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Technology and Business


  • Submitted on 18 October 2011

    The face of America – and of American agriculture – is changing. The number of farms in the United States has grown 4 percent and the operators of those farms have become more diverse in the past five years, according to results of USDA’s most recent Census of Agriculture.  The 2007 Census counted nearly 30 percent more women as principal farm operators. The count of Hispanic operators grew by 10 percent, and the counts of American Indian, Asian and Black farm operators increased as well.  In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of minority-owned businesses grew more than 45 percent between 2002 and 2007.

    American AgricultureTo reflect the diversity of our agricultural sector and business community, USDA is stepping up its efforts to continually supplement its seven Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees (ATACs) with new members, especially those who represent minorities, women, or persons with disabilities. We believe that people with different backgrounds and views will make the work of these committees, and thus of USDA, more effective.

    Applicants should represent a U.S. entity with an interest in agricultural trade and have expertise and knowledge of agricultural trade as it relates to policy and commodity-specific issues. For example, Robert Anderson of Sustainable Strategies LLC has served at different points in time on both the Fruits and Vegetables ATAC and the Processed Foods ATAC. Of his experience, Anderson said, “I had the opportunity to meet directly with the highest levels of international trade leadership in the United States and globally. Most importantly, the U.S. government actually seeks our input, listens, and responds to the needs and expectations of the U.S. agricultural industry.”

    At a time when our economy is trying to rebound from a serious recession, having a voice on one of these committees can make a significant impact on the government decisions that affect our economic future. That’s because agricultural trade plays an extremely important role in the health of our nation’s economy. U.S. agricultural exports have consistently contributed to the positive U.S. trade balance, creating jobs and boosting economic growth. In fiscal 2011, U.S. agricultural exports were forecast to reach a record $137 billion, which supported more than one million jobs in America this year.

  • Submitted on 22 August 2011

    Connecting Line Technological PotentialSmall Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

    The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

  • Submitted on 27 July 2011

    David HinsonFor over 40 years, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has facilitated job growth by fostering the development of minority-owned business here in the United States. Minority business enterprises (MBEs) create jobs in a variety of economic sectors, from manufacturing to hospitality services and everything in between.  

    To ensure that our country remains competitive in the future, we must ensure that minority-owned businesses are providing the jobs of the future. That’s why MBDA works to help minority-owned businesses participate in some of our fastest growing sectors including high-tech, healthcare IT, and green energy.

    Advancements in technology and new developments in information technology bring more opportunities in the tech sector. As healthcare providers improve and update the way they store and share medical records, there will be growing jobs in healthcare IT. Finally, as we transition from fossil fuels to cleaner modes of energy production, there will be more and more opportunities in the green, renewable energy solutions our children and grandchildren will come to rely on.

    These jobs may be updating our electrical grid, maintaining infrastructure, or manufacturing new materials, such as solar panels.

  • Submitted on 01 June 2011

    Green BusinessesRecently, a client of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Ecotech Global Solutions (Ecotech), made inroads into the growing Chinese market that will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    On May 6, 2011, during the U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Forum at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, Ecotech signed a landmark agreement in the fields of energy efficiency and carbon reduction with China Quality Certification Center (CQC).  This collaboration, and others like it, demonstrates that the path to economic prosperity and the path to environmental sustainability are one and the same. 

     

  • Submitted on 24 May 2011

    Regional innovation clusters are based on a simple but critical idea:  if we foster coordination between the private sector and the public sector to build on the unique strengths of different regions - while creating the incentives for them to do so - we will be better equipped to marshall the knowledge and resources that America needs to compete in the global economy.

    The $33 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge that the Obama Administration announced yesterday will help capitalize on shared strengths, encouraging America's regions to plan more strategically to support long-term growth and an environment where the private sector can succeed.  It reflects an understanding by both private sector leaders and policymakers that we must implement strategies that capitalize on the full extent of regional assets and ensure that the benefits of cluster development extend to all workers and communities throughout the region.

  • Submitted on 26 April 2011

    National Director David HinsonIn recognition of Earth Day on April 22nd, I wanted to talk to you about conservation and our efforts to create environmental jobs and promote green technology.

    Conservation means making sure the limited resources we use to power our homes and car and produce materials are used more responsibly. It means maximizing efficiencies and doing more with less—areas in which minority-owned businesses excel. Thankfully, while we may have a finite amount of coal or oil, our entrepreneurial capacity is infinite. Our transition toward a more sustainable system provides countless opportunities for innovation in green industries. 

    Green is also the color of money, and what’s good for the environment is good for the economy. Working towards environmental sustainability creates news jobs, new markets, and new industries. Minority-owned businesses can find excellent opportunities retrofitting houses and offices to be more energy efficient, constructing wind turbines, providing green recycling and disposal services, and more.

  • Submitted on 21 July 2010

    Nowadays, brick-and-mortar merchants use electronic card readers to enter credit card transactions. These gadgets have a slot to swipe a card, and a numeric keypad to enter the numbers manually in case the swipe doesn't work. They may be stand-alone gadgets connected directly to the credit card network via a phone line, or they may be connected to a computer and work in conjunction with a software package.

    Some are even wireless. If you're doing business over the Web, you don't need one of these (regardless of what the people who sell them tell you). What you need is a payment-processing software package. Forget about phoning in orders or using one of those old-fashioned manual card imprinters. The few banks that still allow such transactions are sure to charge a premium rate.

  • Submitted on 21 July 2010

    Most banks charge a percentage of each transaction, called a discount rate, and a fixed per-transaction fee. There is often a fixed monthly fee, a monthly minimum order, and a one-time setup fee as well. A payment-processing system, whether hardware- or software-based, is an additional expense, as we shall see.

    Fees for merchant accounts are like interest rates on loans - they vary depending on the perceived level of risk to the bank. Users of credit cards may refuse to pay certain charges for a variety of reasons, ranging from returned products to honest errors to fraudulent charges. Banks want to encourage the view of credit cards as a safe and convenient way to buy, so they are generally pretty lenient about allowing buyers to make chargebacks, as they are called.

  • Submitted on 21 July 2010

    You can't ignore the role of the Internet in business today. In a very short time, we've gone from mixers and meet-ups to e-mail and tweets. Not having a web site that represents your business today is as negligent as not having business cards.

    You know how important taking your business onine is, but maybe you, like many other business owners, don't have a clue about "this Internet thing" or where to even start.

    Fear not. Taking your business online, while a project unto itself, is not much different from conducting your business any other way if you break it down into basic components.

    Some good reasons for taking your business online

Did you know...

The percentage of clients with annual revenues in excess of $500,000 increased over the last five fiscal years.
Graph for MBDA Client Portfolio made up by SGI Clients

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