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Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Performance Report

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Message from the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Message from MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo

The Changing Face of American Business

PROFILE: Atlanta MBDA Business Center

Exports: New Markets & New Opportunities

Increased Access to Contracts

PROFILE: Tulsa MBDA Business Center

Conquering Access to Capital

PROFILE: Minneapolis MBDA Business Center The Power of Partnership

The Power of Partnership

PROFILE: Indianapolis MBDA Business Center

Investing in Our Infrastructure

2014 Minority Business Award Winners

Fiscal Year 2014 Performance

Job Creation by Congressional District

MBDA Services

MBDA Senior Management Team

National Network of MBDA Business Centers

MBDA Performance Metrics

Message from the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker 

Secretary Penny PritzkerSince 1969, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has been instrumental in helping our nation’s minority-owned businesses thrive in the communities we serve. As one of the fastest growing business sectors in the United States, the economic impact of minority firms continues to strengthen the American business landscape of the 21st century. MBDA’s national network of business centers has helped minority business enterprises (MBEs) gain access to capital, contracts, and new markets through public-private engagement. In turn, the potential for these businesses to succeed over time in an increasingly competitive global environment is strengthened. As diversity continues to spearhead a new chapter in our nation’s economic growth, I am determined that the Department of Commerce with MBDA, is supporting the next generation of minority- owned businesses by increasing the capacity of regional economies.

Since the release of the Open for Business Agenda, the Department of Commerce has been focused on setting the conditions for faster economic growth and job creation through advancing trade, innovation, and data for American businesses. Earlier this year we introduced NEI NEXT, which builds on the progress we made under President Obama’s National Export Initiative. NEI NEXT was designed to help more American companies reach overseas markets by improving data, providing information on specific export opportunities, working closely with financing organizations, and partnering with states and communities to empower local export efforts. I appreciate the ongoing work of MBDA to advance NEI NEXT through important initiatives such as the Doing Business in Africa campaign, the Power Africa initiative, and the Look South campaign. As a result, we are succeeding at opening doors to more American exports and selling more made-in America goods around the world.

To learn more about our recent accomplishments, I encourage you to read the MBDA 2014 Annual Performance Report It showcases the business success stories in today’s emerging industries and describes the successful outcomes of strategic partnerships with minority business advocates. For these businesses, and many more to come, MBDA will continue to stimulate job creation and generate opportunities for progression and prosperity.


Penny Pritzker

Message from MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo 

National Director CastilloThe Next 45 years: Programming, Partnership & Progress

This year MBDA reached a historic milestone - our 45th Anniversary. We believe anniversaries are important because they offer an opportunity for reflection, commemoration and celebration. The 2014 Fiscal Year Annual Performance Report of the Minority Business Development Agency chronicles our impact and accomplishments as we celebrate 45 years of our presidential mandate to serve our nation’s growing minority business community.

Created in 1969 by Presidential Executive Order 11458, for “the establishment, preservation, and strengthening of minority business enterprise,” MBDA continues to play as pivotal a role today, as it did during at the peak of the Civil Rights era. Our founders, with their eyes fixed on the future could not have predicted that the minority business community would grow to 5.8 million nationwide contributing over $1 trillion to the U.S. economy. As the 16th director of this agency and the first Latina to hold the position, I am humbled to serve and excited about the next 45 years of programming, partnership, and progress for MBDA.

FY 2014 brought significant change, transition, and investment. By the year 2044, people of color will make up a majority of the U.S. population. This change in America’s demographic landscape will transform the marketplace and the face of American business and presents an incredible opportunity for American commerce. As a world leader in the global marketplace, the U.S. must continue to leverage our diversity in the most strategic ways. This is the work of MBDA in the next 45 years— equipping minority entrepreneurs and leveraging their natural strengths in both domestic and global markets; helping them build capacity and expertise; engaging them in technological innovation; and diversifying the industries they will enter.

As the country continues its strong and steady recovery, we are transitioning toward a more export focused economy. President Obama’s leadership in this area through the National Export Initiative (NEI) and the expansion of that work through Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s NEI/NEXT initiative has spurred a resurgence of U.S. global economic strength. MBDA Business Center clients are fully represented in this economic expansion, exponentially growing their exporting from $40 million in fiscal year 2013 to $784 million in fiscal year 2014. This kind of extraordinary growth creates well-paying jobs that sustain families and strengthen communities.

As we look to the future there are a few things we know for sure. We cannot do this work alone. The presence of our strategic partners has been an essential element of our success. We also know that we must continue to address certain stubborn issues that impede the growth of MBEs like greater access to capital and contracts. In fiscal year 2014, we redoubled our efforts to establish the relationships necessary for MBEs to engage procurement officials and secure the financial support that propels their businesses forward. As a result, we have seen a 45% increase ($2.1 billion) in contracts and capital—from $4.8 to $6.9 billion in fiscal year 2014.

As we continue to chronicle our progress, I am confident that the next 45 years will unleash the next level of economic growth and impact for MBEs. Our nation is at a pivotal juncture of demographic changes and economic opportunity. It is through these moments of extraordinary change that MBEs will figure prominently in the future success and global competitiveness of our Nation.


Alejandra Y. Castillo

The Changing Face of American Business…

…and the Next 45

The Atlanta MBDA Business Center has helped 77 minority-owned information technology firms enter the healthcare industry.The demographic landscape of our country has changed in historic ways, as confirmed by 2010 Census data. It reveals exponential increases in minority populations, which by 2044 will be the majority. These demographic shifts are diversifying the face of American business. As the U.S. seeks to remain globally competitive, engaging MBEs is no longer a moral or civic imperative—it is an economic necessity. Today, we have the opportunity to leverage America’s diversity as a strategic advantage worldwide.

MBDA was established in 1969 as a solution to economic disparities found in our country’s national agenda to support all American businesses. Since our inception, MBDA has supported job growth and economic expansion through technical assistance and a network of MBDA Business Centers; collaborated with federal, state, and local policymakers; and partnered with thought leaders to address the policies and issues that impact MBEs. Today, the U.S. economy benefits from a strong and growing minority business sector that contributes over $1.0 trillion to the gross domestic product (GDP).1 Despite historic advances, disparities remain.

As the only Federal Government agency solely dedicated to the development and growth of minority owned businesses, MBDA is uniquely positioned to affect change in every aspect of the ecosystem of minority business enterprise. Armed with nationwide data, research findings, and knowledge of constituency priorities, MBDA consults with stakeholders to create an informed public policy agenda concerning the growth of minority businesses and the changing face of American business owners.

We are mindful of the socio-cultural implications of our commercial efforts; recognizing the role that minority-owned businesses play in job creation, community engagement, philanthropy, and the stability of families. This correlation between economic security and prosperity and community stability informs our conversation with legislators at every level of government as we push to make America stronger in the global economy.

Throughout this report you will find profiles of MBDA Business Centers, their clients, and their employees who have benefited from the jobs they create as a result of our work. This is the work we must continue and enhance as we look to the next 45 years of the economic contributions of the minority business community.

Atlanta Business Center Equips MBEs to Pursue New Industries

Alesia Williams, Maria Mar Hill, Yvonne Dragon, and Donna Ennis.Minorities comprise 45 percent of Georgia’s population and there is no shortage of minority business owners in the state.2 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30 percent of Georgia’s businesses are owned by minorities; and according to the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, its Georgia affiliate is the largest in the nation with more certified MBEs than any other state.3 The Atlanta MBDA Business Center, operated by the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), is paving the way for MBEs to succeed in increasingly competitive markets. Leveraging the resources of EI2, MBDA Atlanta Project Director Donna Ennis and her team are leading the push to advance MBEs in two high-growth industries: advanced manufacturing and healthcare IT.

Ennis leads the MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Working Group, which is building a nationwide community of MBE manufacturers through our national network of 44 MBDA Business Centers. To this end, she launched the Connecting Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP) focused on providing contracting opportunity; assistance with launching new technologies; and building a nationwide ecosystem of MBE manufacturers. CAMP connects the manufacturing supply chain community with original equipment manufacturers, corporations, major suppliers, and other partners. Thanks to CAMP, two MBDA clients received scholarships from the government of South Africa to attend the 2014 international trade show, South African Automotive Week, a forum that provides access to potential trade partners and business opportunities.

The other area of industry intervention and innovation for the Atlanta MBDA Business Center is healthcare IT. In 2014, the Business Center brought a record 77 minority-owned IT firms into the healthcare industry sector. As a member of the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance, the Atlanta Center identifies existing healthcare firms to partner with MBE manufacturers eager to fulfill an expressed service need for healthcare corporations.

The creativity of our team is working. In fiscal year 2014, the MBDA Atlanta Business Center team helped clients secure $210 million in contracts and capital; and to create and retain 2,038 jobs.


Atlanta MBDA Client Creates Over 500 New Jobs

Sanquinetta Dover, Oner, Dover Staffing DoverSolutionsIn 1996, Sanquinetta Dover founded DoverStaffing with no staff and $1,500. This year she put 542 people to work. This is exactly what she set out to do—help people get good jobs. Having a strong desire to create job opportunities in underserved areas, she relocated her company headquarters two years ago, moving it to a more easily accessible locale, trading her upscale offices to a location where she is closer to an eager workforce in an Atlanta HUB Zone.

For the first years of operation business was stable. However, when the economic downturn hit, she knew her company’s survival depended on diversifying her client portfolio. Dover learned about the Atlanta MBDA Business Center and quickly became a client. The Center provided a business growth strategy and an infrastructure development plan to give Dover a road map for growing and strengthening her company. As a result, Dover’s revenue has doubled by providing staffing services to federal, state and local government agencies all over the country. For example, Dover has graded cotton for the USDA; delivered moving trailers and relief supplies for FEMA; and provided survivor support for families of fallen soldiers. In addition, Dover has provided hundreds of personnel to the state of Georgia and works closely with DeKalb County.

“MBDA does so much more than just help me get contracts; they are my advisors. I get objective advice from someone who cares.” — Sanquinetta Dover

Dover credits her success in great part to the consultation and mentorship provided by the Atlanta MBDA Business Center. “MBDA does so much more than just help me get contracts; they are my advisors. I get objective advice from someone who cares,” says Dover. As part of her growth strategy, she created Dover Solutions to provide workforce project management; and the Dover Training Institute, which provides training for the state of Georgia, proctors testing for a number of organizations, and is a certified Microsoft IT training facility.

Dover Recruits a Recruiter!

Caroline JesterBefore coming to work for DoverStaffing, Caroline Jester was an unemployed airline recruiter. Having been laid off from her job after seven years, Jester did not tell her family for three weeks, which is how long it took her to find the job at DoverStaffing. She went for the interview and started work the same day. When asked what it’s like to work at Dover, she replied, “This work is very rewarding. People are so happy to have jobs, they come back to thank you for the opportunity!”

Exports: New Markets & New Opportunities

EXPORTS ACCOUNT FOR  37% OF OUR $2.1 BILLION  INCREASE IN CONTRACTS  AND CAPITALExporting is good for American business, good for American workers and good for creating American jobs. Put simply, when America exports, America prospers. Why — because 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. Now more than at any time in our history, U.S. exports are fueling economic growth in our communities, supporting good middle class jobs, and unlocking opportunities for MBEs who have chosen exporting as a strategy to expand their businesses. MBDA clients possess unique advantages in the global marketplace: superior cultural knowledge and language skills; existing family relationships that allow access to critical market intelligence; intimate knowledge of local commercial/business culture, and general comfort with operating in a global environment. By exporting goods and services, MBEs of every size are growing in size, scale, and impact — that means hiring more employees, paying higher wages, and sustaining growth within communities at home and abroad.

Exports: Key to Minority  Business GrowthMinority businesses have the most favorable export attributes given their ties to countries of origin; their ability to transact business in languages other than English; and their willingness to establish international operations. Lowered barriers to trade, increased trade promotion, and expanded access to capital and technical assistance, positioning MBEs to take full advantage of this call to even greater commercial competitiveness around the world.

MBDA continues to support the growth of MBEs by providing and identifying export assistance and opportunities and working with federal partners such as the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Councils, the Export- Import Bank, and others. In fiscal year 2014, MBDA client exports neared $710 million in contracts (a 1,635 percent increase over FY 2013) and $74 million in export financing. Client exports also supported the creation and retention of 1,087 jobs.

Entering New Markets in Southeast Asia

MBDA entered into a formal agreement with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) to further engage the AAPI community in domestic and international business opportunities. In April 2014, MBDA Global Business Development Specialist George Mui participated as a member of the WHIAPPI delegation to Guam to identify key contracting opportunities for MBEs. During the trip, Guam officials announced three major infrastructure projects that will expand the island’s economy and create contracting opportunities for MBEs:

  • Guam Power Authority presented a plan to convert its power station from refined fuel oil to liquefied natural gas, an initial capital investment of $650 million.

  • The pivot of U.S. national defense towards Asia will establish Guam as its hub with a multi-national military training and command center. The Northern Marianas and Guam will also support a large scale Marine training center. The total investment will be about $6.5 billion over the next five to seven years.

  • Guam’s Visitors Bureau presented their plan for growth and investment in infrastructure upgrades for travel and tourism including a $1 billion hotel development program.

  • The total economic and business impact for Guam based on these plans and investments is approximately $10 billion.

Export Financing SeminarAs a result of our program partnership with WHIAAPI, federal agencies along with MBDA and other bureaus of the Department of Commerce, will collaboratively devise a strategy to support minority-owned firms that have an export interest in Guam’s planned expansion.

Entering New Markets in Africa

In 2012, President Obama announced the U.S. Strategy Toward sub-Saharan Africa, a comprehensive policy strategy to address the opportunities and challenges in Africa in a forward-looking way. Through President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) campaign, the U.S. government is strengthening its commercial relationships in Africa, a diverse region that offers substantial trade and investment opportunities. With a 5.4 percent growth rate in 2014, Africa is outpacing global growth and creating hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs. Africa is home to six of the top 10 fastest growing countries and exports to sub-Saharan Africa exceed $21 billion a year.5 This is a market that cannot be ignored.

In support of the DBIA, the Chicago MBDA Business Center was at the forefront of Agency efforts to promote the campaign within the MBE community. The Center launched the Pathways to Africa initiative that resulted in $20 million in contracts and capital for MBDA clients, and the creation and retention of 94 jobs.

MBDA increased opportunities for U.S. minority-owned firms to gain access to these rapidly growing markets by building new relationships across the region and promoting the value of strategic partnerships among minority firms in the U.S. and Africa. We established a working relationship with the business council of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to facilitate introductions between U.S. MBEs and small businesses in Africa.

Power Africa Business-to- Business (B2B) MatchmakingDBIA has many elements, one of which brought emerging leaders and entrepreneurs from sub-Saharan Africa to Washington, DC to develop multicultural and multi-sector leadership management skills. As part of the program, participants met with MBDA officials to learn about our work and to obtain information about firms that are interested in doing business in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

“Looking South” for MBE Export Opportunities

Look South is a coordinated U.S. Department of Commerce led program designed to encourage more American companies to consider doing business with Mexico and the 10 U.S. Free Trade Agreement partners in Latin America. Look South helps U.S. businesses explore these markets, learn about new opportunities, and tap into federal programs for trade assistance. MBDA plays a critical role in identifying growing business opportunities throughout the Western Hemisphere.

In FY 2014, MBDA engaged several Look South countries to expand relationships and business opportunities. Our San Antonio MBDA Business Center, which specializes in exports to Mexico and South America, facilitated a meeting between Carlos Marron, Senior Investment and Trade Commissioner of ProMexico, and MBDA’s National Deputy Director, Albert K. Shen to discuss ways to collaborate on upcoming infrastructure projects throughout Mexico. These projects include the planned airport expansion in Mexico City, as well as $600 billion toward the modernization of its transportation, telecommunications, water, energy, and environmental sectors. As a result of our work under the Look South initiative, several MBDA clients entered new Mexican markets in 2014:

  • Sana International — $2 million for exports of renewable energy products to Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, Mexico

  • Yumi Ecosolutions — $152 thousand for product exports to Soriana Group, one of Mexico’ largest retailers

  • Concord Supply Inc. — $50 million for newly patented technology to recover oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico

Increased Access to Contracts: The Core of Our Mission

14      INCREASED ACCESS TO CONTRACTS IN 2014, MBDA CLIENT  CONTRACTS INCREASED  48% TO $4.8 BILLION,  CONTRIBUTING TO THE  ECONOMIC RECOVERY  OF THE NATIONFor 45 years, MBDA has been working aggressively to expand the economic footprint of MBEs. One standard of measurement for our collaboration, outreach, and impact is the access MBEs have to contracting opportunities. Since 2009, MBDA has assisted clients with accessing nearly $26 billion in contracts and capital, while helping them create and retain over 87,000 jobs. These results highlight the economic contribution of minority firms and the direct impact they are having on the national economy.


Our engagement of private sector supplier diversity programs also creates the opportunity for minority firms to cultivate relationships and become suppliers to corporations that by sheer order volume enable MBEs to grow in size, scale, and impact. Creating this kind of access and opportunity fuels local, regional, and national economies as minority businesses create jobs, stabilize communities, and restore families – contributing to our overall commercial strength.

Tulsa Center Serves Native American Businesses

Lesa Steele, Tabatha Frost, Cheryl Cohenour, James RayOklahoma has the highest Native American population in the country6 so it’s no surprise that 85 percent of the Tulsa MBDA Business Center clients are Native American, including tribal and privately-owned firms. Project Director James Ray and Business Development Specialist Lesa Steele make up a small, yet highly effective team, advising the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes, and a number of privately-owned Native American businesses.

Ray and Steele are expertly familiar with the intricacies of tribal politics and the federal regulations that govern business in Indian Country and they know what it takes for tribal businesses to succeed. In Indian Country, business decisions are typically made by a tribal council, (similar to a board of directors), unlike most MBDA clients with a single owner. As a trusted advisor to the Creek tribe, they accepted the Tulsa Center’s growth strategy, which included assembling a business acquisition team to facilitate company growth through acquisitions and executed the plan flawlessly. Their first acquisitions were a printing company for $3 million and an IT company for $1.5 million.

The mix of tribal and private clients enhances Ray’s ability to bring about mergers, acquisitions, and teaming arrangements. Most recently, the owner of CSI, an information technology firm wanted to sell his company because his 8(a) certification was about to expire and he was not confident that he could continue. Ray arranged for him to sell the company to a tribe whose 8(a) certification was new, and negotiated terms that allowed the owner of CSI to remain with the company.

While Ray typically spends his time in the field consulting with clients, Steele specializes in identifying contracting opportunities and gathering background intelligence to give clients the upper hand with bids and proposals. Although Native American firms have difficulty landing contracts in Oklahoma, the Center helped them to achieve $131 million in contracts and capital in fiscal year 2014, which resulted in the creation and retention of 192 jobs.

Oklahoma’s Cherokee CRC Benefits its Citizens

nullThe Cherokee Nation is the largest tribal government in the United States6 and its prosperity and stability is driven by Cherokee Nation Business, the holding company for 21 companies. One is Cherokee CRC, an awardwinning environmental, construction, and professional services company with Tribal 8(a) and HUBZone certifications. Executive General Manager Cheryl Cohenour attributes much of their success to the Tulsa MBDA Business Center and relies on them to identify contracting opportunities.

Under the guidance and direction of MBDA Business Center Project Director James Ray, the Tulsa MBDA Business Center provides Cherokee CRC with the background information and helps them to prepare responsive bid proposals. This is a vital service, as they will soon graduate from the 8(a) program and must compete with the largest firms in the area.

In Fiscal year 2014, the Tulsa Center helped Cherokee CRC secure $68 million in contracts and $15 million in financing. The company is tribal-owned so all profits from these endeavors are returned to Cherokee citizens. The tribe is currently constructing four new health clinics and a hospital with profits from Cherokee Nation Businesses and Cohenour takes pride in CRC’s contribution. Her most coveted project of the year is the two dormitories they built for the Riverside Indian School, which is a residential K-12 school that accepts Native Americans students from all over the country, mostly from rural areas that are some distance from local schools. “I was there when the children arrived for the school year and it was quite an experience. They were screaming with joy; and that why I do this,” aid Cohenour.

Cohenour has led Cherokee CRC to many successes, which include recognition as 2013 MED Week Minority Construction Firm of the Year. The firm recently opened a new office in Washington, DC to manage a Washington Headquarter Service HUBZone IDIQ contract and will oversee project management, safety, and operations control for task orders that are released. Cohenour is dedicated to improving conditions for all Native Americans and is currently pursuing a Doctors of Jurisprudence in Indian Law at the University of Tulsa. She plans to specialize tribal consulting because of a national shortage of attorneys with this expertise.

Cherokee Nation Businesses Develops Future Executives

Tabatha Frost, Manager of Cherkee  Nation 3S-Support, Services & SolutionsOne problem experienced by businesses in Indian Country is a shortage of business professionals. Many who go away to college choose careers that do not bring them back to the tribe. The Cherokee Nation is tackling this problem through a mentoring program that is turning out highly skilled future executives. Tabatha Frost, mentored by Cheryl Cohenour, Executive General Manager of Cherokee CRC, now heads Cherokee Nation 3S-Support, Services & Solutions. Frost, although young, saw the business through its 8(a) and HUBZone certifications and serves as an adjunct professor at the Haskell Indian School. Her firm manages an English language training project at Sheppard Airforce Base for foreign students. As a young executive, she relies upon the MBDA Business Center for support and sums it up by saying, “I don’t think a lot of people understand what MBDA can do for a business.”

Conquering Access to Capital

$1.5 BILLION IN  FEDERAL GOVERNMENT  CONTRACTS  €” 83%  INCREASE IN FY 2014MBEs are sources of job creation and economic development for many communities around the country. However they continue to encounter barriers in accessing capital. To address this issue, MBDA is curating a broad spectrum of capital opportunities. We created an Access to Capital Team to build the national relationships necessary to open doors for our clients. We also deployed the resources and gathered the information necessary to prepare our clients to explore alternative financing. The good news is we are making significant inroads. MBDA’s engagement is yielding a variety of assets and outcomes including client mentorship, agency collaborations, and increased financing for our clients. We continue to expand the spectrum of capital sources from strictly bank lending to include: venture capitalists, angel investors, merger and acquisition firms, and firms with internet-based platforms. This variety of financing options assures that MBEs at any stage of their lifecycle can secure financing.


New Access To Capital Team: Policy and Partnership in DC

Recognizing the continued barriers MBEs face accessing capital, MBDA launched its Access to Capital Team, the newest addition to our Office of Business Development. This team works with investors, lenders, and business owners to match high performance MBEs with alternative sources of capital. This strategic Agency assignment is designed to place special attention at the highest levels of our agency on this mission critical challenge of MBE growth and sustainability. A presentation by the Association for Corporate Growth Chicago prepared MBEs for mergers and acquisition opportunities. Large investors were also introduced to the MBDA network to invest in middlemarket MBEs and provide input on a proposed MBDA program aimed at preparing MBEs for company valuations, record keeping, and demonstrating the values that investors seek.

Monthly Alternative Finance Working Group conference calls provided a platform for MBDA to showcase capital providers and allow our business centers to get feedback and share best practices. Educational webinars on alternative sources of capital brought experts from the Securities and Exchange Commission to speak on regulations and opportunities in crowdfunding.

Exploring Alternative Financing

Matching MBEs to alternative sources of capital is driven by partnerships. Our continued outreach to financing sources resulted in a partnership with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), to provide increased access to capital for MBEs in urban communities. ICIC, a well-known authority on U.S. innercity economies and businesses is a nonprofit research and strategy organization.

MBDA formed a historic partnership with the Chicago chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) to conduct matchmaking events, co-author blogs, and host webinars. The relationship has yielded new levels of access and opportunity for MBEs in the professional services industry for potential clients, investment partners, and mentorship.

In addition to building working relationships with private equity firms, we also developed relationships with angel investor networks like ArchAngels DC. Our work with ArchAngels DC provides a platform for young companies to seek investment capital and present investment opportunities. The networking opportunities available through angel investor networks have strengthened MBDA’s portfolio of capital providers for highgrowth minority businesses. ArchAngels DC joined us for the MBDA National Training Conference in Detroit and the National Minority Enterprise Development Week conference in Washington, DC.

Towards Parity in the Financial Services Industry

“Of the Fortune 100, 85 percent participate in a supplier diversity program, however, less than 25 percent of those invest through women or minority owned investment firms. This data represents nearly a trillion dollars in assets not being accessed by this universe of (diverse) money managers.”7

These staggering statistics represent an opportunity for education and exposure. To focus attention on this issue, the Chicago MBDA Business Center hosted the Minority Investment Manager Forum (MIMF) to discuss the issues faced by diverse portfolio managers. More than 200 people from money management firms across the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, and Hawaii were in attendance to begin the process of relationship building, collaboration and deal-making. The event featured a panel moderated by FIS Group,a minority owned asset management firm, and Ariel Investments, the largest minority investment manager in the country.

During the 2014 MIMF diverse firms heard directly from organizations that could benefit from their services as well as heard from businesses that have done well in this sector. The purpose of the Forum was for firms to get to know each other and showcase their capability to handle larger, more complex portfolios.

MBDA Clients Participate in America’s Largest Gathering of Private Investors

“It is clear that America’s diverse community of business leaders are driving growth in the middle market and the country’s network of private capital should be investing in these companies. We have worked with some great companies over the last few years and are looking to raise the bar for all those in private capital to experience the value creation we’ve seen and to invest in America’s future.” Building on years of collaborative programming, the Association for Corporate Growth in Chicago and the national network of MBDA Business Centers hosted the inaugural Minority Finance Forum. The Chicago MBDA Business Center organized this national access to capital initiative. The Minority Finance Forum was presented in conjunction with the 15th Annual Midwest ACG Capital Connection, the country’s largest gathering of private capital for middle-market investment. For the first time in the event’s history, some 60 MBEs were able to participate in this highly selective investor gathering.

Business Centers Become Loan Originators  for Export-Import Bank In partnership with Export-Import Bank, nine MBDA Business  Centers  became  loan  originators  for  Global  Credit  Express  in 2014. They offer short-term working capital loans to small  business exporters as revolving lines of credit up to $500k for  6 or 12 months.

Modern Day Access to Capital Gladiators

Patrick Pariseau, Jim Faircy, George Jacobson, Edgardo RodriguezThe Minneapolis MBDA Business Center is operated by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA). For over 40 years, MEDA has provided business development services, financing, and market opportunities to minority business owners. Likewise, each member of the Minneapolis MBDA Business Center team has significant experience in the business development arena and is deeply committed to the economic empowerment of Minnesota minorities. With soaring unemployment as a driver, the Minneapolis Center’s goal is to fight unemployment through minority business growth and expansion.

Here’s their strategy. Over the next 10 years, baby boomer business owners will be retiring and selling their companies. Acquisition of these companies presents an excellent opportunity for minority-owned firms to increase their revenue, expand their operations, and create jobs. The Minneapolis Business Center offers a variety of support services for the acquisition of new investments: determining fair pricing and how best to structure a transaction; managing an asset or stock purchase; determining a full or partial conversion of ownership. These are just some of the expert services they offer potential clients. The team also helps clients develop appropriate funding strategies, and how to negotiate the best financing terms and conditions. With access to MEDA’s $8 million loan fund, they are also able to grant equity loans to clients that strengthen their ability to secure much larger loan amounts.

When David Bice, the owner of Bald Eagle Erectors needed operating capital to put his crew to work on the new Vikings football Stadium, the Minneapolis MBDA Business Center helped him secure a $200K loan to meet payroll and operating expenses while waiting for payments from the prime contractor. The fact that this loan was prepared by Business Consultant Patrick Pariseau made a difference. Minneapolis banks are very familiar with Pariseau, who is a licensed loan underwriter. The Minneapolis team leverages the strengths of each client and supplements it with the collective expertise of the MBDA Business Center consulting team under the direction of Project Director George Jacobson. Their experience allows them to go toe to toe with bankers wielding high interest rates and unfair lending practices. They are consistently able to clear these hurdles on behalf of MBEs. Clients also benefit from the
banking and loan packaging expertise of Patrick Pariseau; the growth strategies of George Jacobson; the contracting and strategic planning of Edgardo Rodriguez; and the valuation expertise of Jim Faricy.

For example, a client was planning to purchase another company and had already hired a lawyer and accountant when he approached the Center. The client’s attorney and accountant were advising him to do an asset purchase. This would have required the client to change the name of the company and incur expenses for things like negotiating and reinstating employee benefit programs, leases, relicensing, rebranding, etc. The Minneapolis team saved the firm approximately $400,000 in legal fees by executing a stock purchase agreement. This approach preserved operating and financial history, dramatically improving the opening day balance sheet. This also helped negotiations with the owner, who eventually lowered his asking price based on a thorough evaluation.

Bald Eagle Erectors is Committed to Putting Young People to Work

Dave Bice and Bald Eagle Erectors crew at construction of new  Vikings StadiumNot only are these modern day gladiators excellent fighters—they are compassionate advocates for the needs of the entire minority business community. Dave Bice, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa tribe, is very concerned with the high unemployment of Native Americans in Minneapolis and is committed to putting young people to work. Coming from a family of ironworkers, Dave started Bald Eagle Erectors in 1994 with only three employees. Struggling to grow his business, he was referred to MBDA by his tribe and has seen continuous growth since. Over the years, the business center has provided strategic business consulting services and helped him to secure working capital when needed. Bice serves as a member of the Apprenticeship Board for Local 512 of the Minneapolis Steel Workers Union because he needs skilled employees and wants young Native Americans to have good payingjobs. “College is not the only option,” says Bice. “An apprentice steel worker starts at $24 per hour with a $1 raise every six months throughout the 2-year training program. My steel workers with journeyman status earn $70 to $80 thousand per year and they don’t have student loans to repay.”

Although Bald Eagle Erectors has grown significantly since becoming a client of the Minneapolis MBDA Business Center, financing remains a problem for Bice. With payroll and benefits costs of $612,000 per month, Bice needs millions to even start a project. In addition to the joint ventures and teaming arrangements the Minneapolis MBDA Business Center has provided, they have helped him secure the necessary capital to keep his employees on the job. During fiscal year 2014, Bice hired five new fulltime employees and retained 121 workers who would have been laid off had he not secured financing. With the help of the Minneapolis MBDA Business Center, Bald Eagle Erector contracts during FY 2014 totaled over $17 million.

Things are Looking Up for Iron Worker Apprentice

Ivan Smith, Ironworker ApprenticeBefore joining the crew of Bald Eagle Erectors, Ivan Smith worked in a dead end job with little chance for advancement. His life changed for the
better when he was accepted into the Iron Workers Local 512 as an apprentice, and hired by Dave Bice. ”I have a great sense of accomplishment when I start a new project and realize how much I’ve learned in just six months,” says Smith with a huge smile. Because of his new job, Smith makes enough money to take care of his family and has acquired trade expertise for continued career advancement.


The Power of Partnership and New Markets for MBEs

FOSTERING THE GROWTH  AND GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS  OF MINORITY OWNED  BUSINESSES IN GREEN TECHNOLOGYMBDA is privileged to engage a broad spectrum of thought leaders, organizational heads and elected officials as partners in creating lasting change, global market access, and generational prosperity for minority businesses.

Heightened Engagement with Strategic Partners Yields Positive Returns

MBDA is pleased to expand and strengthen its relationships with strategic partners that share a vision for fostering the growth and global competitiveness of minority owned businesses. Working with over 100 organizations as well as federal and public sector entities throughout the year, MBDA connected its network of 44 business centers to key stakeholder opportunities, generating a series of joint initiatives that grew minority business across the country through focused technical, relational, and financial collaboration.

MBDA  EXHIBITED AT  NEARLY  30 STAKEHOLDER  CONFERENCES  TO CONNECT  BUSINESSES WITH PROGRAM  SERVICES AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.The Agency also increased its presence at business conferences where entrepreneurs, investors, and procurement officials gather to form working alliances. MBDA experts were deployed to more than 85 local, regional, and national events to serve as keynote speakers, panelists, and moderators. In addition, MBDA exhibited at nearly 30 stakeholder conferences to continue to strengthen ties with stakeholders and promote federal program services.

MBDA reached upwards of 32,000 people through active engagement with chambers of commerce, professional associations, universities, and other stakeholders. MBDA will continue its role as a catalyst and champion for minority businesses and looks forward to forging more alliances over the next 45 years.

The National Urban League

For example, MBDA has a longstanding relationship with the National Urban League (NUL), which has over95 affiliates serving 300 communities across the country. This year, MBDA worked with NUL leadership to forge local partnerships with their 12 Entrepreneurship Centers, extending our reach to some of the most vulnerable communities in the country.

Professional Services Initiative: National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms

A new partnership was formalized with the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms to develop creative and innovative approaches for promoting growth among minority lawyers and minority-owned law firms.

“As is usual in America, we are more interdependent than we realize.” —Ron Brownstein, National Journal

The San Francisco  Center's expertise  covers three primary technology sectors in  the Bay Area:  clean  technology, life  sciences, and  information  technology .Lab-to-Market Initiatives Thrive

Federally funded research dramatically affects the advancement of innovation and technologies that can improve and enhance the quality of everyday life. The Internet, global positioning systems, lifesaving vaccines, and many other technological advances began with federally funded research at federal labs. Currently the Federal Government spends billions of dollars supporting research and development on a variety of issues including life sciences, energy and manufacturing. Maximizing returns from our national investment in federal research and development, is essential to economic growth and to U.S. leadership in global innovation, business development, and job creation in cutting-edge industries.

The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 gave Department of Commerce agencies government-wide responsibility for ensuring that as many taxpayer-funded technologies as possible make the transition from research laboratories to consumer markets. The MBDA response to the President’s Lab-to-Market Initiative was to establish a series of strategic partnerships that allow MBDA to offer MBEs unprecedented access to innovative goods, services, and products by assisting with the licensing of federal R&D. These partnerships include ongoing collaboration with the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards & Technology.

In the fall of 2014, our San Francisco MBDA Business Center added a technology transfer specialization and now leads MBDA’s Technology Transfer and Innovation Program. The program facilitates access to publicly funded technology licenses with vast commercial opportunity and the capital investments necessary to bring new products to market. The Center’s expertise covers three primary technology sectors in the Bay Area: clean technology, life sciences, and information technology.

Rolf Lundberg, International Franchise Association; Elizabeth Kautz, Mayor of Burnsville, MN;  Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, MO; Lou Mosca, American Management Services; Joann  Hill, MBDA Minority Business Development at the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Working on the front lines to build our nation’s economy, U.S. mayors play a key role in the growth and prosperity of American cities. The top priority of any mayor is to create the requisite eco-system that supports businesses, creates jobs, and generates opportunities for all communities. These are all shared goals of MBDA.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Annual Meeting is an opportunity for mayors across the country to discuss the economic health of cities through the lens of important national issues: transportation, housing, infrastructure, and economic development. To strengthen ties between MBDA and the USCM, the Agency arranged for a robust presence at the 82nd Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX. National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo met over a dozen mayors from across the country; and our Chief of Business Development, Joann Hill participated on a panel highlighting MBDA’s work in supporting the economic development of cities.

The success of agency efforts nationally is deeply rooted in our work locally through the nation’s cities. We are pleased to be able to collaborate with city halls of every size and locale and look forward to continuing to work with the nation’s mayors.

MBDA and the Department of Commerce Join California Elected Officials in Support of San Francisco MBEs

MBDA ASSISTED FIRMS WITH GAINING ACCESS TO  $26.3  BILLION IN CAPITAL AND  CONTRACTS  SINCE 2009,  AND CREATED AND RETAINED  NEARLY  60,000 JOBS .Our network of MBDA Business Centers engages members of Congress on a variety of business development policies and initiatives that are important to their work in their congressional districts. This work can take the form of educational workshops, B2B matchmaking events, listening sessions, business site visits, or senior executive meetings.

This year, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) invited Secretary Pritzker and National Director Castillo to join her at a regional economic development forum at the Oakland Airport to meet with community leaders and minority businesses to discuss opportunities in trade, advanced manufacturing and federal contracting. The event was part of Secretary Pritzker’s Open for Business Agenda, focused on engaging key business partners in finding ways to boost trade and investment; support innovation and entrepreneurship; and release more government data.

National Director Castillo spoke about the Obama Administration’s work to spur continued economic growth and job creation through support of exporters, entrepreneurs, and small, women and minority-owned businesses. Later, she led a panel discussion on economic development that connected local business leaders and economic development organizations with the expertise and resources of the Department of Commerce. The forum featured representatives from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Port of Oakland, Alameda County and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

MBDA Joins the National Journal’s Next America Dialogue

National Journal The Next America SeriesOur work with the media is a critical component of our outreach efforts to share data and trends that shape the commercial landscape and influence public policy. In 2014, we collaborated with the National Journal, regarded as an influential, credible, and non-partisan publication based in Washington DC, providing the latest insight on political news, public policy, and business. In 2014, National Journal reporter Ron Brownstein launched Next America — a series of articles and events to explore the political, economic, and social impacts of the profound racial and cultural demographic changes facing our nation. This series of roundtable discussions and forums created a platform to highlight and research in real time, key trends and ramifications unfolding across America as a result of these demographic shifts. The accompanying series of articles are written from the varied vantage points of guest writers from national politics, the business community, academia, and policy makers, discussing the pressing issues impacting the Next America.

During their Washington event, National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo delivered a keynote address and was interviewed at the National Journal’s The Next America: Making America Work forum, which focused on how the public and private sectors could promote minority financial empowerment, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. The Agency’s engagement with the National Journal launched additional collaborations around the country. In September, our Houston MBDA Business Center participated in The Next America: Foundations of Prosperity, and in November, the San Francisco MBDA Business Center participated in The Next America: The Inclusion Economy forum.


Indianapolis MBDA Business Center

(Left to right) Ivan Baird, James Knight, Mary Lou Garcia, David FredricksThe Indianapolis MBDA Business Center is operated by the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council (MSDC). Recently the Council expanded its service area to include Central Illinois and Eastern Missouri. The organizations work collaboratively to ensure MBDA client growth. Clients typically obtain Mid-States MSDC certification and are placed into a pool of MBEs with proven capabilities that match the needs of major corporate members. MBDA clients are also invited to participate in the programs and services of the Council, like their MBE CEO Academy that convenes a select group of CEOs from some of the top corporations in Indiana. Over the past two years, 16 MBDA clients have been accepted into the year-long program and have gained valuable insight for taking their businesses to the next level.

Business growth through relationship building is a specialty of Business Development Manager, David Fredricks. It is also one of the first principles the Indianapolis Business Center teaches new clients - the importance of relationship building. Last year, David began working with a new client, GLS Inc. They specialize in debris removal for underground digging and installation of utility pipes. The owner had performed work for Citizens Energy Group, an Indianapolis-based utility company. The relationship became intermittent over the years and eventually ceased. Fredricks facilitated a number of meetings between the companies, shored up this relationship that led to the discussion of capabilities and opportunities. As a result, GLS Inc. is now a preferred vendor with CEG, obtaining a master agreement to provide high beam and debris removal services. GLS’ revenue increased 30 percent in 2014.

CMS Corporation

Khush Mander, Mercedes Enrique, Ernest EnriqueMercedes Enrique left a highly successful 10-year career as an engineer and manager with Dana Corporation to purchase CMS Corporation (CMS).When she originally bought into the firm, it was a relatively small, regionally mechanical construction and fabrication business. Ten years later, CMS is an award winning design-build construction firm with 90% of earnings generated through repeat business.

Although Enrique humbly explains her success with statements like, “I’ve been very lucky” or “things just fell into place,” that is simply not the case. The success of CMS is the result of two things: her perfect execution of a well-designed strategy for growth - and her relationship with the Indianapolis MBDA Business Center.

Her growth strategy with co-owners Khush Mander and Ernest Enrique included becoming a prime contractor to the Department of Defense. Together, the ownership team brings over 60 years of construction experience.

When CMS became a client of the Indianapolis Center, the firm already had SBA 8(a) certification and was about to graduate from the program. With two years remaining, CMS needed help positioning the firm for continued growth and less reliance on federal contracts. Mercedes challenged Fredricks to get her in front of three corporations: Citizens Energy, Indianapolis Airport Authority and Monsanto. These were meetings she had not been able to get on her own. In 2014, she was able to meet with representatives from each corporation and begin the development of fruitful relationships.

Since becoming a client of the Indianapolis Center, CMS has doubled its number of employees and saw revenue growth of 30% percent in 2014 currently reporting the largest backlog of work in their history.

CMS Offers Job Satisfaction and Security

Take a look at what the employees have to say about working at CMS:

“I came here from a much larger firm and spent 80% of my time on the road. Now I travel much less and enjoy spending time with my mother, and my sister and her children. I am totally committed to CMS and would lay down in traffic for the owners.” —Mary McDevitt, BD/Marketing €”Mary McDevitt, BD/Marketing


Jake Hahn, Project Manager “I’ve been with CMS since the company started 10 years ago. I specialize in industrial gasses and have helped to develop our quality control programs over the years. The work is very rewarding and I don’t plan on going anywhere else.” —Jake Hahn, Project Manager

Indiana is in the heart of the rust belt and led the nation in manufacturing  job growth with the creation of 13,700 new factory jobs in 2014. 1  The  MBDA Indianapolis Business Center has used its location and resources  to increase the number of MBEs involved in advanced manufacturing.  €œWe want to ensure our goals are aligned with President Obama's goal of  creating higher-paying manufacturing jobs to enhance America's global  competitiveness,€  says  Indianapolis  MBDA  Business  Center  Project  Director, James Knight. Under Knight's leadership, demand for business  center services continues to increase.

Investing in Our Infrastructure

WE ARE COMMITTED TO THE  ONGOING  PROFESSIONAL  DEVELOPMENT, TOOLS AND  TECHNOLOGIES THAT KEEP  US INTERNALLY STRONG  AND EXTERNALLY RELEVANT.One of the most important investments that MBDA has made is in our staff and the tools we use daily to provide essential services to our clients. The American workplace is radically changing and we have to adapt to technological advances and the ways in which we educate and empower staff. We continue to be committed to ongoing professional development and the creation of tools, technology platforms and training that keep us internally strong and externally relevant.

Our Online Presence: Social Media and Beyond

First TweetMBDA is committed to improving and expanding the resources, tools, and opportunities we provide to all minority-owned businesses through the use of technology. Since the launch of the MBDA web portal in 1989, we have paid particular attention to servicing firms in areas with limited local resources. Our comprehensive website focuses on sharing federal resources and services; industry events, and business “how-to” articles that help firms in their capacity building and decision-making process. Millions of minority-owned firms have used our Business Plan Writer, a free and easy tool to create a growth plan for their business; the Phoenix/Opportunity Matching System, an online database system that enables firms to receive business opportunity leads and business partners; and the Resource Locator, a web-based tool to find specific resources that offer business-related assistance. Minority-owned firms are reaping the benefit of our investment in digital services.

MBDA’s digital service offerings are expanding as social media surpasses more traditional means of communication. Using our website and social media channels like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, MBDA is reaching new audiences. Nearly 600,000 people visit our website annually and new social media users sign-up at a rate of 350 per month. MBDA continues to find new ways to engage users in this new virtual environment and marketplace.

New Research Profiles U.S. Minority Businesses

The State of MBE CoverIn addition to creating U.S. jobs by growing the size and scale of minority-owned businesses, MBDA is tasked with the development, collection, analysis, and dissemination of information that is helpful to organizations and individuals seeking to establish or promote the successful operation of minority business enterprises. In 2014, MBDA commissioned five research reports for publication in 2015:

  1. The State of Minority Businesses includes an analysis of the performance of minority-owned firms and non-minority firms based on the Census Bureau’s last release of data from the Survey of Business Owners (SBO).

  2. Characteristics of Minority Businesses and Entrepreneurs delves further into the SBO data to uncover business measurement trends over time.

  3. The Changing Minority Marketplace provides population projections of the U.S. population at a national level based on age, sex, race and Hispanic origin from 2012 to 2060.

  4. Minority Exporters: Characteristics and Strategies for New Business & Expansion focuses on the strengths of minority-owned businesses in global markets and their market entry strategies.

  5. New Financing Solutions to Accelerate Minority Business, Growth and Expansion examines the use of alternative financing solutions in the minority business community.

We also developed and produced the first of several industry-focused fact sheets — U.S. Minority-Owned Manufacturing Firms. MBDA fact sheets are among the most frequently downloaded items from our website.

2014 National Training Conference

In September, the MBDA National Training Conference was held in Detroit, Michigan. The theme of this year’s conference was The State of Minority-Owned Businesses: Engagement for the 21st Century. The primary purpose of the National Training Conference is to provide a training and discussion forum for the MBDA nationwide network of 44 business centers. There were more than 200 attendees at the conference. In addition to the incredible training, Center staff were provided an opportunity to share best practices and insight about the programs and services offered by MBDA that increase capacity and growth of MBE firms.

Michigan State Representative Thomas Stallworth III gave introductory remarks and presented MBDA with a proclamation on behalf of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. A broad range of topics were presented: industry trends related to lab-to-market technology and commercialization, green energy infrastructure, capture management, and alternative financing solutions. Other conference topics focused on operational best practices: marketing, alternative revenue streams, and strategic partnerships.

Conference speakers represented a cadre of federal partners, Fortune 500 corporations, and successful MBE firms including the U.S. Census Bureau, Dunn & Bradstreet, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Small Business Administration, venture capitalists, angel and family office investors, MBDA Business Center project directors, MBDA Headquarters staff, McGraw Hill, The Interstate Traveler, and VisionIT amongst others. MBDA Business Center staff walked away with new relationships and resources to provide increased support to their MBE clients in the coming year.

New Business Development Tools

In fiscal year 2014 MBDA updated and enhanced its current suite of business development tools to support MBDA staff and business center personnel. To date we have acquired several tools and services that expand access to business and procurement intelligence for MBDA clients:

  1. Deltek is a resource of potential partners for MBDA clients to collaborate and pursue procurement opportunities in both the public and private sectors;

  2. Hoovers affords MBEs access to over $1.8 trillion in public sector contracts and $4.2 billion in construction and related contracts.

  3. Dun & Bradstreet provides access to a wealth of business intelligence and industry research which has been used to better align MBEs with procurement opportunities and partnerships that greatly enhance their ability to pursue higher dollar streams of revenue.

These services are often cost-prohibitive for our clients. With access to these business tools through MBDA, clients save thousands of dollars while being provided with information about procurement opportunities in the public and private sectors in the earliest stages of the procurement lifecycle. Access to this technology also increases their ability to respond to solicitations, identify strategic partners,and gather business intelligence to prepare responsive bids.

We will continue to expand our adoption of business technology solutions in fiscal year 2015. Planned acquisitions will give our staff and business centers the ability to provide business valuation data; automate the evaluation and response to potential procurement opportunities; and improve the operational efficiency systems supporting our core programs.

Our 44 business centers are held to rigorous performance standards. MBDA program analysts conduct independent verification of all reported capital, contracts, job creation, and job retention. Centers are also evaluated on client services that result in joint ventures, teaming arrangements, and brokered mergers and acquisitions. This year, 28 Centers received a performance rating of outstanding. We salute their exemplary service to the business community nationwide.

This year’s record breaking increases in contracts and capital, achieved by our national network of business centers is a direct result of our renewed focus on training, support and collaboration. Industry specific working groups established best practices; and training from specialists in traditional and alternative financing armed Center business development specialists with better strategies for securing financing for clients. See page 50 for detailed descriptions of MBDA performance metrics.

National MED Week Conference

Del Renigar, General Electric; Donald Niss, Power Africa; Rick Angiuoni, Ex-Im  Bank; Peter Van den Dool, Overseas Private Investment CorporationOver 650 business leaders and owners attended the 2014 National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, DC. The conference was established 32 years ago as a venue for minorityowned firms to gain access to resources and connections to grow and expand their businesses domestically and abroad. This year’s conference theme, “Connecting Business with Opportunity,” featured over $1.4 billion in business opportunities, a robust network of industry experts, and an awards ceremony honoring leading minority-owned firms and advocates.

The 2014 National MED Week Conference hosted a diverse panel of 45 speakers from corporate, private, and public sectors. Featured speakers included Carla Harris, a Morgan Stanley executive and author of the book Expect to Win and Joe Abraham, an entrepreneur and author of Entrepreneurial DNA: The Breakthrough Discovery that Aligns your Business to Your Unique Strengths, who both inspired and challenged attendees to be committed to personal, career, and business growth. The conference also gave attendees direct access to experts involved in three White House initiatives focused on business growth strategies, competitive tools, technologies and exciting new business opportunities in energy, advanced manufacturing, and trade.

This year’s MED Week conference featured over $1.4 billion in business opportunities, a robust network of industry experts, and an awards ceremony honoring leading minority-owned firms and advocates.

2014 Minority Business Award Winners

MED Week Award Winners

The MED Week awards ceremony is a longstanding tradition honoring some of the nation’s fastest growing minority-owned firms, entrepreneurs, and advocates. These awards celebrate and recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing minority business enterprises.


Venegas Engineering Management and ConstructionVenegas Engineering Management and Construction
Oscar Venegas, President
Venegas Engineering Management & Construction Inc. (VEMAC) is a family-owned construction company in El Paso, Texas, which provides commercial construction management, general contracting, and related services in Texas and New Mexico. VEMAC Inc. has proudly served clients for over ten years.



Pravin J. Thakkar, Owner and Manageing Partner Universal Companies LLCUniversal Companies LLC
Pravin J. Thakkar, Owner and Managing Partner
Universal Companies LLC was founded in 1984. One of the subsidiaries of Universal Companies LLC, Universal Scaffold & Equipment, is a supplier of a full line of scaffolding equipment and accessories to customers across North and South America, Nigeria, and other countries. The company was one of the first scaffold companies to begin conducting business in China in 1989.



Susan Au AllenU.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation
Susan Au Allen, Esq., National President and CEO
Susan Au Allen was recognized for her advocacy and steadfast commitment to the Asian American business community. In 1984, Susan founded the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC) with a group of business and civic to bring the diverse Pan Asian American business community together as one unified voice in business, commerce, and trade. Her legal and business expertise is frequently sought out by political leaders at the White House, on Capitol Hill and in corporate board rooms.

Lance C. Morgan, President and CEOHo-Chunk Inc.
Lance C. Morgan, President and CEO

Lance Morgan is president and CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., the award-winning economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Under Mr. Morgan’s leadership, Ho-Chunk Incorporated grew from its meager beginnings of one employee and a small startup-investment in 1994, to a multi-million dollar company that operates 34 subsidiaries, has revenues in excess of $260 million, and employs over 1,000 people across the United States and in four foreign countries.



Diane G. Dempsey, Director of Socio Economic ProgramsBAE Systems Intelligence and Security
Diane G. Dempsey, Director of Socio Economic Programs

Diane Dempsey has significantly affected the growth and development of minority-owned firms in her extensive career in procurement, subcontracts and supplier diversity. Currently the director of Socio Economic Business Programs for BAE Systems Intelligence & Security, Dempsey was previously a small business advocate for several prime contractors. Dempsey was recognized for her diligent work in increasing subcontracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses as well as her commitment to mentor minority-owned firms in her current role.


Andra Rush, President and CEODetroit Manufacturing Systems LLC
Andra Rush, President and CEO

Detroit Manufacturing Systems (DMS) develops state of the art automotive interior systems. Utilizing the latest technology DMS assembles and manufactures injection molded interior trim components for global automotive brands with a commitment to quality and efficiency. DMS was founded in June 2012 as a joint venture with Rush Group Ltd. and French auto supplier Faurecia Interior Systems.

Kimberly Ruiz Beck, ChairwomenRuiz Food Products Inc.
Kimberly Ruiz Beck, Chairwoman

Ruiz Foods started in Tulare, California in 1964 selling authentic enchiladas and tamales to local grocery stores. Now, 50 years later, El Monterey® is the #1 selling frozen Mexican food in the U.S. Today, Ruiz Foods has manufacturing facilities in California, Texas, and South Carolina.



Stephen L. Hightower, President and CEOHightowers Petroleum Company
Stephen L. Hightower, President and CEO

Founded in 1984 by Stephen Hightower and building on a family business established in 1957, Hightowers Petroleum Co. (HPC) was launched via a strategic alliance with oil giant BP Oil in early 1985. HPC is a full-service, licensed motor fuel dealer and a PUCO contract carrier, operating nationally to deliver gasoline, diesel fuel, and alternative fuels to its customers.



Ronald W. Newsome, Director, New Market Tax CreditStonehenge Capital Company LLC
Ronald W. Newsome, Director, New Market Tax Credits

Stonehenge Capital Company (SCC) was awarded for demonstrating outstanding leadership in the financial community in their service to minority-owned businesses. Last year SCC’s subsidiary, Stonehedge Community Development, invested $465 million (85%) of its federal allocation into small businesses and non-profits with significant minority impact representing projects totaling $900 million.


EArmando Guzman, Perspectiva Nacional Anchorntravision Communications Corporation
Armando Guzman, Perspectiva Nacional Anchor

An award winning journalist, Armando Guzmán currently anchors Entravision’s national program “Perspectiva Nacional con Armando Guzman” from Washington, DC. For two decades, he has covered the White House, the U.S. Congress, and all the most important news stories in our nation’s capital. His journalistic work has been recognized as a factor in giving Spanish language television news credibility and respect in U.S. and Latin America.


National Association of Small Disadvantaged Businesses
Henry T. “Hank” Wilfong, Jr. (posthumously)

Hank Wilfong, Jr., was president of the National Association of Small Disadvantaged Businesses and the first Black Pasadena City Councilman. He was also a 3-time Presidential appointee, which included the Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator of the 8(a) program. Whether it was his advocacy for parity among the set-aside programs or his passion for strengthening the 8(a) programs and women-owned small business, all have been touched by his legacy.

Michael A. GrantNational Bankers Association
Michael A. Grant, JD, President

Michael Grant is president of both the National Bankers Association and its Foundation. Under his leadership, the Association has expanded its advocacy to help strengthen and expand the commercial viability of Minority Depository Institutions. Mr. Grant was acknowledged for his advocacy efforts and his integral role in the professional progress of minority business development.


Michael K. Robinson, Program Director, Global Supplier DiversityInternational Business Machines Corporation
Michael K. Robinson, Program Director, Global Supplier Diversity

As Program Director, Global Diversity Supplier for IBM’s Integrated Supply Chain, Michael K. Robinson has spearheaded one of the nation’s top corporations in growing its supplier diversity initiatives worldwide. Robinson ensures that minority suppliers are included in every procurement request IBM makes, whether it be in the United States, Latin America, Europe, or South Africa.


Frank Veneegas, Jr., Chairman and CEOThe IDEAL Group Inc.
Frank Venegas, Jr., Chairman and CEO

Frank Venegas, Jr was recognized for being a pioneer in the automotive industry. Capitalizing on the proceeds of a car he won in a raffle in 1970, Venegas turned $1,200 into seven nationally recognized companies with annual revenues approaching $250 million and 500 employees. Venegas is a recipient of the Mexican government’s Ohtli Award, the highest recognition bestowed on a person of Mexican heritage living outside of Mexico.


Bill Imada, Chairmand and Chief Collaboration OfficerIW Group Inc.
Bill Imada, Chairman and Chief Collaboration Officer

Bill Imada is founder, chairman, and chief collaboration officer of IW Group, an advertising, marketing and communications agency focused on the growing multicultural markets. He is also the cofounder and former chairman of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship; and co-founder of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. Mr. Imada’s active leadership has earned national recognition and the National Director’s Special Recognition for expanding multicultural markets.

Fiscal Year 2014 Performance



African American-Owned Firms Asian American-Owned Firms
Hispanic American-Owned Firms Native American-Owned Firms

Job Creation by Congressional District

Contracts, financial transactions, and jobs created/retained are verified by MBDA headquarters staff. MBDA performance data is maintained in the Agency’s CRM database and was retrieved for this report on January 21, 2015.



OPERATOR/GRANT RECIPIENT                                          




Mobile MBDA Business Center

Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce




Anchorage MBDA Business Center

Native American Contractors Association




Phoenix MBDA Business Center

Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr.




Fresno MBDA Business Center

Asian, Inc.




Los Angeles MBDA Business Center

University of Southern California




Riverside MBDA Business Center

Southern California Corporate Growth Partners




San Francisco MBDA Business Center

Asian, Inc.




San Jose MBDA Business Center

Asian, Inc.




Denver MBDA Business Center

Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council




Bridgeport MBDA Business Center

Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council



District of Columbia

Capitol MBDA Business Center

Performance-Based Solutions, Inc.



District of Columbia

Federal Procurement Center

Metropolitan Economic Development Association



District of Columbia

Washington DC MBDA Business Center

National Community Reinvestment Coalition




Miami MBDA Business Center

M. Gill & Associates Incorporated




Orlando MBDA Business Center

Florida Minority Supplier Development Council




Atlanta MBDA Business Center

Georgia Tech Research Corporation




Honolulu MBDA Business Center

University of Hawaii




Chicago MBDA Business Center

Chicago Minority Business Development Council




Indianapolis MBDA Business Center

Indiana Minority Supplier Development Council




New Orleans MBDA Business Center

Louisiana Minority Business Council




Baltimore MBDA Business Center

City of Baltimore




Boston MBDA Business Center

Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council




Detroit MBDA Business Center

Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council




Minneapolis MBDA Business Center

Metropolitan Economic Development Association




St. Louis MBDA Business Center

Chicago Minority Business Development Council




Las Vegas MBDA Business Center

New Ventures Capital Development Company



New Mexico

Albuquerque MBDA Business Center

NEDA Business Consultants Incorporated



New Mexico

Santa Fe MBDA Business Center

American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico



New York

Manhattan MBDA Business Center

National Community Reinvestment Coalition



New York

South Bronx MBDA Business Center

South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation



New York

Williamsburg MBDA Business Center

ODA Community Development Corporation



North Carolina

Raleigh MBDA Business Center

North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development



North Dakota

Bismarck MBDA Business Center

United Tribes Technical College




Cleveland MBDA Business Center

The Commission on Economic Inclusion




Tulsa MBDA Business Center

Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma Incorporated




Philadelphia MBDA Business Center

The Enterprise Center



Puerto Rico

San Juan MBDA Business Center

Asocicion Productos de Puerto Rico Incorporated



South Carolina

Columbia MBDA Business Center

DESA, Incorporated




Memphis MBDA Business Center

Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum Incorporated




Dallas MBDA Business Center

Dallas Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council




El Paso MBDA Business Center

El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce




Houston MBDA Business Center

Houston Community College




San Antonio MBDA Business Center

University of Texas, San Antonio




Seattle MBDA Business Center

Seattle Business Assistance Center



MBDA Services: We Are Here to Help


  • Identifying financing opportunities and sourcing deals
  • Financial management and planning
  • Financing forums and networking events
  • Brokerage of financial transactions
  • Identification and closure of mergers and acquisitions


  • Identification of procurement opportunities
  • Teaming arrangements
  • Solicitation analysis
  • Bid and proposal preparation
  • Negotiation and closing
  • Post-award contract administration
  • Business certifications and registration assistance


  • Market research, promotion, and advertising
  • Sales consulting and forecasting
  • Business-to-Business (B2B) matchmaking forums
  • Identification of export markets
  • Referrals to international trade programs and services
  • International market analysis
  • Market promotion assistance
  • International trade assistance

MBDA Senior Management Team



Nationwide Network of MBDA Centers

MBDA administers and manages a competitive cooperative grant program to operate its nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers. Our partners are state and local governments, tribal entities, and universities, including minority-serving institutions and for-profit entities. The MBDA supports Centers with a national team of business development specialists.

Nationwide Network of MBDA Centers

Specialty Centers

MBDA Business Centers

MBDA Performance Metrics


Dollar Value of Awarded Contracts and Procurements This represents the total dollar value of successfully awarded contracts and/or the total principal value of executed sales/delivery contracts of services/products/intellectual rights and/or other binding financial considerations secured by clients of the MBDA Business Centers, with the assistance of Center staff. For purposes of this performance element, Dollar Value of Awarded Contracts and Procurements are those transactions which have a specific dollar value, and which produce a commercial benefit for the client firm.

Dollar Value of Awarded Financial Transactions The total principal value of approved loans, equity financings, bonds, leases (property and equipment), assets under management or other binding financial agreements secured by clients of the MBDA Business Centers with the assistance of Center staff.

Management Assessment MBDA’s overall evaluation of the MBDA Business Center, based on the Agency’s internal review of the Center’s operations. The management assessment focuses on such areas as the development of written service engagements and work plans; proper staffing; adherence to scheduled work hours; recordkeeping; successful completion of Agency training; customer relationship management, maintenance of strategic partnerships; market promotion and any other areas MBDA may deem to be relevant in determining the overall quality of the Center’s operations. An operator may also lose up to two points from the assessment if the MBDA Business Center staff fails to participate in the required training credit hours.

Number of Clients Served The actual number of clients served in a funding period. Clients are defined as those that have registered with the MBDA Business Center and completed a written engagement for specific services. Clients may be counted only once during the program year. Clients from a prior program year may be counted in a subsequent program year if continued service provision to said clients is documented.

Number of Contracts The number of awarded contracts and other binding procurement awards secured by client firms.

Number of Export Transactions Facilitated The number of global contract opportunities and export financing transactions secured by client firms as a result of direct assistance from an MBDA Business Center.

Number of Financial Transactions The number of successful financial transactions secured by client firms.

Number of Jobs Created The number of new full time and/or part time positions reported on the client’s payroll during the funding year. Persons on paid sick leave, paid holiday and paid vacations are included as employees, as are salaried officers and executives of corporations. However, proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses are not considered employees under this definition.

Number of Jobs Retained The number of existing full time and/or part time employee positions retained and reported on the client’s payroll during the funding year. Job retention pertains to maintaining the status quo of persons employed by the client in lieu of subjective and objective decisions made by the client to reduce its work force due to economic conditions, lack of capital, failure to secure necessary contracts and/or sales. Persons on paid sick leave, paid holiday and paid vacations are included as employees, as are salaried officers and executives of corporations. However, proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses are not considered employees under this definition.

Number of Referrals The number of referrals made by the Center to clients seeking assistance that is outside the scope of MBDA Business Center program services. Referrals may be made to strategic partners or other external service providers able to provide services that are relevant to the client.

Number of Strategic Transactions Facilitated The number of awarded transactions secured by clients that included successful MBDA Business Center facilitation of joint ventures, teaming arrangements, and/or the number of mergers and acquisitions brokered on behalf of clients by the Center.

Promotion of MBDA The extent to which MBDA Business Centers meet and exceed the requirements for communication of the mission and objectives of MBDA within the business and government community. Return on Taxpayer Investment The total value of contracts and capital obtained by clients as a result of their work with MBDA divided by the Agency’s fiscal year budget appropriation.

Throughout this report, statements regarding contracts, financial transactions, and jobs created/retained reported for MBDA Business Center clients are verified by MBDA headquarters staff. MBDA performance data is maintained in the Agency’s CRM database and was retrieved for this report on January 21, 2015.



1 U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2007 Survey of Business Owners, 2010

2 U.S.  Census  Bureau,  Georgia  State  and  County  Quick  Facts,  Retrieved  from: on December 21, 2014.

3 Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council home page. Retrieved from on December 21, 2014.

4  U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Jobs Supported by Exports in 2014: An Update, retrieved from: http://www. on March 25, 2015.

5 U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Doing Business in Africa, retrieved from: on March 25, 2015

6  U.S. Department of the Interior, 2013 American Indian Population and Labor Force Report, January 16, 2014

7 A Wise Investment, Kurt Summers, MBE Magazine (May/June 2014).

Performance Note

1. Contracts, financial transactions, and jobs created/retained are verified by MBDA headquarters staff. MBDA performance data
is maintained in the Agency’s CRM database and was retrieved for this report on January 21, 2015



Published on: 19/04/2017