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Remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Asian Pacific American Caucus with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)


Hello everyone!

It’s great to be here with you all at the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Thank you, Judy, for the kind introduction and for your remarkable leadership.  

Today I’d like to introduce you to our new MBDA political leadership and share what we’re doing at the Department of Commerce to advocate for minority businesses.

Since May, we’ve been proud to have Miguel Estien serve as the National Director of the MBDA – I assure you, you’re in great hands with him at the helm.

I also want to thank you all for your leadership in Congress and support for MBDA.

To date, there are more than 9 million minority-owned firms that employ nearly half of the private sector workforce and contribute $1.7 trillion to the economy.

President Biden has made clear that our Administration is committed to not just rebuilding to how things were before COVID-19, but to building back better and more equitably.

That means doing everything we can to help you and your businesses succeed – because we recognize that America’s road to recovery runs through our minority business community.

When President Biden came into office, our country was facing a series of crises: the COVID crisis, economic crisis, climate crisis, and an equity crisis.

And people of color, women, and underserved communities have been disproportionately impacted by all of them.

I want you to know that the Department of Commerce has their back.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, if passed, would make MBDA a permanent part of the federal government.

That would be a crucial development, because it means we’d have more resources to support our minority-owned businesses.

It would allow MBDA to expand its geographic reach through regional MBDA offices and rural business centers.

Last year alone, MBDA helped minority-owned firms secure more than $7.8 billion in capital and contract deals. 

That meant more business growth, more job creation, and a huge boost to local economies.

We’re making progress.

But we still have work to do. And we all know government can’t do it alone.

We need strong partnerships with minority businesses to get the job done.

They are the engines that drive America’s economic growth and job creation.

They are at the heart of what our country needs to recover from this pandemic and Build Back Better.

So please stay in touch with us at the Commerce Department, we want to hear from you as we engage your constituents.

With that, I’ll turn it back over to Judy for Q&A.