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News and Announcements

  • Submitted on 08 February 2016

    25 Grants Issued through the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to Spur Capacity-Building and Access to Capital for Innovators and Entrepreneurs

    WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the 25 awardees that will receive $10 million under the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. The 2015 RIS program is managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) and is designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through two different competitions: the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grants competition.

  • Submitted on 07 February 2016

    The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is part of the Department of Commerce. The Agency’’s mandate is to help strengthen and grow America’s minority owned enterprises. While the Agency provides many services to small businesses, it is not exclusively focused on helping small business. The goal is to help all minority owned businesses grow in size and scale.This might be the reason why the Agency is less known in the small business community than other government funded small business organizations. Organizations such as SCORE, SBDC, and WBC are exclusively dedicated to small businesses.  Also, many of the services offered by the MBDA are very different than those organizations. One area of difference is related to exports. The MBDA can help a minority business determine what markets are best for exporting, help the business make local contacts, and assist in finding financing for any deal.

    I had a chance to interview Alejandra Y. Castillo, the National Director of the MBDA. The interview was set-up through Funding Circle which had just announced a partnership with the MBDA. In the coming months, Funding Circle and the MBDA will be working together on developing financing tools and educational materials that focus on access to alternative capital, business strategy and every business owner’s right to fair and transparent financing.  Funding Circle is a marketplace for small business loans. To date, 12,000 small businesses have borrowed more than $1.5 billion through Funding Circle’s marketplace. Funding Circle offers fixed rate, 1 – 5 year term loans from $25,000 – $500,000 with rates starting at 5.49 percent.

  • Submitted on 02 February 2016

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today opened a competition to award new cooperative funding agreements for its Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in 12 states and Puerto Rico. The competition continues a multiyear effort to update the program’s funding structure to better match manufacturing industry needs with resources in MEP's nationwide network. The MEP centers help small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits and save time and money.

  • Submitted on 01 February 2016

    America's greatness is a testament to generations of courageous individuals who, in the face of uncomfortable truths, accepted that the work of perfecting our Nation is unending and strived to expand the reach of freedom to all. For too long, our most basic liberties had been denied to African Americans, and today, we pay tribute to countless good-hearted citizens -- along the Underground Railroad, aboard a bus in Alabama, and all across our country -- who stood up and sat in to help right the wrongs of our past and extend the promise of America to all our people. During National African American History Month, we recognize these champions of justice and the sacrifices they made to bring us to this point, we honor the contributions of African Americans since our country's beginning, and we recommit to reaching for a day when no person is judged by anything but the content of their character.

  • Submitted on 26 January 2016

    During the week of September 19, 2016, on the occasion of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Department of Commerce will co-host the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on increased trade and investment between the U.S. and African nations. The U.S.-Africa Business Forum will build on the progress of the inaugural Forum, held during the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit with the participation of nearly 50 heads of state or government and more than 150 global CEOs – to further develop trade and business opportunities between the United States and Africa. 

  • Submitted on 19 January 2016

    Last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Director Alejandra Y. Castillo hosted a roundtable with local minority business leaders in New Orleans to discuss the tremendous growth of minority-owned businesses and their impact on the local and national economy. The roundtable also addressed the challenges and opportunities of doing business in the Gulf Coast as the region continues to rebuild from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

  • Submitted on 19 January 2016

    The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative announced today that NASA will become the fifth interagency member to the join the growing partnership.  NASA will work closely with PAGE members who focus their efforts towards supporting entrepreneurship in the science and technology sectors.

    “NASA has long captured the dreams of a nation and represented a whole universe of possibilities for entrepreneurs,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who also chairs the PAGE initiative on behalf of President Obama. “I am really thrilled that Administrator Bolden and NASA have agreed to start working with us on our mission to help aspiring entrepreneurs grow their ideas into businesses.”

  • Submitted on 29 December 2015

    To help minority-owned small businesses navigate the evolving lending landscape and secure the right financing they need to grow, Funding Circle, the world's leading marketplace for business financing, has partnered with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

    Through the partnership, Funding Circle's small business experts will deliver a range of original financial education programs to minority business owners through MBDA's national business center network. The materials will focus on access to alternative capital, business strategy and every business owner's right to fair and transparent financing, as outlined in the Small Business Borrowers' Bill of Rights.

  • Submitted on 10 December 2015

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today delivered remarks and chaired a meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council in Biloxi, Mississippi. During the meeting, the Council approved the Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) totaling approximately $183 million of ecosystem restoration projects. Using funds from the settlement with Transocean Deepwater Inc., the Council is providing initial investments to address critical needs of 10 watersheds across the Gulf to help restore the region’s ecosystem and strengthen economic resilience. 

  • Submitted on 04 December 2015

    MBDA increasing push on policy development

    Agency welcomes new talent to senior leadership team

    The Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency’s mission is to promote the growth of minority owned businesses through the advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research. In the upcoming year, the Agency will continue to build on its programs and services with an expanded focus on policy.

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