardees were announced in March 2015.

    “As America’s Innovation Agency, the Commerce Department is committed to supporting the innovators and job creators of tomorrow” said Secretary Pritzker. “The Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition will build the capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship in regions all across America and ultimately strengthen our nation’s competitiveness.”

    This year’s program includes $10 million in funding for the following programs:

  • Submitted on 23 June 2015

    Jobs Supported by ExportsOn June 18, 2015 Secretary Pritzker and the Commerce Department released a report showcasing that in 2014, nearly 3.2 million jobs—44 percent of all jobs supported by goods exports—were supported by the export of goods to our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners.

    In 2014, the United States reached record levels in goods and services exports for the fifth consecutive year totaling $2.34 trillion. Since 2009, goods exports to our current FTA partners grew 64 percent versus 45 percent to the rest of the world. The United States continues to have a trade surplus in manufactured goods, $56 billion in 2014, with the countries in which we have trade agreements.

    Related Content: Free Trade Agreements + Exports = Jobs

  • Submitted on 15 June 2015

    Thursday, June 11, 2015

    Publication: Asian Journal

    Albert K. ShenYou have likely heard many arguments from both sides of the debate concerning the passage of trade legislation and whether or not it is good for the country.

    As the National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, I know that open and fair trade is an effective way for American businesses to sell goods and services to the 95% of global consumers who live outside of the U.S.

    As a Chinese American, and the first generation of my family born here, I also know the power of open and fair trade to help Asian American-owned businesses in the United States, as well as the countries that some families still call home. In my travels around the country, I have personally met AAPI business owners who immigrated to the United States and have started their own successful businesses after many years of hard work.  Some of these successful owners export products back to the countries from which they’ve come because these countries crave American innovation and quality products.

    This proves the impact of open and fair trade on both sides of the commercial equation.  Asian American-owned firms have strong export potential because of their capabilities in language; cultural and business practice competence; networks of personal and commercial support; and an understanding of foreign markets. These strengths produce even greater commercial success. This success allows them to:  employ more workers, offer higher pay, yield higher average sales, and ultimately grow their businesses in size, scale and impact. The numbers say it all – Asian American-owned businesses that export employ an average of 21 people and report average annual sales of around $8.4 million, compared to their non-exporting counterparts that employ 7 workers on average, and report around $864,000 in average sales.  

  • Submitted on 15 June 2015

    Friday, June 5, 2015

    Publication: EFE Agency via Fox News Latino

    National Director Castillo

    At this point, you have likely heard arguments from both sides of the debate on whether or not passing trade legislation is good for our country.

    As the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, I know the power of open and fair trade to strengthen minority enterprise and exponentially increase revenue. Open and fair trade allows us to send our goods and services to the 95% of global consumers who live outside of our borders. That means more high-quality jobs, economic growth, and opportunities to expand the middle class throughout the United States.

    But as a Latina whose parents immigrated to the U.S., I am also aware of the impact open and fair trade can have on Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States and the economies of the countries that are the ancestral home of our families. Minority firms in general possess strong export potential because they have familial networks of support, are able to transact business in a language other than English, and are likely to already have international operations.

  • Submitted on 21 May 2015

    As part of the Commerce Department efforts to increase digital engagement with businesses, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders through 21st century technology, National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo recently launched @MBDANatlDir, the official Twitter account of the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. “Social networking allows us to reach more minority entrepreneurs where they already network,” said MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo. “This is a great opportunity to talk directly with Americans about the work of MBDA to create and sustain U.S. jobs by promoting the growth and global competitiveness of businesses owned and operated by minority entrepreneurs.”

  • Submitted on 13 May 2015

    The Office of Advocacy released Demographic Characteristics of Business Owners and Employees: 2013, the second annual issue brief on business owner demographics. This year’s issue brief includes not only characteristics of business owners, but also how they differ from employees. This comparison is important for measuring the overall economic well-being of the economy including the economic incentives for entrepreneurship.

    Download Issue Brief

  • Submitted on 11 May 2015

    The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative was created to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad. President Obama launched the initiative last April in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

    In the initiative’s first year, PAGE members utilized their knowledge, ideas, and talent to inspire and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and around the world, by using their voice and platforms to deliver on the program’s mission.

  • Submitted on 05 May 2015

    The rich heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders spans the world and the depths of America's history.  Generation after generation, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have forged a proud legacy that reflects the spirit of our Nation -- a country that values the contributions of everyone who calls America home.  During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we honor the perseverance of those who courageously reached for their hopes and dreams in a new land, and we celebrate the important impact the AAPI community has made on our Nation's progress.

  • Submitted on 24 April 2015

    For small business owners and entrepreneurs to build, grow, and support their business, it takes capital, and today, many of these individuals are choosing alternative forms of capital. One popular avenue is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding systems enable users to make investments in various types of projects and ventures, often in small amounts, outside of a regulated exchange, using online social media platforms that facilitate direct interaction between investors as well as with the individual(s) raising funds.”1 There are three basic types of crowdfunding. Money is given in exchange for a clearly defined good (reward), a piece of the venture (equity), or a loan agreement (peer-to-peer). Typically, these three types of crowdfunding occur on different types of websites or platforms. Today, crowdfunding is steadily reaching critical mass as it is now estimated to be worth $3 billion to $5 billion worldwide.2

  • Submitted on 14 April 2015

    The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and International Trade Administration (ITA), in coordination with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the U.S. Department of State, announced the 48 participants from 28 countries in the Americas and 41 sites that will participate in the third Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The ACE is the ideal opportunity for commerce and economic development officials to establish long-term global and regional partnerships and to see the results of economic development initiatives in the Americas that are strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems. 

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