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MBDA Partners with Essence to launch first ever Entrepreneurship Village during annual Essence Festival

for immediate release
Contact: Dijon Rolle


WASHINGTON (July 1, 2016) — The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has partnered with Time Inc.’s Essence to launch the first ever “Leap, Run, Grow Entrepreneurship Village,” as part of the 2016 Essence Festival in New Orleans.

The Entrepreneurship Village is part of Essence’s “Money+ Power” Expo and is designed to provide business access, insight, guidance and mentorship to minority entrepreneurs.

“We’re excited to join forces with Essence,” said MBDA National Director, Alejandra Y. Castillo. “Our focus here is to help African-American women entrepreneurs grow not just in their numbers, but also in size. This means helping them gain greater access to Capital and contracts and expanding in terms of their markets.”

Attendees will have access to freefinancial empowerment seminars, pitch competitions, business boot camps, tech talk keynotes and a career and recruitment experience.

The Entrepreneurship Village is part of the new MBDA/Essence partnership and just one of the Agency’s many initiatives designed to support African-American entrepreneurs, as well as more than eight million Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) across the nation.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, African- American women in particular are one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States.

The Entrepreneur Village runs July 1-3 on the main floor of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Seating for the programs is limited and registration is required to attend. For more registration information, visit and

MBDA is the only federal government agency solely dedicated to serving the minority business community by working across government and industry to promote the growth and global competitiveness of Minority Business Enterprises.

About the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

MBDA,, is the only Federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. Our programs and services better equip minority-owned firms to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues and expand regionally, nationally and internationally. Services are provided through a network of MBDA Business Centers. After 47 years of service, MBDA continues to be a dedicated strategic partner to all U.S. minority-owned businesses, committed to providing programs and services that build size, scale and capacity through access to capital, contracts and markets. Follow us on Twitter @usmbda.