Friday, December 7, 2012
Thank you for your kind introduction. On behalf of President Barack Obama and Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank, I am delighted to be with you this afternoon. The Minority Business Roundtable is an invaluable asset for this nation’s nearly 6 million minority-owned businesses.
The efforts undertaken by Roger and his team to ensure that these businesses are engaged in the policy arena has truly helped them have a hand in their own competitiveness. Nearly four years into the Obama Administration there is increasing evidence the American economy is moving forward again.
The latest numbers on manufacturing and unemployment tell us we’re heading in the right direction, and minority-owned businesses have a critical role to play in maintaining the momentum. Nationwide there are more than 5.8 million minority-owned businesses that contribute over $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy, employ six million Americans, and create ten million more jobs through their economic activity.
For the past decade, it has been these minority-owned firms that have been the leaders in job creation and innovation. In fact, just yesterday at our 30th Annual Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference, MBDA honored some of those job creators and innovators. This includes manufacturers such as Michael Sawyer, President and CEO of 7Delta providing IT solutions to defense and federal civilian agencies. 7Delta started as a basement office with one employee and is now employing over 200 employees with revenues expected to exceed $45 million in 2012.
Exporters such as D.W. Morgan Company Inc., which has grown from an entrepreneurial start-up to providing export logistics to customers in 85 countries. They also employ nearly 300 people with revenue exceeding $237 million. It is our goal at MBDA to ensure their continued success as well as that of the minority business community at large thus strengthening the economy and creating the jobs Americans need.
But more than that, we are also focused on increasing the size, scale and capacity of minority business enterprises so that we can create a new generation of minority-owned firms with annual revenues of $100 million, or more. President Obama has laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and improved skills for American workers.
An economy where everyone has a fair chance, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. It is a message that has deep resonance for the minority business community. Especially when it is backed up by actions that help minority-owned businesses grow and prosper. The president has called on all of us to strengthen public-private relationships so that U.S. businesses have every opportunity and tool to succeed.
MBDA has answered the President’s call creating unprecedented opportunities for minority-owned enterprises to increase their global competitive advantage and their capabilities to create jobs. We now have a nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers providing businesses with on-the-ground support and the resources they need to thrive and flourish.
Since the beginning of the Obama administration:
MBDA and its business centers have created and saved nearly 30,000 American jobs.
And MBDA Business Centers have helped clients secure contracts and financial awards totaling over $15 billion.
Last year alone, MBDA secured nearly $4 billion in financing opportunities and contracts while creating more than 5800 new jobs.
MBDA also achieved a Return on Investment (ROI) of 130 times. That’s up from an ROI of 102 times at the start of the Obama Administration.
And we continue to look for new ways to expand our reach through new centers. Over the course of the Obama Administration, MBDA has opened centers in Boston; Cleveland; Denver; Minneapolis; Memphis; Fresno and Anchorage, Alaska. We have provided $1 million in additional funding to existing centers to create specialty focuses assisting firms take advantage of global opportunities as well as expand their footprint in advanced manufacturing and health IT
Each investment helps MBDA further our mission to assist minority-owned businesses gain access to contracts; access to capital and access to markets. This year, we also launched an MBDA Business Center in Washington, DC that is focused exclusively on federal contracting. The center was established as part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to ensuring that all U.S. businesses share in the jobs and opportunities created by federal government activities.
It is MBDA’s first Business Center to focus solely on federal contracting. As I am sure some of you have experienced, trying to navigate the federal government’s current procurement process can often be too daunting for many small and minority-owned businesses to tackle on their own. In 2010, only 8% of federal contracts were awarded to small and disadvantaged businesses. Through the Federal Procurement Center, MBDA will increase the probability of success for minority-owned firms by offering specialized assistance in both identifying and accessing federal procurement opportunities, as well as guidance on how to excel in federal contracts, including prime and sub contracts.
It’s a win – win proposition. Minority businesses will have an outstanding opportunity to gain access to the federal government contracting arena, while at the same time, government will benefit from the untapped potential of the minority business community. The administration has also identified boosting exports as critical to stimulating our country’s economic growth and job creation.
Based on the President’s vision, the agencies within the Department of Commerce have operated with one simple imperative: To help American businesses build it here and sell it everywhere. With 95 percent of the world’s population living outside the United States, the value of tapping into international markets cannot be overstated.
This is another area where minority-owned businesses play a leadership role. Indeed, these businesses have the best export statistics of any segment in the economy. Because of shared languages, cultural affinities, and connections in other countries, minority-owned businesses are natural exporters. In fact, minority-owned firms are more likely to export than non-minority-owned firms. Their global reach spans 41 countries on six continents.
Two years ago, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI) to help American businesses sell their goods and services abroad and to ensure fair and open export markets for American businesses. The goal, shared by MBDA, was to double U.S. exports in five years and support millions of additional jobs and I’m happy to say we’re on track to meet this goal ahead of schedule.
The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce show that in 2011, jobs supported by exports increased to 9.7 million, up 1.2 million since 2009. And, for the first time in U.S. history, annual exports of goods and services exceeded $2 trillion. In support of the NEI, MBDA has been working collaboratively with the International Trade Administration, Export-Import Bank and other trade-related entities to expand global business opportunities for U.S. minority-owned firms.
Through business-to-business networking events, trade missions, and the Agency’s annual conference, minority-owned firms have been able to leverage global business opportunities in Australia, China, South Africa, Turkey, India, Mexico and Germany. In addition to promoting the minority business community on the global stage and establishing partnerships to create opportunities, MBDA has also been assisting clients in seizing existing opportunities and growing their businesses.
We’re also at the beginning of a new era that puts a premium on products made in the USA and supports more good jobs being originated or relocated back home. The administration is creating new incentives to revitalize manufacturing in the United States. This is a critical sector of the economy that holds the key to sustainable growth.
Over 400,000 jobs have been added in the last two years because of the manufacturing sector. Additionally, manufacturing accounts for 60% of U.S. exports. As part of the Department’s efforts,MBDA is fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in high-growth industries such as: Clean and Renewable Energy; Green Technology and Healthcare IT. Further, in September of this year MBDA designated the Atlanta MBDA Business Center as a specialty center focused providing businesses with expertise in advanced manufacturing.
One excellent example is the work we’ve done with a company called Sirius Chemical Group, doing business as Global Water, LLC. in McDonough, Georgia. The company -- a manufacturer and provider of cleaning products -- hopes one day to provide healthier drinking water at the tap for 130 million homes. The MBDA Business Center in Atlanta assisted Sirius in developing a business plan to support the company’s growth, researched sources of capital, provided introductions, assisted in developing presentations, and provided access to networking opportunities. As a result, Sirius Chemical Group secured a $6.6 million contract which will indirectly create 12 new jobs and retain 11 employees.
I am immensely proud of the accomplishments of MBDA during my tenure and am confident that we will continue to build upon these successes. However, we would not have been able to achieve our record performance without the vision and leadership of President Obama. President Obama understands that in order to create jobs our nation’s minority-owned businesses must be supported.
With the President’s push for economic fairness and his commitment to keeping alive the promise that if you work hard, you will do well, this is a very exciting time for the minority business community. I also want to take a moment and thank all of you who are creating jobs through your companies or organizations. And for those of you who are entrepreneurs, who are on your way to creating new jobs, I want to extend the support of the Department of Commerce we are here to assist you.
We are here to serve as a catalyst in helping you realize the full potential of your business. We’re here to work with you in creating that new generation of minority-owned firms with annual revenues of $100 million, or more. Each of you represents a community that will be the foundation of our nation moving forward.
I look forward to working with all of you in constructing an economy that’s strong and sustainable, an economy that’s “built to last.”