This March, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) quietly celebrated its 40 year anniversary.
I say quietly, simply because the spotlight at the time was squarely focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). But as stimulus-related funding and programs start to hit the public and private sector, quite suddenly the MBDA just may have found the momentum it needs to make its 40th year count.
Consider this fact:
“If the growth of minority firms actually reflected the minority population growth, it would mean an additional 2.4 million firms…16.1 million more workers…and a remarkable shift in American demographics to a majority minority.” (Minority Business Development Agency press release).
Established by the Nixon administration 40 years ago, the MBDA is the only federal agency tasked with making good on this statement.
Since it was founded the MBDA has touched more than 25,000 minority businesses, in turn creating 5,000 new jobs. MBDA programs have also generated $1.85 billion in contract and financial awards to minority businesses.
So I’m going to give the only agency dedicated to promoting the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses a shout out!
The Essential Role for Minority Businesses in Rebuilding the Economy
The immediate uptick in new ARRA-funded projects should serve the market for minority-owned business government set-aside contracts well. Not to mention the financial boost provided by new SBA loan opportunities for small businesses.
And the MBDA is tuned in.
The MBDA is positioning itself with resources and events as the only agency dedicated to connecting minority firms with newly available resources that will help put Americans back to work.
Below is just a summary of some of the resources, tools and events from the MBDA that minority business owners can take advantage of.
Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses – How the MBDA Can Help!
The MBDA Web portal – http://www.mbda.gov – is rich with resources for the minority business enterprises. Including the following:
- Contracts and Certifications for Minority Businesses – In addition to covering the basics of government contracting, MBDA hosts a range of useful tools to registered site members including its Phoenix Matching System and Opportunity Database. These online systems let you register your minority company with the MBDA’s database of minority business enterprises. You can access government and private sector contract opportunities as well as post opportunities and find business partners.
Supposedly, the database is much simpler to use than other public and private sector databases of contract opportunities – letting you access timely opportunities via email without extensive searching.
When a match is made based on your profile, MBDA will send you the dollar amount of the contract, time and place for delivery, contact information and bonding requirements. The offering company receives your contact information and a link to your Web site. You also receive information about minority business support services that may assist you with bid preparation, finance or bonding.
- ARRA and Minority Businesses – What should minority businesses do to take part in ARRA-funded projects? This guide can help.
- Discussion Forum – This forum falls within MBDA’s CRM Initiative and is intended to improve citizen outreach. The surprisingly active forum lets minority business owners share information, tips, business ideas and more.
- Minority Entrepreneurs Business Development Guides – This link provides a range of information on new business checklists, business planning, business structure, employee management, marketing, and more. There are a series of guides here for every stage of your business.
- Financing and Minority-Owned Businesses – You can find information and links here about loans, grants, taxes, and credit preparation.
- Local MBDA Centers – Located in areas with the largest concentration of minority populations, these MBDA Centers offer a range of business services to minority entrepreneurs.
In addition to Web-based resources, the MBDA hosts its Minority Enterprise Development Week in August 2009, the central focus of which is the National Minority Business Conference in Washington, D.C. which, in collaboration with the SBA, helps connect and foster innovation among minority-owned businesses. This year’s theme – appropriately enough – is “Energizing the American Economy with Minority Business Enterprises.”
Other Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses
- Business.gov’s Minority-Owned Businesses Guide – This one-stop source for all government related minority business information consolidates resources from MBDA, SBA, and programs such as HUBZone with other useful start-up and business operation guides for minorities.
- Five Tips for Finding Federal Contracting Opportunities
- Finding Work in Your Own Back Yard: Doing Business with State and Local Government