Posted at 7:15 AM
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for constructing an economy built to last -- an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and American ingenuity. An economy that’s built on making things the rest of the world wants to buy and where, if you work hard, you can earn a decent living.
It is a message that has deep resonance for the minority business community. Especially when it is backed-up by actions that create greater opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Supporting the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned firms is a priority for the Department of Commerce and the Obama Administration. And we are making good on that priority.
BusinessUSA was recently launched by the Administration to make it easier than ever for business leaders and innovators to access the services they need to start or grow a business, export to other markets, or learn about the latest contracting opportunity. BusinessUSA is specifically designed to help meet the President’s goal of streamlining business-related agencies to better meet the needs of America’s businesses in the 21st Century global economy. For too long, entrepreneurs – and especially small business owners – have been forced to navigate a confusing maze of government agencies to get the support and resources they need.
BusinessUSA isn’t just another website. It’s a virtual one-stop shop that gives businesses access to the full range of resources they need at every stage of their development.
Foreign investments also play an important role in the U.S. economy. Among their many contributions, foreign-owned companies operating in the United States support more than 5.3 million jobs. SelectUSA was launched by the Commerce Department to attract, retain and expand foreign investments. It will help investors navigate our rules and procedures and it will represent the entire nation in promoting the benefits of investing in the United States.
MBDA is an active partner in these initiatives.
There’s no question that the global marketplace of the 21st Century is opening up new avenues for minority entrepreneurs. By linking foreign investors and firms with U.S. minority-owned businesses, MBDA will help create greater opportunities in this arena for minority-owned enterprises.
And there’s no doubt that in this constantly changing economic environment, an economy that’s built to last must have a strong minority business community leading innovation and creating jobs. Last year, MBDA registered the best annual performance in its 41-year history. It assisted minority-owned businesses in gaining access to nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital, supporting the creation of nearly 6,000 much-needed jobs.
This year, we’re on track to surpass last year’s record achievements. We are expanding our presence and strengthening our connection to our clients with new business centers across the country. In January, we opened an MBDA Business Center in Riverside, CA; and in February, we opened a satellite Business Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Like all our centers, they will provide the resources and business development programs that help minority-owned firms secure the contracts, contacts and capital they need to grow and create jobs.
As part of a network of 39 MBDA Business Centers, operating in 25 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, each of these Business Centers will offer services to firms locally, regionally and nationally. So that now, rather than having access to a single center in one location, minority business enterprises will have access to any of the MBDA Business Centers around country.
This month we will officially launch our MBDA Federal Procurement Center in Washington, DC. This center was established as part of our Administration’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has a fair shot at winning federal contracts that amount to nearly $600 billion each year.
These are just a few of MBDA’s actions on the ground designed to create great opportunities for minority entrepreneurs and to make good on the promise to ensure all Americans benefit from government policies and programs.