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Opportunities of Interest to Minority Business Enterprises

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MBDA Seeks Bids for Business Center Focused Exclusively on Federal Procurement

The month of May has brought with it a number of announcements, news releases and opportunities of interest to the MBE constituency MBDA serves.  With this month’s newsletter I’d like to highlight two opportunities for your participation—one designed to create jobs and another intended to reform government rules. I’d also like to present new business statistics about Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander businesses.  

Just last week, the Obama Administration announced the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to promote innovation and job growth and advance our global competitiveness. The competition offers a total of $33 million in funding from three federal agencies and technical assistance from 13 additional agencies to promote the development of at least 20 industry clusters across the country. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will be investing $10 million in funding and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will be supporting the program’s implementation.

The goal of the program is to spur economic growth through public-private partnerships in 20 regions across the country.  Applicants to this federal funding opportunity will be considered based on their ability to demonstrate a focus and measurable outcomes on achieving sustainable economic growth in the region; augmenting business formation, especially of small businesses, and leveraging existing business assets; increasing exports; developing a skilled workforce through outreach, training and the creation of career pathways, and integrating historically underserved businesses and communities into the economic activities of the regional cluster. 

MBDA Business Centers and their network of strategic partners excel in a number of these areas and I encourage minority business advocates and community development organizations to join together to apply for this federal funding opportunity. Leveraging the power of public-private partnerships to foster the creation and development of regional innovation clusters will help us expand the economy and cultivate a skilled workforce so we can better win the future.

The application deadline is July 7, 2011. Details on the application process are available here:

Effective public-private partnerships are built upon two-way communication and a shared vision, and your input into government programs has been a cornerstone of the Obama Administration.  That is why the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is undertaking a comprehensive review of size standards and they are seeking your input. 

Recently, the SBA proposed a rule in The Federal Register that would adjust the size definition of small businesses in the transportation and warehousing sector.  These revisions would increase the revenue-based size definition businesses must meet to qualify as small businesses in 22 industries of the transportation and warehousing sector. The changes would allow some small businesses approaching the upper size standards limits to retain small business eligibility under higher size standards. It would also give federal agencies a broader selection of small businesses to choose from for procurement opportunities and allow small businesses to qualify for financial assistance from the SBA.

To offer your comments on this proposed rule on or before July 12, 2011, please visit:

Finally, in honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage month, I’d like to take some time to highlight the progress of these important members of the minority business community.

The new data emerging from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners illustrates the outstanding performance of Asian- and Native Hawaiian- and other Pacific Islander-owned businesses. There were more than 1.5 million Asian-owned firms, which generated $508 billion in economic output and employed 2.8 million workers in 2007. I’m very happy to report Asian-owned businesses are the first minority group to reach entrepreneurial parity in terms of number of firms and employment as a share of the Asian adult population in the United States. Additionally, Asian-owned firms are almost three times more likely to export compared to non-minority-owned firms.

Likewise the data on Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses is strong as the number of firms increased by 31% between 2002 and 2007, out-pacing the growth of non-minority-owned firms during the same time period. These businesses, which include firms owned by Native Hawaiians, Guamanians, Samoans and other Pacific Islanders, generated $6.5 billion in receipts in 2007, an incredible 52% increase from 2002.

Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses continue to fuel job growth. Paid employment increased 32% from 2002, compared to less than 1% for non-minority-owned businesses.

These are extraordinary and inspiring achievements that showcase the entrepreneurial drive of the minority business community and I’m proud of the active support role MBDA has played in the success of individual firms and as a champion of minority business growth.

So, in closing as I always say, please call or visit MBDA.  We have a presence in about 50 locations across the country through MBDA regional offices, MBDA Area Managers and MBDA Business Centers.  Locations and contact information can be found by clicking here: