Historical Highlights

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The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) was originally established as the Office of Minority Business Enterprise by President Richard M. Nixon on March 5, 1969. By establishing a federal agency dedicated exclusively to minority business enterprise, President Nixon recognized the impact of minority businesses on the nation’s economy and on the general welfare of the country.

Related Information: Executive Order 11625   |   Past Directors   |    Congress Passes Resolution Honoring MBDA's 40th Anniversary    

Highlights of MBDA’s history are as follows:



1969President Nixon signs Executive Order 11458 creating OMBE and the Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprise.  OMBE and the Advisory Council partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct the first Survey of Minority-Owned Business Enterprises. View Richard Nixon's Presidential Diary for March 5thThomas Roesner (1969-1970)
1971President Nixon signs Executive Order 11625 and expands the scope of MBDA and its minority business programs by authorizing grants to public and private organizations to provide technical and management assistance to minority business enterprises (MBEs).Abraham Venable (1970-1971)

19721969 Survey of Minority Owned Business EnterprisesThe first Survey of Minority Owned Business Enterprises is published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 1969 approximately 322,000 business enterprises having total receipts of $10.6 billion were minority-owned. One-half of these were black-owned-163,000 with total receipts of $4.5 billion - and 100,000 with receipts  of $3.3 billion were Spanish-speaking minority-owned firms. Of the total minority-owned firms operating in 1969, 90,000 were employer firms (i.e., having one paid employee or more). These employer firms accounted for 82 percent of total receipts of all black-owned firms, 84 percent of the total receipts of Spanish-speaking minority-owned firms and 88 percent of the receipts of firms owned by other minority groups. Download the first survey to learn more.

1973OMBE establishes a national business service network of business development organizations and provides seed funding to numerous minority advocacy organizations, such as the National Minority Purchasing Council (now known as the National Minority Supplier Development Council), Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Economic Development Association (NEDA), Chicago Economic Corporation and the National Council of LaRaza.John Jenkins (1971-1973)
1974OMBE decentralizes and establishes 6 regional offices and 13 district offices to enhance outreach and the monitoring of the national network of centers.Alex Armendaris (1973-1977)
1977Executive Order 12007 terminated the Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprise.Randolph Blackwell (1977-1979)
1979The Office of Minority Business Enterprise became the Minority Business Development Agency.Daniel Henson (1979-1980)

The Minority Business Development Center program was established and became the MBDA’s primary method for delivering technical and management services to MBEs.  MBDA served ninety-four Metropolitan Statistical Areas and an Information Center was created, which collected, published, and disseminated data and information pertinent to MBEs.

Victor Rivera (1981-1983)


1983President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12432 giving the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Cabinet Council on Commerce and Trade, broad authority to oversee the establishment, preservation and strengthening of federal minority business enterprise programs.  President Ronald Reagan also signed a Presidential Proclamation designating the first week of October as Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week). President Reagan Remarks at a White House Ceremony Marking the Observance of Minority Enterprise Development Week

Randolph Blackwell (1977-1979)

1989In 1989, the Bush Administration expressed a firm desire to have all Americans participate domestically and internationally in the free enterprise system and called for MBDA to create new national programs and policies. MBDA created a National Franchise Program, added funding for the Native American Business and Trade Association, and also funded the Cities in School program providing training to increase minority youth business and entrepreneurial skills.Kenneth Bolton (1989-1990)
1990Following the First Gulf War, MBDA and the International Trade Administration (ITA) sent a delegation of MBEs to meet with the Crown Prince of Kuwait – this was the first U.S. trade mission to Bahrain.  The success of this mission led to other ITA missions with minority businesses to South America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

1992Following the riots in Los Angeles, MBDA assembled a roundtable of federal, state and local government organizations to coordinate and support disaster recovery for local minority businesses. 

Joe Lira (1991-1993)

1995MBDA executed a Memorandum of Understanding with ITA and participated in several trade missions that provided opportunities for minority business enterprises to export their products to Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and Peru.Michael Rogers (1994-1995)

1996MBDA focused on relationships with the private sector with an emphasis on strategic partnerships to assist the growth of minority businesses.  There was also an emphasis on international trade and franchising.

Joan Parrot-Fonseca (1995-1997)

1999The MBDA Internet Portal was developed to offer online business development services to supplement business consulting services and includes tools such as the Business Plan Writer and matchmaking via the Phoenix-Opportunity database.Courtland Cox (1998-2001)

MBDA partners with Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business to provide executive training to minority entrepreneurs and to write reports such as “Globalization and Minority-Owned Businesses in the United States: Assessments and Prospects,” which shows minority businesses should begin to think about growing their businesses globally.

Ronald Langston (2001-2008)

2005The Office of Native American Entrepreneurship and Trade is created at MBDA to help Native American entrepreneurs and business owners raise revenues, generate jobs and achieve economic self-sufficiency.
2006MBDA releases the State of Minority Business Enterprises based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2002 Survey of Business Owners.  The report concluded that minority firms with annual receipts of $500,000 or more generated a much larger percentage of all minority revenues and paid employees as compared to minority firms with annual gross receipts under $500,000.  MBDA’s Strategic Growth Initiative was launched.
2007MBDA continued to support economic recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast by adding five new centers throughout Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.  These centers support the inclusion of minority businesses in the reconstruction efforts.

As the economy continues to present challenges to minority businesses, access to capital is a primary focus.  MBDA plans several meetings with MBEs, financial services companies and minority business community stakeholders to find ways to best serve the needs of MBEs during this critical time. Congress Passes Resolution Honoring MBDA's 40th Anniversary

David A. Hinson (2009-2014)


MBDA releases the Capital Access report “Disparities in Capital Access Between Minority and Non-Minority-Owned Businesses: The Troubling Reality of Capital Limitations Faced by MBEs”.  The report provides new findings on disparities in capital access between minority businesses and non-minority businesses after controlling for a number of factors including size of firm and credit worthiness among other.

MBDA and the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the number of minority-owned firms increased by 46 percent to 5.8 million between 2002 and 2007 according to data from the Preliminary Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Ethnicity, Race and Veteran Status: 2007, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners.

Read more on 2010 Highlights


Our team supported the creation of 5,787 new jobs by assisting minority-owned businesses in obtaining nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital—a $6 million increase over last year’s record level. MBDA’s return on taxpayer investment (ROI) reached the highest level in the 43-year history of the Agency. In Fiscal Year 2011, ROI stood at 130x, up from 125x in FY2010 and 70x at the beginning of the Obama Administration.

MBDA successfully launched a newly redesigned MBDA Business Center program. The new nationally focused program combined the traditional Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC) and Minority Business Opportunity Center (MBOC) programs into one program.

Read more on 2011 Highlights


In fiscal year 2012, MBDA helped create and retain 16,730 jobs, the highest level in the 44 year history of the Agency.  Return on taxpayer investment, the Agency's primary measure of internal operating efficiency, was 126x in fiscal year 2012. This was achieved by helping MBDA clients obtain over $3.6 billion in contracts and capital awards.

The National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference has set the standard as the premier event for minority entrepreneurs, business owners, and advocates. In December, MED Week celebrated its milestone 30th Anniversary with one of the most successful events in the history of the conference.

Read more on 2012 Highlights


In fiscal year 2013, through MDBA’s nationwide network of Business Centers, we have assisted clients in securing more than $4.8 billion in contracts and capital. This led to the creation and retention of more than 25,000 U.S. jobs. Return on taxpayer investment, the Agency's primary measure of internal operating efficiency, was 174x in fiscal year 2013.

MBDA recognized the 2013 National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Award winners. The winners include 12 organizations, businesses and individuals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing the minority business community. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented the awards during a ceremony in Washington, DC.

Read more on 2013 Highlights


This year MBDA reached a historic milestone - our 45th Anniversary. We believe anniversaries are important because they offer an opportunity for reflection, commemoration and celebration. The 2014 Fiscal Year Annual Performance Report of the Minority Business Development Agency chronicles our impact and accomplishments as we celebrate 45 years of our presidential mandate to serve our nation’s growing minority business community.

In fiscal year 2014, we redoubled our efforts to establish the relationships necessary for MBEs to engage procurement officials and secure the financial support that propels their businesses forward. As a result, we have seen a 45% increase ($2.1 billion) in contracts and capital—from $4.8 to $6.9 billion in fiscal year 2014.

Read more on 2014 Highlights

Alejandra Y. Castillo (2014-2017)


In fiscal year 2015, through MDBA’s nationwide network of Business Centers, we have assisted clients in securing more than $5.9 billion in contracts and capital. This led to the creation and retention of nearly 27,000 U.S. jobs. MBDA announced its plan to invest up to $13.4 million in grants to support the growth and expansion of MBEs in 2016. Download Fiscal Year 2015 

In addition to creating U.S. jobs by growing the size and scale of minority-owned businesses, MBDA is tasked with the development, collection, analysis, and dissemination of information that is helpful to organizations and individuals seeking to establish or promote the successful operation of minority business enterprises. In 2015, MBDA released two research reports:

Read more on 2015 Highlights


In fiscal year 2016, through MDBA’s nationwide network of Business Centers, we have assisted clients in securing more than $3.3 billion in contracts and capital. This led to the creation and retention of nearly 14,800 U.S. jobs.

Read more on 2016 Highlights

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Capital Access Report MBDA releases the Capital Access report “ Disparities in Capital Access Between Minority and Non-Minority-Owned Businesses: The Troubling Reality of...
Last updated: 11/15/2017 - 9:31am