On March 5, 1969, President Richard Nixon established what is today called the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Over the last four decades, MBDA has promoted the establishment and growth of minority businesses in the United States. MBDA is the only federal agency tasked with advancing the competitiveness of minority businesses and throughout the year will be highlighting those minority businesses that have benefited from MBDA programs and the people and communities it has impacted.
MBDA prides itself on remarkable success. In 2008, the Agency ranked as one of the top three bureaus within the U.S. Department of Commerce and touched more than 25,000 minority businesses, in turn, they created more than 5,000 new jobs. In addition, MBDA programs generated $1.85 billion in terms of dollar value of contract and financial awards to minority businesses.
There were just 322,000 minority businesses in 1969 generating approximately $11 billion in annual gross receipts. Today, the number of minority firms is more than 4 million. These firms generate approximately $660 billion in gross receipts and employ apprximately 4.7 million workers.
While the growth rate of minority businesses has been remarkable, it has not kept pace with the growth of the minority population. In fact, if minority businesses had grown in pace with the minority population explosion, it would mean an additional 2.4 million firms and gross receipts of $2.5 trillion – that’s nearly four times the current amount of gross receipts.
In addition, 16.1 million more workers would have jobs.
As you can see, the success and growth of minority firms is directly linked to the success and growth of the American economy. Why?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2042 there will be a remarkable shift in the demographics of America. We will once again be a country of immigrants – primarily people of color. Based on this shift, minority entrepreneurs are in a unique position to generate long-term employment and economic sustainability in their communities – and for the United States.
For the next generation of minority entrepreneurs, MBDA will focus on preparing minority business owners to grow in size, scale and capacity – further enabling competition in the global economy.