Efrain Gonzalez, Jr. serves as Associate Director for Office of Policy Analysis and Development (OPAD) at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He advises and oversees the Agency’s efforts to address barriers and opportunity gaps faced by minority businesses through the development of evidence-based policy. Efrain previously served as the Associate Director for Office of Business Development at MBDA. He was responsible for creating, developing and implementing program solutions and partnerships to address the challenges faced by minority-owned businesses in the areas of access to capital, access to contracts, access international markets and capacity building. In addition to being one of MBDA’s longstanding leaders, he served in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Commerce as Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer for BusinessUSA, a special federal government-wide initiative that used technology to make it easier for small businesses to access federal services. Efrain began his career in economic development at the University of Southern California’s Business Expansion Network where he managed the operations of a business development center. As Associate Director at USC, Efrain worked with city governments, community development banks, business leaders and entrepreneurs to increase opportunities for businesses and foster job creation. Throughout his career, Efrain has been a tireless advocate for minority businesses, entrepreneurship and helping U.S. firms compete in the global economy. He has a deep appreciation for the challenges faced by business owners because of his own experience running a small business in East Los Angeles. Efrain is a graduate from the University of Southern California.