Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank
Remarks at Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference
Thank you for the kind words, David [Hinson], and for your excellent leadership of the Minority Business Development Agency. Good morning, everyone. It’s an honor to be among so many talented entrepreneurs and business owners here for our 29th MED Week Conference. In my day job, before I was named Acting Secretary, I was the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs an economist who manages the Commerce Department’s two statistical agencies. Now, I know you all came this morning because you wanted to listen to an economist. But if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I want to talk to you about how our economy got to where it is today and what we need to be doing about it.
It’s a story worth understanding. And it’s a story in which we need more chapters written by businesses like yours. According to our latest survey (Census Survey of Business Owners, 2002), in terms of both numbers and gross receipts, minority-owned firms have grown faster than other firms. For many Americans, I imagine it seemed like we were doing OK in this century’s first decade. In some respects we were. There were folks making a lot of money.
The problem was how few shared in the prosperity and where that prosperity was coming from–a bubble in the financial markets and a bubble in the housing markets. Job growth in the 2000s, in fact, was the lowest of any decade stretching back to the 1940s. That's true even if you stopped measuring at the end of 2007, before the recession started. Meanwhile, wages for middle class Americans stalled, while health care and tuition costs just kept going up. In short, the seeds of today’s economic problems were there. We just didn’t see them very clearly.
Remarks by MBDA National Director David Hinson at the at MED Week Opening Plenary Session
September 28, 2011
Thank you Voice of God for that kind introduction. Welcome to the 29th annual Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference. On behalf of President Barack Obama and Acting Secretary of Commerce Dr. Rebecca Blank, we are delighted you could join us for this very important event.
This year in addition to our many guests from across the Nation, we have visitors from Turkey, England, China, and other parts of the world. And, we all come together not just to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in this nation and around the world. But we come together to learn about business opportunities in the global marketplace and to network and to build stronger relationships across industry sectors.
So, we come here because it is crucial to our Nation that we work together to rebuild the economic foundation of our communities. And it is business owners, those of you who have taken it upon yourself to accept the risks and challenges of building a business, that are leading the way. Read National Director David Hinson Complete Remarks
Secretary Sebelius Remarks at 29th National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference
September 28, 2011
Thank you, David, for that introduction. It’s great to be here with you all today.
I feel very fortunate to lead a department that touches the lives of Americans in every area of the country and from all walks of life. Whether it’s getting health insurance through the Medicare or Medicaid programs, getting checkups at the local community health center, having a child in Head Start, taking a medicine developed by scientists at the NIH, or eating fruits and vegetables monitored by food inspectors at the FDA, every American benefits from our department’s work.
And because we are a department that serves the whole of America – from inner cities in Florida to tribal communities in Alaska and everywhere in between – we believe it’s critical that our department reflects the full diversity of the country we serve.
This has been a personal priority of mine since I arrived at HHS. In the first few months after I became Secretary, I signed an Equal Employment Opportunity policy statement that outlined my strong personal commitment to having an inclusive and diverse workforce. And when it comes to the contractors who support our department and carry out so much of its work, the same principle applies.
We couldn’t do the work we do at HHS without our contractors, and we wouldn’t do it as well as we do if we didn’t recruit from the widest talent pool possible. That’s why we’ve worked aggressively over the last two years to reach out to minority firms across the country. Read Secretary Sebelius Complete Remarks