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Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the 2022 National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference

Thank you, Under Secretary Cravins, for that introduction. I’m thrilled to welcome you all to the Minority Business Development Agency’s National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference.

As a descendant of one of America’s first Black patent-holders, I know firsthand how important it is to support minority entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesses.

America has nearly 10 million minority business enterprises that provide more than 8 million jobs and infuse nearly $2 trillion into the economy every year. Closing the opportunity gap between minority-owned and non-minority-owned businesses could add more than $6 trillion to the economy.

This conference is an opportunity to hear directly from minority entrepreneurs, business owners, and stakeholders about what they need to grow and improve their business.

The theme for this year’s MED Week – Power in CAPITAL. Strength in EQUITY – aligns with our work at the Commerce Department and the entire Biden Administration to build a more inclusive economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out. We have an impressive lineup of sessions and programming for you that will give you a forum to make new connections and hear fresh perspectives.

This is our first in-person MED Week in two years, and in that time, MBDA has been hard at work. We recently announced that MBDA is teaming up with the Treasury Department to deploy $100 million of the State Small Business Credit Initiative Technical Assistance funding to help ensure that more businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals have the tools they need to succeed.

Through its grant-making, MBDA also funded $35 million in services that helped minority business owners apply for federal resources and navigate the changing economy in the wake of the pandemic.

As the only federal agency tasked with promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses, it is important to note that this is also the first MED Week since MBDA became a permanent part of the federal government as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. With this change, MBDA is enhancing its work to support minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

We’re thrilled that Don has joined the Commerce Department as the first ever Under Secretary for Minority Business Development.

So, thank you again for joining us for MED Week 2022. I hope you’ll take advantage of all this week has to offer. Together, we’re supporting economic equity for minority businesses and communities and securing a prosperous and competitive future for all Americans.