Posted at 1:28 PM
Last week at Hannover Messe, the largest industrial trade fair in the world, we see abundant evidence that global business is booming. The fair features more than 6,500 exhibitors, and draws 250,000 visitors to explore innovations in energy, digital factory, industrial automation, industrial supply, and research and technology from leading companies. For the first time since the fair’s founding in 1947, the United States was the official partner country.
The massive gathering also provided the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency an ideal platform for a dynamic exchange of ideas on changing demographics and entrepreneurship. On April 27th, a U.S. – German policy roundtable titled Changing Demographics: Fostering Inclusive Entrepreneurship was led by U.S. Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews, Member of German Budnestag Dieter Janecek, and MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo. The discussion explored issues that directly impact diverse small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and available services to support their growth and global competitiveness.
Attendees included members of the MBDA delegation of business owners and national stakeholders, economics experts from leading German universities, U.S. and German policy makers and Europe’s ethnically diverse SMEs.
"The policy roundtable helped us better understand the policies needed to support minority business development,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA National Director. “Government can promote economic growth by leveraging changing demographics and fostering inclusive entrepreneurship.”
The roundtable spurred lively conversations about the best practices to confront economic inequalities in ethnically diverse communities, immigrant, refugee and migrant populations through entrepreneurship. MBDA delegates, Tony Jimenez, President and CEO of MicroTech and Matthew Lee, President and CEO of FASTech shared their path to success and the resources that helped them take their businesses to the next level.
Other participants included CEO and Founder of Rock It Biz, Martina Neef; Research Consultant for Network IQ, Liam Paluzzi; the Head of the Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography at University of Hanover, Dr. Rolf Sternberg; Director of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of Berlin Center, Heino von Meyer; and Chairman and CEO of Association for Migrant Economy, Ferry Pausch.
MBDA’s work to engage minority-owned firms is a business imperative for today’s global economy and this conversation emphasized the importance of encouraging the full participation of all its citizenry in the economic landscape.