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News and Announcements

  • Submitted on 17 October 2014

    This Sunday, October 19, 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are launching Business Sunday, a program focused on promoting local economic growth and job creation by connecting religious congregations and communities with the valuable business development resources offered by the federal government.

    Business Sunday events, which will take place in cities and towns around the country, are primarily aimed at individuals looking to start or grow their business. Organized in partnership with local religious congregations and civic associations, these events include presentations from local experts from the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), SBA, and the Department of Health and Human Services on how to access important technical assistance, business counseling, loans and other practical resources. Following the event, attendees will have the opportunity to network and speak individually with the government staff.

  • Submitted on 07 October 2014

    Are you a small business owner with an amazing success story to tell?  If so, submit your nomination today for the 2015 National Small Business Week Awards. Nominations are currently being accepted online at

    For more than 50 years, SBA has recognized the outstanding achievements of America’s small businesses for their contributions in their local communities, and to our nation’s economy. Winners will be announced during National Small Business Week in May 2015.

    Last year, we honored husband-and-wife team Billy Taylor and Brook Harvey-Taylor, the founders of Pacifica which is based in Portland, Oregon as the National Small Business Persons of the Year. With Billy’s entrepreneurial spirit and Brook’s creative vision, the two founders started making candles in 1997. A bold change in the line of products from home fragrances to beauty and perfume products put Pacifica on a growth path to more than double their revenue over a five-year span, ending in 2014. Since 2010 they have managed to expand their staff each year and now have 110 employees.

  • Submitted on 17 September 2014

    Secretary PritzkerSecretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker addressed the urgent need to boost our companies’ economic competitiveness by bringing more women into corporate leadership at the Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom, hosted by the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). 

    Pritzker noted that this pressing challenge of addressing the of a lack of women in corporate leadership is nothing new in American business. Female advancement in corporate America is stagnant. Women hold less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions. Women hold less than 17 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies. And 10 percent of these companies have no women on their boards at all. 

    Women in corporate leadership roles is not solely a women’s issue. Secretary Pritzker argued that it is an issue of economic competitiveness and the presence of more women in the boardroom is critical to companies’ creativity, performance, and ability to thrive in the 21st century. Leadership with diverse and different backgrounds typically mean more creativity, fresh ideas, and better outcomes. 

  • Submitted on 16 September 2014

    Business OwnersToday America can boast its first black president, a growing minority middle class and a rising number of Hispanic, Asian and African-American millionaires and billionaires.

    But many minority-owned businesses still face significant challenges in competing in a marketplace where the odds were stacked against them for decades.

    Even today, many minorities lack access to capital to launch their businesses or allow them to grow and expand to the next level. And many also find it difficult to gain entry to public and private sector contracts.

  • Submitted on 16 September 2014

    Hispanic American-Owned Firms

    In Fiscal Year 2013, MBDA helped Hispanic American-owned businesses access $1 billion in contracts and capital, which led to the creation and retention of 8,965 jobs.

    Quick Facts about Hispanic American-Owned Businesses2

    • There are 2.3 million Hispanic American-owned firms in the United States.

    • Hispanic American-owned firms contribute $351 billion in U.S. economic output and 1.9 million jobs per year.

    • Hispanic American-owned firms with employees average eight workers and $1.1 million in annual receipts.

    • Between 2002 and 2007, Hispanic American-owned firms grew faster than the national average (44 percent) in 27 states and Washington, DC.

    • Hispanic American-owned firms are more concentrated in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.

    Success Story: InterChez

    Hailing from humble beginnings in Cleveland, Ohio, Sharlene Ramos-Chesnes now leads a large and fast-growing international supply chain business. InterChez, a company she runs with her husband Mark, is comprised of several specialized operating units: InterChez Logistics Systems, InterChez Global Services, and InterChez Technologies. Entering its 13th year in business, InterChez employs over 40 full-time employees in Ohio and Michigan.

    The InterChez team consulted with the Cleveland MBDA Business Center on strategies to grow the company by 50 percent. It was determined that financial assistance was needed to achieve that growth, so the Center assisted by identifying potential investors from its pool of financial partners. As a result, InterChez connected with KeyBank and secured a $1 million line of credit.

    The Cleveland MBDA Business Center continued to support Ramos-Chesnes and her business after the initial deal was done. When Ramos-Chesnes expressed interest in Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business Minority Executive Program and the great value it would bring to InterChez and her community, the MBDA Business Center offered to sponsor her attendance. Sharlene Ramos-Chesnes graduated from the program in 2013.

  • Submitted on 05 September 2014

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the launch of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $15 million 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for three separate funding opportunities, including: the i6 Challenge, Science and Research Park Development grants, and cluster grants to support the development of Seed Capital Funds.

  • Submitted on 02 September 2014

    2013: 11.3 million U.S. jobs supported by overall goods and services exports;

    New data show number of jobs supported by goods exports in each state Metro areas exported $1.4 trillion in goods

    The U.S. Department of Commerce today released new data highlighting for the first time the number of jobs supported by goods exports from each of the 50 states, as well as a report on goods[1] exports from the nation’s 387 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in 2013. The Commerce Department research shows that U.S. goods[2] exports supported 7.1 million jobs whereas overall goods and services exports – which totaled $2.3 trillion -- supported more than 11.3 million American jobs in 2013.

    At the same time, U.S. metropolitan areas exported more than $1.4 trillion in goods to the world in 2013, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all U.S. goods exports. Texas exports supported more jobs – an estimated 1.1. million – than were supported by the exports from any other single state. Houston topped metropolitan area rankings for a second consecutive year with $115 billion in goods exports.

  • Submitted on 26 August 2014

    In this week’s address, Alejandra Castillo, Director of the Minority Business Development Association highlighted the progress made towards rebuilding our economy, including the creation of nearly 10 million new private sector jobs in the past 53 months and the rise in the number of American exports to an all-time high. That growth is in part thanks to the actions of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an organization that creates American jobs by helping to take American businesses global.

  • Submitted on 05 August 2014

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered opening remarks today at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on trade and investment opportunities on the continent. In her remarks, Secretary Pritzker stated that the U.S.-Africa economic relationship is fundamental to our mutual peace and prosperity. She discussed the work that the Commerce Department is doing to advance President Obama’s vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations, including expanding the Foreign Commercial Service presence across the continent.

  • Submitted on 28 July 2014


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