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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has released its annual performance report for fiscal year 2012. The data shows that MBDA and its national Business Centers assisted in helping several minority-owned businesses gain over $3.6 billion in contracts and capital. Additionally, nearly 17,000 jobs were created or retained, marking a new record in the agency’s 44-year existence.

From the Commerce Department’s press office this week:

“Today’s report illustrates the crucial role MBDA plays in helping U.S. minority-owned businesses grow and expand globally, particularly because of the quantifiable return on investment and impact these businesses have on our economy,” said David A. Hinson, MBDA National Director. “In his 2013 State of the Union speech, President Obama outlined his vision for making America a magnet for investment, innovation, and economic growth. While we have made significant progress, much work remains to ensure that opportunities to prosper are open to all entrepreneurs who are pursuing the American dream, especially our minority business owners.”

For FY 2012, MBDA underwent a restructuring which allowed for more nationwide Business Centers to run programs in Alaska, California, Tennessee, North Dakota and New Mexico. Forty such Business Centers are currently in existence, and the MBDA is still continuing to award grant funding to minority business owners in a recently announced competition.

To learn more about the MBDA and its services, click here.