The fourth annual Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on November 14-16, 2010. The ACF brings together national leaders from the public and private sectors for high-level discussions on regional competitiveness and innovation, as it relates to business ventures, economic development and trade. This year’s theme for the ACF program is “Building a Prosperous and Sustainable Future for the Americas.”
The forum will primarily focus on green technologies, education and workforce development, entrepreneurship, small business development and trade facilitation. More than 1,000 leaders from the 34 nations of the Western Hemisphere will join Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, in sharing new ideas on how to improve business in a variety of industries.
Also joining Secretary Gary Locke at the ACF is David A. Hinson, national director and Alejandra Castillo, national deputy director for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Both leaders will leverage the event to promote business-to-business opportunities between U.S. minority-owned firms and small and medium sized enterprises outside the United States.
A unique advantage many U.S. minority firms have to doing business globally is that they share cultural, linguistic and ancestral ties to the Caribbean as well as to Central and South America thereby allowing for a smooth transition in doing business together. In fact, according to a 2008 MBDA report, minority-owned firms in the United States are twice as likely to export compared to non-minority-owned firms. The top three destinations for U.S. minority business exports are Mexico, Brazil and the Dominican Republic according to Export-Import Bank data.
The ACF comes at a time when the Obama Administration is renewing efforts to build support for free trade agreements and promoting exports as a path to job creation and economic growth. Over the last two decades, U.S. exports to the Western Hemisphere have increased dramatically. Between 1990 and 2009, U.S. merchandise exports to the Western Hemisphere increased by 223 percent, while exports to the rest of the world increased 139 percent.
During ACF, MBDA national director David A. Hinson, is also scheduled to moderate a panel on “Social Inclusion through Entrepreneurship.” This panel will include a wide range of discussion topics such as the Pathways to Prosperity Women’s Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program, Coca Cola’s Haiti Hope Project, and a self-empowerment and entrepreneurship training program for at-risk youth.
For more information about the Forum, please visit www.competitivenessforum.org .