On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce made an announcement that will change the fortunes of a number of minority business owners: Through a grant competition, minority business will get to run one of six Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) centers in major metropolitan hubs nationwide in order to grow their jobs and businesses.
Thirty of these centers are already in existence across the United States and Puerto Rico. With this new competition, though, grant winners will be able to operate MBDA Business Centers in New York, Houston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Washington, which, according to David A. Hinson, MBDA national director, “is critical to furthering the Agency’s mission in assisting minority-owned businesses in gaining access to contracts, access to capital, and access to markets.” Hinson adds, “It is our goal to ensure the continued success of minority-owned firms who, in turn, strengthen the economy and create American jobs.”
The grant amounts will range between $300,000 to $500,000 annually over the course of a three-year cycle, and awardees will be connected to the other already established 30 MBDA Business Centers nationwide.
Fiscal Year 2012 was noteworthy for MBDA as it helped to create and maintain more than 16,000 jobs, making it the most-successful run in the agency’s 44-year existence. In addition to the jobs, the MBDA also helped clients gain $3.6 billion in capital awards and contracts.
In 2011, the MBDA was instrumental in providing services and assistance to 7, 219 Black-owned businesses. Those firms were able to obtain contracts and investments valued at $5.5 billion.
The MBDA business centers’ aim is to provide consulting services to minority-owned businesses in order to spark job development and to also keep those currently employed in their positions. Additionally, the centers help increase contracts and investments obtained by the businesses and firms. For those applicants who are selected for this expanded round of grants, it is the MBDA’s expectation that those individuals will focus attention on global business interests as well.
On June 4, 2013, MBDA will host a pre-application conference call in order to provide a background of the agency’s Business Center program.