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Blog Category: Minority Business Development Agency

Spotlight on Commerce: Alejandra Castillo, Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency

Alejandra Y. Castillo is the National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Alejandra Y. Castillo is the National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.

Since joining the Minority Business Development Agency in April 2010, I serve as the principal advisor to the MBDA National Director and manage the day-to-day activities of the Agency’s 5 Regional Offices and 48 Minority Business Centers. These Offices and Business Centers are vital centers of economic growth and job creation. Under the Obama Administration, MBDA has assisted minority-owned firms in obtaining nearly $7 billion in contracts and capital, creating nearly 11,000 during the last two years.  As the National Deputy Director, I am also responsible for executing the Agency’s mission to help Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) grow and succeed through access to capital, access to contract and access to business opportunities both domestically and abroad.

Prior to MBDA, I served as Special Advisor to the Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) where I was responsible for business outreach and development of policy initiatives geared at trade promotion and enforcement of U.S. trade laws. Before coming to the Department of Commerce, I was a practicing attorney for several years, working in the private, government and non-profit sector.  I also served as the Interim Executive Director of the Hispanic National Bar Association working with the White House and non-profit organization, such as the Latinos for a Fair Judiciary, in support of the nomination and confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.

Creating Jobs For All Americans

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Logo

In the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama asked every American to take steps to ‘Win the Future’ by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competitors.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the United States Department of Commerce is the only federal agency tasked to create new jobs by expanding the U.S. economy though the nation’s 5.8 million minority-owned and operated businesses. The minority business community accounts for over $1 trillion in economic output to the nation and provides nearly six million jobs for U.S. citizens.

MBDA experienced record performance in 2010. The Agency created 6,397 new jobs by assisting minority-owned companies in obtaining nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital, an historic high. During the first two years of the Obama Administration, MBDA created nearly 11,000 new jobs and saved tens of thousands of existing jobs while helping minority-owned firms obtain nearly $7 billion in contracts and capital. In FY 2010, MBDA’s Return on Investment (ROI) was 125x, up from 102x in 2009 and from 70x at the end of the prior administration. This speaks to the increased operating efficiency of the agency during this Administration.

MBDA Opens New Business Center in Cleveland

Director Hinson and officials shown with presentation check

Cleveland is the home of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) newest business center. On Thursday, Sept. 1, more than 250 people turned out for the Cleveland MBDA Business Center’s grand opening and press conference held at the Wyndham Hotel.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, (D-Ohio) delivered remarks; and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson presented a proclamation recognizing the center’s role in the city.

MBDA National Director David Hinson delivered remarks to the crowd, challenging business owners to take advantage of the new opportunities that will be available through the business center in creating access to capital, contracts and markets.

The $1,125,000 five-year federal grant check was presented to center operator Andrew Jackson, Senior V. P. and Executive Director of the Commission on Economic Inclusion, Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Following the open house and tour of the center, a select group of minority business owners and key economic development stakeholders were invited to a White House Business Roundtable, where business owners shared in a candid conversation about their issues and concerns.

Director Hinson challenged business owners to consider what their companies specifically need to create “one more job.”  

MBDA Business Centers assist minority entrepreneurs with strategic business consulting services. Centers work directly with minority business owners and managers at the local level and provide enhanced assistance through MBDA’s national strategic partners, both within the federal government and the private sector.  

Minority Business Development Agency: Helping Rural Business Owners Create Jobs

Image of products from Sister Sky

Since the start of this administration, the Minority Business Development Agency has helped minority-owned firms gain access to $7 billion in contracts. Those firms are located in cities and rural communities throughout the country. However, what these firms have in common is their tenacity, innovation and creativity.

MBDA has made a point of ensuring that minority-owned firms are given access through our 50 center touch points located throughout the country. Among our MBDA business centers is the Native American Business Enterprise Center (NABEC) program.

Each NABEC leverages project staff and professional consultants to provide a wide range of direct business assistance services to eligible Native American, tribal entity and minority-owned firms.

MBDA’s NABEC services include initial consultation and assessments, business technical assistance, and access to federal and non-federal procurement and finance opportunities.

MBDA Helps Minority-Owned Businesses Win the Future

Workers installing solar panels on reservation building

Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is enabling job creation and growth within minority-owned companies as they expand through innovation and untapped resources. MBDA has 50 business development centers and regional offices throughout the country and is preparing to open its newest business center in Cleveland, Ohio, in September to continue to create an environment for support, technical training and access to capital, contracts and to markets for business owners there.

Knowing that many jobs of the 21st century will be in clean and renewable energy, green technology, and Healthcare IT, the MBDA Business Centers are reaching out to minority-owned firms so they can expand into those new areas and keep communities strong and workers employed.

For example, MBDA client Sacred Power Corporation Inc. based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a Native-American-owned renewable and distributive energy manufacturer. Sacred Power operates on the principle that “the world in which we live can change its current direction and dependence on polluting energy sources and convert to renewable technologies that provide clean, long-term solutions to today’s energy problems.”

MBDA National Director Highlights Opportunities for Partnerships as a Global Growth Strategy at London Symposium

David Hinson, Director of MBDA

The Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) National Director David A. Hinson traveled to London this week to discuss mergers and acquisitions as a global growth strategy for middle-market minority businesses. At the Third Global Merger & Acquisition Symposium: The New Economics for the Private Middle Market, Hinson explained that minority-owned businesses offer international investors above average return prospects and a powerful market entry vehicle into the United States and other countries.

“Within every market there are hidden and often undervalued opportunities that support both market entry and the potential for outsized profit,” Hinson said. “One of these hidden opportunities within the United States is called the minority business community.”

The U.S. minority business community represents $1 trillion of U.S. economic output, and if measured against the size of countries around the world, it would be the 17th richest nation. The minority business sector has also shown the greatest growth dynamics in the U.S. economy in terms of gross receipts, growing at 56 percent based on the latest Census Bureau data.

Now totaling 5.8 million, minority-owned companies in the United States have over $2.46 trillion in total annual purchasing power.

“Partnering with a U.S. minority-owned firm and leveraging not just the firm’s U.S. market presence but the “Made in America” brand can be a winning proposition for a new entrant to a foreign market.”

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

This blog post is about an older plan. The United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations at the end of FY 2013 is available here.

The current FY 2011 Continuing Resolution may expire without new budget authority. While it is not anticipated that there will be a lapse in appropriations, the Department must be prepared for a potential lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations.

Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations in the absence of appropriations (a "shutdown plan"). This plan will likely be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, as the situation develops, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant.

This plan complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce.

Files

Economic Development Organizations from Across the Nation Work to Create New Jobs at Hannover Messe 2011

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan open the Invest in America Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2011.

Guest Blog Post by Brian McGowan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

21 Economic Development Organization’s (EDOs) from across the nation are working today to create new jobs in their regions by participating in the U.S. Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011, the world's largest industrial technology showcase. The event runs from April 4-8, 2011 in Hannover, Germany.

The purpose of the program is to promote the Obama administration's National Export Initiative (NEI) as well as to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the U.S. By leading regional business clusters abroad, the Department of Commerce is aiding communities in promoting their regions as ideal locations to do business.

The program is the product of a unique partnership formed by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), and Invest In America (IIA) programs. 

Spotlight on Commerce: David Hinson, National Director of MBDA

David Hinson, Director of MBDA

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the President's vision of winning the future through their work.

David Hinson is the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.

As I travel around the country, I am in awe of the tenacity and the indomitable spirit of minority business owners and their unwillingness to quit in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s the spirit that makes America great.

As the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), I am proud to be a part of this Administration and a part of an Agency where our work helps to expand the U.S. economy and create new jobs through the historically underutilized minority business community.

I have the privilege of serving on the senior staff of the Secretary of Commerce and serving as Bureau Chief of MBDA, as well as engaging with various stakeholders, members of Congress, minority-owned and operated businesses, and nonprofit organizations that support minority business development across the nation.

MBDA is a national organization with more than 46 business centers in five regions, which generates nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital for minority-owned businesses. We also create thousands of jobs for all Americans and help save thousands of existing jobs.

Minority-owned firms are an engine of job creation for the U.S. economy, outpacing growth within the general business community for most of the last decade. Collectively, minority-owned businesses generate $1 trillion in economic output and create nearly 6 million jobs. They also possess almost $2.5 trillion in buying power.

My first introduction to business was as a child growing up in St. Louis, MO. I learned lessons about entrepreneurship from my next door neighbor who ran a small cookie distribution company from his home.  He taught me about the importance of inventory and business efficiencies. While I was a dreamer, who often thought about what people were doing in other countries, my parents’ neighbors and teachers taught me that simply dreaming wasn’t enough. Making dreams come to fruition requires true grit and determination.