This is an archived site
This site contains information from September 2006 - August 2020. Visit the current site.

Back to the Future: How MBDA Expanded Its Essence Festival Agenda

Post a comment
Created on July 1, 2016

The ESSENCE Festival is the nation’s largest annual gathering of African American cultural and lifestyle events, unfolding over days in New Orleans, Louisiana.  While renowned for the entertainers and A-List celebrities it features, the Festival has evolved in recent years to also highlight much more than music. And this year, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) are on site leading a robust agenda of entrepreneurship programs and technical workshops.

This weekend’s Essence Festival, from July 1-3, marks the second year in a row that MBDA has hosted service-oriented programs at the gathering – though this year’s offerings are significantly more substantial. Last year, MBDA collaborated with ESSENCE to host ‘Pitch City: Minority Business Executive Institute’, which provided minority entrepreneurs from the Gulf Coast region the opportunity to participate in an intensive two-day training course focused on business development.

 The training offered hands-on instruction, as well as tools for “instant implementation” in three subjects: Marketing Strategies, Business Resources, and Competition Analysis. After the hands-on training courses, business owners came away motivated, informed, and empowered to start making small changes or trying new strategies that were proven to yield positive results.

This year, ESSENCE is leading a series of panels, workshops, and technical training sessions titled Leap. Run. Grow, as part of the festival’s Money + Power Expo.  Located in the Entrepreneurship Village at the Marc N. Morial Convention Center, the MBDA instructional sessions will allow attendees to create a financial roadmap to sustaining and growing their enterprises. Included are master classes and boot camps designed to equip individuals with the tools they need to successfully become their own boss, build a business, and learn how to raise capital.

Through the Entrepreneurship Village, ESSENCE, MBDA, and co-sponsoring federal agencies such as NASA and the U.S. Department of Treasury, along with representatives from private companies, will collaborate to provide entrepreneurs and minority business owners the skills, resources, tools, and knowledge to succeed in the business world. Other topics include steps to starting a business, keys to success in government contracting, and the importance of certification.

MBDA and ESSENCE’s partnership is crucial because it supports the continued growth of minority business communities and provides a massive platform for individuals to learn and network.

Led by MBDA National Director, Alejandra Castillo, a team of MBDA business development specialists are on hand to inter-act with entrepreneurs and those seeking to “leap” into business ownership. It promises to be a fruitful interaction between MBDA and the hard-working minority business owners who stand to benefit from the unique partnership at one of the nation’s largest cultural events of the year.

MBDA Agency

MBDA Agency