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.
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.
But if MBEs want to succeed in the global marketplace, they need to think and operate globally. They need to tap into the 95 percent of all consumers who live beyond our borders and the demand for American-made goods and services that may, in fact, be greater in other countries.
And they need to remember they don’t have to do it alone – MBDA and the Department of Commerce are here to help.
$3.9 Billion. Want Details?
MBDA will release its Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Performance Report (APR) later this month detailing the Agency’s third consecutive year of increases in contracts and capital obtained for minority-owned businesses. It will also highlight strategic and organizational accomplishments over the past year and, for the first time, the APR will include state performance, including the number of new jobs created. The Agency’s return on investment grew to 130 X, demonstrating President Obama’s commitment to rebuilding the minority business community for the future.
How Many Minority-Owned Firms Are in Each State and Which States Have the Most?
Did you know there are 680,000 minority-owned firms in Florida?
If you haven’t visited the MBDA website lately, you need to take another look. Find out how many minority firms are in your state and what the average gross receipts  are for these firms.
Interested in joining the number of minority businesses in your state and competing more successfully for state, local government, and commercial contacts? You can now find the most recent list of state contacts in the Offices of Minority/Women Business Enterprises .
I would also encourage readers to visit and contribute to our business blog to access information on starting, managing, financing and expanding your business. You’ll find invaluable information on procurement and contract opportunities , going global , manufacturing , and managing employees . Visit our financial education  blog to sharpen your knowledge on access to capital to grow your company.
Small Business Week
Finally, let me close out by recognizing that May 20-26 is National Small Business Week, when both the public and private sector salute entrepreneurs and Main Street business owners all across the Nation. Along with the Small Business Administration and many other federal partners, MBDA is a proud sponsor and contributor to BusinessUSA , a one-stop portal, where business owners can find and access programs and services across the federal government. After all, your success is our priority.