Posted at 8:00 AM
Thank you Janet for that kind introduction.
I appreciate Janet’s comments on Asian efficiency. I prepared a nice long speech, but right before I came in, I was told that I needed to cut it short by a lot. So, in the spirit of my new found heritage and the efficiency that it brings, I will keep my comments brief.
I bring you greetings from President Barack Obama, Acting Secretary of Commerce Dr. Rebecca Blank, and an Administration who appreciates the great work you are doing to build leaders of today and tomorrow. When I first learned of the invitation to address you today, I was intrigued by the Conference theme: “The Road to Revolutionary Leadership.” In politics, revolutionary leadership is the type of leadership that is change oriented and has a major and positive impact on society and/or on the human condition.
Ironically, the opposite of Revolutionary leadership is “REACTIONARY” leadership. This type of leadership wants things to go back to the way they were before the change occurred. Sometimes you may hear from this type of leadership that we need to take our country back or that we need to “TARGET” those who do not agree with us or that some Americans are unpatriotic because of their views – REACTIONARY LEADERSHIP.
I am glad that the theme of this conference is “The Road to Revolutionary Leadership” and not the “The Road to Reactionary Leadership.” So please join me in giving the organizers of this conference a warm round of applause for their extraordinary vision and commitment to excellence.
Over the past two years, you have had a front row seat to history, where the stark differences between Revolutionary Leadership and Reactionary Leadership have been played out on a world stage at a level of aggressiveness and toxicity never before seen in modern times. Now our nation has embarked upon a national discussion on what type of leadership will guide us as we progress through this difficult economic period.
In a short 16 months we must all choose the type of leadership we prefer. Will you choose Revolutionary leadership?– leadership that is driven by a vision of a greater America; that believes that we can win our future by out-educating, out-innovating and out-building our global competitors; and that believes that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people. Or will you choose REACTIONARY leadership? - leadership that believes that our yesterdays are better than our tomorrows, that believes that what is best for a few of us is best for all of us, and that believes that a willingness to work together to find common ground is a form of weakness.
Allow me a few minutes to talk about the Revolutionary leadership of the Obama administration and our results. Just two years ago, America was loosing 750,000 jobs per month and was in the midst of the worst economic period since the Great Depression. President Obama responded and today has created more than 2.4 million private sector jobs, saved millions of existing jobs, and [the country] has experienced eight consecutive quarters of economic growth. While we all agree that this is not enough given the 12 million people in America who are unemployed and the one in seven families who now use food stamps, we have made substantial headway in light of the risks we face in the global markets….Revolutionary Leadership.
My agency, the Minority Business Development Agency, helped create nearly 11,000 new jobs during this period and save tens of thousands of existing jobs. In addition, over the last two years we have helped minority-owned business, many of them are businesses owned and managed by Asian-Americans, gain access to nearly $7.0 billion of contracts and capital through our national network of business centers.
Our administration has cut taxes an unprecedented 17 times for small businesses. We are aggressively promoting entrepreneurship and innovation through our Start-up America Partnership program. And we are increasing access to capital through expanded SBA loan guarantees and the launching of two - one billion dollar funds for impact investing and early-stage seed financing.
We have put in place a fast track mechanism so you can accelerate your patent application through the US-Patent and Trademark Office. Moreover, we have expanded export financing and created greater access to economic opportunities outside the United States.
This is important because 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and we must sell to them if we are going to move our economy to an export-focused economy as outlined in the President’s National Export Initiative. Asian-American owned businesses play a critical roll in this effort.
Finally, we have focused on the unique needs of the various Asian-American communities through our White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Now how many people own businesses? – Raise your hand.
How many people want to own businesses?
How many of you want to do business outside of the United States?
If you fall into any of these categories, we encourage you to join us at our National MED Week Conference, a conference that is attended by the senior management teams of thousands of businesses and many senior members of the Obama Administration as well as executives from the nation’s largest corporations. At MED Week you will: learn how to acquire a business, export products and services around the world, and build relationships with top corporate executives.
MED Week is being held September 27-30 in Washington DC. You can go to www.medweek.gov or www.mbda.gov to learn more about the benefits of attending MED Week. And we would be delighted to partner with the NAAAP to insure that you have an outstanding MED Week experience.
I would like to conclude by thanking you again for allowing me to join you at this Conference. The Minority Business Development Agency and the Obama Administration are your partners, so partner with us and allow us to partner with you. But there are other key partners that you need to access, and these partners are right in this room. I want you to take a moment and look at the person sitting next to you. Look at them closely. Feel free to stare.
You are not just looking at beautiful eyes and a wonderful smile.You are looking at a person who can be your next investor, a person that could help you to refine your idea, a person that can help you consider something that you may not have considered, or a person that can add energy to your vision, so take the time to get to know them.
It is also important that you work with other minority groups – Hispanic American, African Americans, Native Americans and Hasidic Jewish Americans – who can also help you identify new markets both domestically and internationally and add value to your current or future company.
We must all work together if we are going to win our future, so let us all commit to being revolutionary leaders and go out and change the world.