Posted at 12:51 PM
The Minority Business Development Agency celebrates the annual achievements of outstanding entrepreneurs during National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week. The National Minority Business Awards, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s most prestigious recognition for minority-owned firms, awards individuals and organizations with a demonstrated commitment to minority business enterprises, presenting accolades across three main categories – minority-owned firms, champions of minority business and individual recognition. Here’s a look at the award-winning qualities of several past recipients.
Creativity ● CF Creative
How can you make sure that your business stands out in a crowded marketplace? A healthy dose of creativity. Named the 2017 marketing and communications firm of the year, CF Creative specializes in corporate branding, business writing, and social media management. The firm’s end-to-end strategic communication offerings support a variety of clients, from small startups to established corporations, driving growth through creative impact.
Social Responsibility ● Indatatech
Successful businesses work to affect positive change in their communities. Indatatech’s commitment to community involvement and job creation – the vast majority of its employees are military veterans – earned the enterprise and its founder, Bede Ramcharan, MBDA’s top honors for veteran-owned businesses. Ramcharan not only manages this international supply chain solutions company, he also owns and operates the San Antonio Veterans Institute, a non-profit providing alternative health care to manage battle-invisible injuries.
Stewardship ● Live Oak Bank
Leaders who excel at supervising large, diverse groups of employees are best equipped to guide businesses through challenges. Erin Andrew, managing director of Live Oak Bank, is a finance and implementation expert who previously stewarded a $100 billion government loans program at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Her influential work in the financial community garnered praise for her firm’s ongoing capital investment in minority-owned businesses.
Business Savvy ● Pivotal Practices Consulting
Tapping into the expertise of others is a hallmark of savvy businesses. Pivotal Practices offers trusted counsel to senior leaders on talent and human resource solutions. The minority business enterprise’s collaborative, strengths-based consulting services build inclusive workplaces and enhance client capabilities.
Leadership ● Dr. Fred McKinney
Promoting diversity in business is a common trait among exceptional leaders in the public and private sectors. Dr. Fred McKinney, the recipient of last year’s Ronald H. Brown leadership award, is the managing director of minority business programs at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is a champion of economic self-sufficiency through inclusive access to the national economy, and he exemplifies the principles of MBDA and the legacy of Ronald H. Brown, the first African-American Secretary of Commerce.
Technological Experimentation ● J&F Alliance Group
Adapting to a broad range of innovative capabilities increases a company’s ability to thrive in an evolving economic climate while demonstrating a willingness to approach new operational techniques. J&F Alliance Group, an IT company that was crowned the 2017 Minority Technology Firm of the Year, specializes in the unique study of customized augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality applications.
Job Creation ● Vista Color
The best employers continuously recruit talented and diverse candidates while providing them with the necessary tools to succeed. Vista Color, the 2017 Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year, recently hired additional staff, maintaining a current workforce of more than 100 employees.
Expansion to New Markets ● Natural Vitamins Laboratory
Identifying opportunities in untapped markets is a surefire way to grow your business. Natural Vitamins Laboratory is a perfect example of that approach. What began as a two-person operation has grown over the past 25 years to one of the fastest-growing exporters of vitamins. NVL exports roughly $4.5 million in products to countries throughout Latin and South America and the Middle East.
Community Involvement ● Detroit Manufacturing Systems, LLC
By providing employees with opportunities to volunteer, donate and mentor within their communities, minority businesses can make a remarkable difference. The 2014 Minority Manufacturer of the Year, Detroit Manufacturing Systems, is a minority-owned business that employs 1,000 people and demonstrates dedication to revitalizing Detroit and the state of Michigan through community involvement and job creation.
Global Outlook ● CIeNET International
Some of the most successful MBEs leverage relationships with their home countries to grow their businesses. Jeff Fang, Chairman of CIeNET International, was born in Taiwan and made sure that one of his early hires was an experienced Chinese professional that maintained close ties with locals in China. CIeNET, the 2010 Minority Global Technology Firm of the Year, is now a leading technical service provider with clients not only across Asia but also throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North America.