This article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) celebrated its 50th anniversary.
When President Nixon signed the executive order creating MBDA, the nation’s minority population was less than 40 million. Nixon recognized that, although minority-owned businesses then were only 4 percent of America’s businesses, empowering the entrepreneurial spirit of minority men and women was vital for the future of the American economy.
Today, the minority population has more than tripled to 129 million, or 39 percent of the total United States population. Minorities own an estimated 29 percent of classifiable businesses, which are growing at twice the rate of non-minority businesses. They employ more than 6.3 million Americans and generate over $1 trillion in revenue.
We know that minority-owned businesses are an indispensable part of our nation’s economy, and we continue to affirm the vision of growth and prosperity that was set forth 50 years ago:
By encouraging minority-owned businesses to thrive and expand, we are strengthening our communities, our families and our spirit of innovation.
How do we continue to empower individuals, ensure small businesses are hiring and expanding and push medium-sized businesses to hit the million-dollar mark in revenue? How do we ensure the United States remains at the forefront of innovation and technology?
It starts with removing economic barriers, encouraging public- and private-sector collaboration and providing businesses with access to resources and capital.
The Trump administration has led the way in leveling the playing field for American businesses in international trade, and minority-owned businesses are uniquely positioned to expand their business operations through exports.
According to the Census Bureau, minority-owned firms are twice as likely to export; six times more likely to conduct business in a language other than English; and three times more likely to generate 100 percent of their revenues from exports compared to non-minority-owned firms.
New data from Census analyzed by The Business Journals shows that the number of Hispanic-, African-American- and Asian-owned businesses have increased significantly in the last decade, with Hispanic-owned businesses achieving the highest amount of growth at 46 percent.
To build on this success, in the last two fiscal years, MBDA helped facilitate almost $12 billion in contracts and financing to minority enterprises, helping create or retain over 35,000 jobs. In 2018, we awarded grants in high-impact areas where minorities need assistance the most — education, access to capital and technology.
Our initiatives include Global Minority Women’s Economic Empowerment, the Entrepreneurship Education Program for the Formerly Incarcerated and Technology Transfer and Commercialization, to name a few.
Morgan Stanley estimates the $400 billion commercial space sector will hit $1.1 trillion by 2040. We hope to hit this milestone even sooner by encouraging minority businesses to capitalize on this future forward industry.
Recently, MBDA awarded a grant to the United States Space Foundation to educate and inspire minority firms and to help facilitate partnerships in the field of space commercialization.
President Trump is unleashing America’s economic prowess. For the first time in more than a decade, GDP growth has reached 3 percent, and the United States unemployment rate has dropped to 4 percent.
Minority unemployment rates have hit an all-time low, wages are rising, and American families are seeing the direct results of deregulation and economic reform.
As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Opportunity Zones provide a tax incentive to invest in areas where the unemployment rate is about 1.6 points higher than average. Approximately 56 percent of Opportunity Zone residents are minorities.
Leveraging Opportunity Zone financing is a unique chance for minority businesses and communities to advance through new private-sector capital.
The Trump administration has created an economic climate that allows all Americans to prosper. A prime example is DAP Construction, a female-led, minority-owned firm that won the Minority Enterprise Development Week Construction Firm of the Year Award last fall.
With the help of MBDA, what started off as a residential property service company in 2009 doubled its revenue from $1.5 million in 2015 to $3.5 million in 2017.
For 50 years, MBDA has been at the forefront of promoting businesses like DAP Construction, in turn helping keep our Nation’s job creators economically competitive. More recently, this administration has proven that when we put American businesses first, all Americans flourish.
That work will never cease, and we look forward to the greatness minority businesses will achieve in the years to come.