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  • Submitted on 18 August 2015

    Created on August 18, 2015
     

    Photo of Sara G. ArellanoMy name is Sara G. Arellano. This summer, I joined many other students as a Department of Commerce intern. However, that may be where the similarities end, as I am considered a non-traditional student. After raising a family and working in the private sector, I decided to pursue a bachelor degree in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. As a non-traditional, female student of Mexican descent my journey thus far has been at times – challenging. Nonetheless, I have overcome stereotypical assumptions based on my gender and ethnicity with determination and support from mentors who believed in my ability to succeed.

    Similarly, minority-owned firms encounter challenges and obstacles as they grow their businesses.  Over 45 years ago, President Nixon recognized these barriers and established the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to promote the growth and expansion of minority-owned business.  Today, MBDA continues to link minority-owned firms with the access to capital, contracts, and markets they need to expand.

  • Submitted on 13 August 2015

    Created on August 13, 2015
     

    Lauren Rosario, Innovation Analyst at CodeMyMobile, attended the Commerce Department’s Open for Innovation event because she was interested to learn what established corporations and startups were doing to innovate their products and companies. Through events like Open for Innovation, she believes the government has the ability to attract a caliber of businesses that entrepreneurs would not have an opportunity to meet with otherwise, providing valuable networking opportunities.

  • Submitted on 13 August 2015

    Created on August 13, 2015

     

    Rod Robinson, Founder and CEO of ConnXus, Inc., a supplier relationship platform that manages all aspects of a corporation’s diversity and compliance programs, discusses the important role a government organization like MBDA plays in the success of an entrepreneur. He believes taking advantage of resources provided by MBDA, such as access to data and analytics to support the business model, as well as meeting with fellow mentors that have walked in their shoes, allows entrepreneurs to reach their full potential.

  • Submitted on 12 August 2015

    Created on August 12, 2015
     

    MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Deputy Director Albert Shen, Associate Director Efrain Gonzalez, along with MBDA staff Tooba Awan and Longyang ZhuAs the only Federal agency dedicated to the competitiveness of minority businesses, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) was honored to be invited as guests of the White House during the inaugural White House Demo Day hosted by President Barack Obama. The half-day event showcased over 90 minority and female entrepreneurs presenting their groundbreaking and innovative work.

    MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Deputy Director Albert Shen, Associate Director Efrain Gonzalez, along with MBDA staff Tooba Awan and Longyang Zhu, shared MBDA's client success stories with the entrepreneurs present. MBDA representatives informed the start-ups on federal procurement opportunities and the role MBDA’s nationwide network of Business Centers play in promoting inclusive entrepreneurship through access to contracts, capital, and markets.

  • Submitted on 12 August 2015

    Created on August 12, 2015

     

    In her role as co-founder of LessonCast Learning, a learning platform that helps community members share best practices, Nicole Tucker-Smith keeps an idealistic mindset that helps her elevate her company to the next level. But she also recognizes the importance of balancing idealism with practicality. The Minority Business Development Agency helps entrepreneurs, like Nicole, with identifying and taking advantage of resources that support day-to-day tasks of a budding startup.

  • Submitted on 11 August 2015

    Created on August 11, 2015
     

    Business Owner with Open SignEntrepreneurs are the driving force of our 21st century economy. They have the power to spur innovation, create jobs, stabilize communities, and inspire the next generation of inventors.

    At the Department of Commerce, it is our goal to create the economic conditions that allow start-ups and entrepreneurs to succeed. While we meet this goal through a wide variety of Department initiatives, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) focuses on accessing and engaging the talents and inventiveness of all our citizens through inclusive innovation efforts. Inclusive entrepreneurship and inclusive innovation means that every American, regardless of their background or past, has the opportunity to engage the marketplace and offer their goods, services, gifts, and talents to the world.

  • Submitted on 30 June 2015

    In the spirit of Immigrant Heritage Month, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) celebrates the diverse dimensions of our nation’s communities and the strength we draw from our varied immigrant identities.  From cultural traditions to philosophies, many of us are shaped by our own or our family’s immigrant experiences coming to this country and transitioning into the “American life.”

    In this blog series, we will explore the immigration stories of different AAPI federal leaders and how these experiences have shaped their commitment to public service.

  • Submitted on 29 June 2015

    Created on June 29, 2015
     

    DOJ Community MeetingThis year several U.S. cities have experienced civil unrest in the aftermath of high-profile incidents involving police. Many believe that the unrest stems from a larger, more systemic problem — lack of economic opportunity. When it happened in Baltimore this spring, MBDA was invited to join the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service (CRS) in meetings between Asian business owners and members of the African American community.

    CRS is the U.S. Department of Justice's "peacemaker" for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and disability. MBDA was invited to share information about the services and assistance provided by the Baltimore MBDA Business Center, which is operated under cooperative agreement between the City of Baltimore and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency. The Center provides personalized strategic business consulting and helps local businesses gain access to the technical resources needed to grow their businesses, create jobs, and advance the city’s economy. In FY 2014, the Center helped minority business owners secure over $90 million in contracts and capital.

  • Submitted on 29 June 2015

    Created on June 29, 2015
     

    Pitch City: New OrleansOver the past two years, New Orleans has gained recognition as a great place to live and work. It was voted #1 city for young entrepreneurs in America by Under30CEO.com, #1 metro area in the U.S. in Economic Recovery by the Brookings Institution, and #2 big city for jobs by Forbes. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) via our local New Orleans business center is constantly seeking innovative and effective opportunities to support the city’s minority business enterprises (MBEs).  Whether it’s through collaborations with other federal agencies, state and local government or private corporation partnerships, MBDA plays a vital role in connecting MBEs to opportunities to expand and grow their organizations.

    This week, in collaboration with Essence Festival, MBDA will host the Minority Business Executive Institute July 3-4, 2015 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.  This event will be an intensive two day training course for 25 emerging minority entrepreneurs from the Gulf Coast Region. The training will focus on key elements for business growth and success.  Several successful CEOs and business owners will offer valuable insight on topics such as company branding, the importance of social media and knowing your competition. Essence Festival is one of the biggest African American gatherings in the country and MBDA’s partnership with Essence provides the perfect platform to provide training opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.

  • Submitted on 09 June 2015

    Created on June 9, 2015
     

    Tech TalentThis post originally appeared on the White House Blog

    We are excited to be out in California today to roll up our sleeves and participate in the “Diversity in Tech” workshop, hosted by the White House and the Kapor Center for Social Impact. We are here to brainstorm and strategize with innovators from throughout the technology ecosystem to learn about what's worked for employers to recruit, retain, and advance top talent from under-represented communities, and for venture capitalists to fund and advise the full range of early start-up teams. We will hear about what’s working already that could be scaled now, as well as understand where challenges need pilot exploration work and urgent innovation.

    According to the Kapor Center, of all workers in the U.S. tech sector, only 7% are Latino, 6% are African-American, and only 15% come from the AAPI community. And women occupy only 28% of STEM jobs in the American workplace. According to surveys, 87% of U.S. venture capital-backed business founders are white, 12% are Asian, and less than 1% are African American. Less than 3% of companies that receive venture capital funding have a woman CEO. As a nation, we are leaving top talent on the sidelines, and that is a mistake for American businesses in a globally competitive economy.  

    “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

    — Albert Einstein

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