Posted at 3:50 PM
Good Morning. Stephanie, thank you for the kind introduction. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency, I thank you for extending this invitation to be here with you today. I’m originally from L.A. and it’s good to be home. I can say first-hand, having lived, worked, and started my businesses here, that this is one of the best hubs for game-changing innovation, disruptive technology and fresh ideas.
I arrived at MBDA just a few weeks ago, and I’m excited to have this opportunity to meet our strategic partners, friends, stakeholders and minority business enterprises. Thank you for giving me such a warm welcome and thank you for sharing your insights and knowledge not just with our agency, but with all of the entrepreneurs who are looking to advance their careers and businesses.
For those who may not be familiar with us, MBDA is an operating bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and sustainability of minority-owned firms. Our vision is the economic prosperity for all American businesses. Our mission is to ensure that minority-owned businesses are able to continue to grow, create jobs, and compete in both the domestic and global markets. We do this through our national network of business centers where we position minority-owned companies to perform in high-growth industries, emerging markets and corporate supply chains. MBDA helps secure an annual average of $5.4 billion worth of contracts and financial investments into minority-owned firms. Facilitating access to these contracts and investments helps increase the number of businesses with revenues that exceed $1M and in turn create jobs for Americans.
MBDA’s investment doesn’t just stop with advancing minority firms. We are also a valuable asset to the Federal Government. For every $1 federal dollar spent, MBDA earns one of the highest returns for business assistance programs in the Federal Government. Over the past 10 years, MBDA’s programs and services have secured more than $40 billion in contracts and capital, with accelerating performance averages and returns on investment.
Now, the founders of NASP, including the late Mr. Travers Bell and Mr. Maynard Jackson, understood that Black and minority pioneers on Wall Street had a unique and dual obligation. Their obligation was not just to make money and provide greater opportunity for their families, but also to structure deals that would create greater economic growth and jobs for underserved communities. This message is as true today as it was when Mr. Bell first opened his doors on Wall Street.
That vision is not only significant for minority communities such as mine and many of yours, but it’s also important for the overall prosperity of our Nation. I understand that the landscape of doing business has changed. But what has not changed is our nation’s commitment to minority businesses.
Investing in America and putting America first is the foundation of this Administration. When our President talks about America First, he means it's time to put America’s minority businesses first. From the storefront owner in South Los Angeles to the Investment Banker on Wall Street. You see the President understands that your competition is not coming from around the corner, or the next town, or the next state – but from across the ocean and across different time zones. We no longer operate in a closed domestic economy – we face a complex, changing global economy and to stay competitive we must put America first.
To do this, President Trump is committed to being the President for ALL Americans, and that is especially vital to the minority business community. In his 10 point plan the President states that revitalizing America's rural, urban and inner cities is critical to making America great again. Gone are the days when we accepted weak economic activity, weak job creation as the new norm. President Trump’s promise to the American people is loud and clear: we WILL return to consistent, 3 percent annual GDP growth and we WILL create 25 million new American jobs in the next decade.
I stand before you here today, to voice the President's unwavering, steadfast commitment to the minority business community. If there's one thing that we minority business people have in common, it's that we are all entrepreneurs and nothing has been handed to us – our careers have all been startups. You see, when it comes to entrepreneurship, the United States is the startup of all startups. And President Trump is dedicated to creating the business climate necessary for entrepreneurs to thrive. Eliminating burdensome regulations, simplifying our tax code, and renegotiating unfair trade deals are just a few of the ways to make this happen. Looking forward, I invite you to recalibrate and understand the unique opportunity we have ahead of us.
None of this would be possible without the power of partnership. MBDA values its relationship with NASP. By working together, we are able to make this nation great for every American and ensure equal access to capital, contracts and markets. The way we've done business in the past will not be the way we do business in the future. This Administration is committed to ensuring that the government works for the American people and not the other way around. I come from a different generation, but I stand on the shoulders of those who have led before me. My generation is ready to build on the success of previous leaders and continue to foster an environment that allows minority businesses to grow and thrive. Ladies and gentlemen, members of the board, with your help we can – and we will - make America great again.