Utilizing Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Data to Foster Prosperity Among Minority Businesses

Sep162016

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Chief Data Officer Ian Kalin Joins MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo in Discussing the Power of Data to Minority Businesses
Chief Data Officer Ian Kalin Joins MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo in Discussing the Power of Data to Minority Businesses

Guest blog post by Patricia Tomczyszyn and Dijon Rolle , MBDA's Office of Public Affairs

Shortly after her appointment as U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker spotlighted the importance of providing data to the public by making it one of the five pillars of the Department’s strategic plan. This was followed by the hiring the Department of Commerce’s first Chief Data Officer and the launch of the Commerce Data Service. These actions bolstered the Department’s position as “American’s Data Agency,” by enabling it to increase and improve access to the wealth of data the department produces daily.

So what exactly does that mean for the Minority Business Development Agency? MBDA’s mission since 1969 has been to “to promote the growth of minority-owned business through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research.”  Some 47 years later, we remain positioned to support and advocate for the more than 8 million minority firms across the nation. We’re able to do a large part of this through the use of data.

Data is a vital component for the agency and its operations, particularly The U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners and the recently released Inaugural Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs. The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs was produced through a public-private partnership between the Census Bureau, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and MBDA.

We’re excited to help provide this vital information to business leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers and supporters of the minority business community.

MBDA relies on this type of data to identify where minority businesses are concentrated, specific industry trends and the type of jobs being created by minority firms. In turn, this information helps our agency determine how to best use its resources to grow Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).

To increase our ability to harness the full array of data on minority businesses, two of our MBDA staff members, Patricia Tomczyszyn, Office of Public Affairs and Jennifer Rimbach, Office of Business Development, participated in the inaugural Commerce Data Academy, part of the Commerce Data Service.  The Data Service is a public start-up within the Office of the Secretary of Commerce that assists all of the 12 Bureaus in developing projects to advance the Department's data strategy. During their training, they focused on research journalism and MBE startup funding, and worked closely with data scientists, web designers, and visualization specialists to extract, analyze, and publish information about our nation’s minority-owned firms. They also learned how to analyze large data sets, code using the Python and R program languages, and work with data visualizations. 

 World economies are now moving at the speed of light, and being driven increasingly by innovation, data, emerging technologies, and intellectual property.  The Department of Commerce is helping to ensure that the public has full and equal access to its vast data and analytics capacity. This access is helping MBEs unlock greater economic opportunities … now and in the future. For more information about MBDA, visit MBDA.gov.   

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Last updated: 2017-01-24 16:46

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