New York City
April 4, 2013
Thanks you for the kind introduction. I am delighted to be here with you at this business and innovation conference and it is always a good day when you can follow your boss at the podium.
I have had the occasion to work with Dr. Blank for several years now as she guided the Department of Commerce and I can say first hand that she is one of our nation’s finest leaders. Dr. Blank, thank you for your great work and great leadership. Please join me in giving her another round of applause!
I also want to echo, the thank you to both Senior Vice Chancellor Hershenson and to Congressman Rangel for their tremendous service to the people of New York and to our Nation. And I would be remiss if I did not recognize those from this district and from the City of New York who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those who served in the military defending our freedoms and our opportunities.
Congressman Rangel is a veteran of the Korean War and he knows first hand that freedom costs. More importantly if he were standing here beside me he would tell you that it is critical to take advantage of every opportunity that is available to you.
As Dr. Blank pointed out, we have a lot of work to do if we are going to get America back to the position as the leading growth nation in the world and I would submit to you that during your lifetime this will be both your greatest challenge and your greatest opportunity.
Today, there are well over 27 million businesses in the United States. And if you are an ethnic minority you come from a group that has built nearly 6 million businesses that generate over $1 trillion in annual economic output to the U.S. economy. But far too few of these companies are technology driven and far too few take advantage of the technological opportunities that are right in front of us.
Over the past five decades information technology has grown to be a $500 billion industry and is still growing. We see tremendous opportunities in biotechnology, energy technology, green technology in both buildings and equipment, and there are exciting new opportunities in healthcare technology.
How many of you have a Facebook account? How many of you have used a cell phone APP? A decade ago there was no Facebook. And in January 2011 the 10 billionth app, let me say that again the 10 billionth app, was downloaded. Technology is your future and your future is right now!
We need you to create, develop and commercialize new technologies and I suspect many of you have good ideas right now that can create new industries or expand existing industries. But to be successful you need partners. So allow me to take a few moments and talk to you about how the U.S. government can be your key partner in starting your technology-based business – grow your business and successfully exporting your goods and services around the world.
When you think of innovating and then turning that innovation into a business – there is no greater federal partner than the Department of Commerce! We have an important program to support you called the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP). This program offers everything from assisting you in obtaining capital, incorporating innovative technologies into your business, assisting you with finding a Research and Development Partner or helping you “go-green”. The MEP is a nation-wide program with nine centers in New York including an Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation located in New York City. You can visit the following website www.itac.org and learn how this program can assist you.
The Department of Commerce also supports fast growing minority-owned businesses through the Minority Business Development Agency, which I lead. We have an integrated network of more than 40 business centers across the nation all designed to assist you regardless of which city you live in.
These centers provide you with individualized technical assistance in addition to access to capital, access to contract opportunities and relationships to help you grow your business and build wealth for your families, your community and the nation.
There are two MBDA Business Center here in New York City, one in Mid-town Manhattan and another in Brooklyn and if you need support in advanced manufacturing or healthcare technology we will refer you to our MBDA business center in Atlanta. Over the past 4 years these business centers have assisted minority-owned firms in gaining nearly $15 billion in contract and capital. This is real support that is available to you, so please engage us at www.mbda.gov.
If we are going to keep our economy growing, we need to ensure that opportunities to prosper are open to all the innovative risk-takers and entrepreneurs who are pursuing the American dream.
Finally, the federal government is here to help you export your goods and services around the world. 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States and 80% of the world wealth outside the United States you are missing a tremendous opportunity if you are not thinking about taking advantage of the global market place.
One of the things that is unique about living in New York City is that you actually “live in” a global market place. 800 languages are spoken in New York, 56% of the population is non-white, and 36% of the population is foreign born. Many of your classmates, neighbors or co-workers are represented in these statistics. And they very well may be your access point to a market that you never would have considered.
Living in New York is living in a global market place and every time you walk down the street you will likely see the face of someone whose home country has billions of dollars of opportunity available to you. But again you need a partner and your primary export support partner is the Department of Commerce - International Trade Administration (ITA).
ITA has trade offices in over 100 cities and five are located here in New York. We also have offices in 82 countries though out the world, so there is literally no major export market you do not have access to through the Department of Commerce. You can go to www.trade.gov to learn more the export assistance available to you.
I would add that MBDA is also here to assist you in preparing to export your goods and services if you are a minority-owned business so again take advantage of it.
The federal government in particular the U.S. Department of Commerce is an often overlooked resource available to you. As a former business owner I can tell you that you should access every resource that is available to you.
If you truly want to be successful – commit to leaving no stone unturned.
We are here to help you start your business, particularly if it is a technology based business, grow your business and help you export your goods and services around the world.
Thank you and I would be delighted to answer any questions that you may have.