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Making America More Competitive – Growing Minority-Owned Businesses

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Created on September 20, 2012

Over the past two decades, the world has been shifting into an innovation economy. Fortunately, as President Obama has said, “Nobody does innovation better than America.” It’s not just our first-rate colleges and universities, though they certainly are a big part of it. It’s the American workforce. According to the President,“Nobody has a greater diversity of talent and ingenuity. No one’s workers or entrepreneurs are more driven or more daring.”

Talent, ingenuity, tenacity and a willingness to take risks. These are the same strengths I see as I travel around the country meeting with minority business owners; strengths that match up with the demands of today’s global economy.

Why is innovation so important?  We know it’s the key driver of competitiveness, wage and job growth, and long- term economic growth. We also know that it was Federal government investments in research, education, and infrastructure that made our economy competitive in the past. It was government’s support that paved the way for private sector growth and laid the foundation for American global leadership.

At MBDA we’re helping minority-owned businesses across a broad spectrum of industries obtain the contracts and capital they need to innovate and grow. We’re fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in high-growth industries like clean and renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, healthcare  and what are called SMAC technologies (social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies).  The combined potential of these technologies alone is estimated to be between $70 billion and $200 billion over the next three years.

Over the past 43 years, MBDA has grown thousands of businesses. One example that always comes to mind is the young immigrant from Ethiopia named Dosho Shifferaw, who moved to California where he was an industrial designer experimenting with new ideas. He created an exercise machine using rods rather than weights as resistance. With MBDA’s technical support and relationships, he was able to secure manufacturers for his innovative product - and Bowflex was born.  Today Bowflex has sold more than $1 billion dollars in exercise equipment nationwide.

Another talented entrepreneur named Eugene Y. Xiong, who came to U.S. from China, was able to start his own software company after MBDA helped him find the financing he needed. Today, his company—the Foxit Corporation—has $7 million in revenues due in part to the help of MBDA. And Foxit now has offices in the U.S., China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and France.

I know there are hundreds more innovators out there who only need to be pointed in the right direction to find the help that will catapult them to success.

Take a look at 22 Ways the Department Of Commerce Is Supporting and Fostering American Innovation.

From the Director

From the Director