BALTIMORE, MD. (March 21, 2014) —Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Alejandra Castillo, acting national director of U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and many other distinguished guests, to launch the MBDA Business Center – Baltimore, made possible through a three-year, $900,000 grant that was awarded in September 2013. Baltimore is the only municipality to be awarded this grant.
The MBDA Business Center – Baltimore will create and retain jobs by providing consulting services and facilitating access to contracts, capital and new international market opportunities to eligible minority and women-owned businesses.
“The MBDA Business Center will spur job creation and retention, as well as award more minority- and women-owned businesses with the support they need to grow and thrive," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “This center fits perfectly into my vision for growing Baltimore—through economic empowerment that can stimulate job creation. I want Baltimore to be a mecca for entrepreneurs and a place where small businesses know they can prosper.”
The MBDA Business Center will assist minority firms to achieve higher levels of growth and competitiveness. Operated through the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development (MWBD), the center will provide minority business enterprises (MBEs) with the necessary guidance and support to obtain large-scale procurements/contracts and financing awards; and, access established supply chains. Additionally, the center will educate and assist minority firms on joint ventures, teaming arrangements, mergers and acquisitions; as well as facilitate entry and large-scale transactions in global markets.
“I am pleased to join Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Director Castillo to launch Baltimore’s MBDA Business Center,” Congressman Cummings said. “This center will ensure that the minority business enterprises in Baltimore will have access to the resources they need to succeed in our global economy. Minority and women-owned businesses create sustainable jobs. By strengthening these businesses, we uplift our entire community. It’s a win-win for us all.”
Co-located with the Baltimore Development Corporation’s Small Business Resource Center at the Johns Hopkins at Eastern Building, MBEs will now have a one-stop shop for resources, assistance and expertise. While the MBDA Business Center–Baltimore will provide assistance to all MBEs, it specifically targets those with annual revenues of more than $1 million, and/or that participate in a high-growth industry, such as green technology, clean energy, healthcare, infrastructure and broadband technology among others.
Vernon Marrow, project director, will manage the MBDA Business Center. David Mosley will serve as business consultant, and Megan Roundtree, as project coordinator. The MBDA Business Center–Baltimore team is currently working on developing strategic private and public partnerships that will increase revenues and expand MBEs regionally, nationally and globally.
“This center will be yet another critical component in strengthening the ecosystem that will ensure the growth of minority businesses in the City of Baltimore,” said Alejandra Castillo, MBDA, acting national director.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s MBDA helps to create and sustain U.S. jobs by promoting the growth and global competitiveness of businesses owned and operated by minority entrepreneurs. It is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the full participation and entrepreneurship of minority business enterprises in the United States.
“In order to grow Baltimore, we must ensure the success of minority-owned businesses by positioning them to become competitively viable enterprises,” concluded Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “My ultimate goal is to plant the seeds and clear the path to create a new generation of minority and women-owned firms who will someday have annual revenues of $100 million, or more. The MBDA Business Center- Baltimore will help accelerate our timeline in achieving our goals.”