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.
Our administration is keenly aware of the challenges facing minority-owned businesses and it is taking steps to address the issues. Let me take a moment to share with you what the Obama Administration has done for small businesses, which encompasses the vast majority of minority-owned businesses. Since coming into office, taxes on small businesses have been cut 17 times. We now have zero capital gains taxes on key investments in small businesses, new deductions for healthcare for the self employed, and a new expensing benefit, which will allow companies to write off 100 percent of their machinery and equipment purchases made in 2011.
We are putting the finishing touches on the Small Business Lending Fund  which will provide over $30 billion in capital to community and small banks to support lending to minority and small businesses. The Small Business Administration has dramatically increased equity capital through the expansion of its SBIC program.
Additionally, MBDA has increased contracts and capital to MBEs by over 85 percent since our administration took office.
In closing, I invite you to be a part of the White House’s new initiative, Startup America , designed to increase the number and scale of new high-growth firms that are creating economic growth, innovation, and high quality jobs throughout the nation. This initiative, announced in January, is a “call to action” uniting a range of public and private sector commitments to expand access to capital for high-growth startups, expand entrepreneurship education and mentorship programs, strengthen commercialization of federally funded R&D, expand collaboration between large corporations and startups, and identify and reduce unnecessary barriers to high-growth startups.
As part of the initiative, Senior Obama administration officials will visit eight cities to meet with entrepreneurs and hear directly from them about what processes and regulations we need to change and improve to build a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. Click here to learn more about the Reducing Barriers Roundtables  and upcoming dates and locations.
We need your voice to be heard throughout every sector of government about the importance of growing minority-owned firms. The business you own, operate, and lead is critical to the future of our nation. Partner with us, so we can partner with you and together we can build a minority business community that our children and grandchildren will be proud of.