Happy Minority Enterprise Development Week!

September 29, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

On Friday, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring Sept. 25 through Oct. 1 as Minority Enterprise Development Week. The Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency and the Small Business Administration are co-sponsoring a conference in Washington D.C. through tomorrow in honor of the week.

The Obama administration has repeatedly pointed to small businesses as crucial engines of growth for the country. The administration’s working definition of a “small” company is fairly broad; many local business owners live in a very different reality from firms with several hundred employees. But however you choose to define small companies or entrepreneurs, the push for more federal resources for the businesses they operate would be a welcome one in many towns and cities.

In his proclamation, Obama said, “our strength comes from individuals from all walks of life, and of every race and creed. Minority owned businesses are engines of job creation and backbones of communities across America from Main Street to Wall Street, and from country markets to Silicon Valley. They are on the cutting edge of development, and are strong competitors at home and abroad.”

Several important federal programs currently serve the types of businesses referenced by the president.

For example, MBDA operates programs for Minority Business Enterprise Centers, Native American Business Enterprise Centers, Minority Business Opportunity Centers and MBDA Business Centers. Those programs foster new minority-owned and Native American-owned business enterprises and provide support and business development services for existing enterprises.

In July, we added our analysis of those programs as part of a major update to our Guide to Federal Funding for Governments and Nonprofits. (Subscribers: it was part of our complete update of Tab B: Economic Development; check out page 103.)

The Commerce Department’s blog has a guest post authored by the agency’s Deputy Director of Minority Business Development Alejandra Castillo talking about what she does and why she does it. MBDA also has its own blog, if you’re interested in keeping up with the agency’s work.

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