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Government Agencies, Historical Black College University Join Forces in Future of Business, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship Event

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Created on February 23, 2015

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Coppin State University (CSU), joined forces to celebrate Black History Month with “The Future of Business, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship” event held Feb. 12 in Baltimore.

The event, held at CSU, a Historical Black College and University (HBCU), offered a range of activities and speakers focused on entrepreneurship, business and innovation. There was also a student networking fair where regional minority business owners and federal agencies presented internship opportunities.

“It gives me great pleasure to participate in a Black History Month program at an HBCU, for I’m a proud graduate of Clark Atlanta University,” said Kimberly R. Marcus, MBDA’s Associate Director for the Office of Legislative, Education and Intergovernmental Affairs, and who served as the Masters of Ceremony for the event.

Marcus told the crowd of more than 200 people, made of mostly CSU students and students from three local high schools, that they were the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and that their time was now because the next great invention or business could come from this room.

Dr. Ronald Williams, CSU’s Interim Dean of the College of Business, said holding the event at CSU was important because the school was focused in preparing entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace.

“This event was tremendously important because we’re trying to build an eco-system here in West Baltimore that will pull together the business community, governmental agencies, and help us prepare entrepreneurs who will contribute not only to the local economy, but to the national economy as well,” he said.

The students in attendance hope to one day be productive job creators.

“I think the event was a great opportunity for me to meet and greet different business representative and entrepreneurs,” said Brandon St. Louis, a CSU graduate who tutors in the School of Business. “These individuals carved a path for us to follow and it inspires me they took time out of their schedule to share with us some of their challenges and triumphs.”

Ivan Thomas, a CSU Junior Student, said he enjoyed the variety of the event, but was inspired by the panel discussion that focused on the future of business, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The panel was very balanced with senior government officials and entrepreneurs,” he said. “It was refreshing to see a young person speaking to us (referring to Chase Reed, Co-Owner of Sneaker Pawn). We’re not used to seeing that. But, Chase showed us that you can be successful in a business no matter how old you are.”

The guest speakers for the event were Michelle K. Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, and Albert K. Shen, MBDA’s National Deputy Director.

“This was an unprecedented event for CSU,” Williams said. “I think it’s historic not only for this institution, but for our community. I believe it’s the beginning of something great!”

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MBDA Agency

MBDA Agency