Friday, September 20, 2013
Kevin R. Harris
Grant from U.S. Department of Commerce will allow Baltimore to operate a Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center for minority-owned firms and businesses.
BALTIMORE, Md. (September 19, 2013)—Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recently announced that Baltimore will receive a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to operate a business center that will facilitate collaborative efforts among minority-owned firms and Fortune 500 companies across the nation.
The award was included in a $7.3 million grant competition designed to boost job creation and the global competitiveness of minority-owned businesses nationwide. The grant recipients will establish MBDA Business Centers in Baltimore; Bridgeport, CT; Houston, TX; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; St. Louis, MO; and Washington, DC. These centers will join a network of over 40 MBDA Business Centers throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
“The City of Baltimore is committed to the success of all minority-owned firms who are at the forefront of helping to create jobs and grow our economy,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “The MBDA Center and its activities are a critical component of my administration’s overall supplier diversity and inclusion strategy. This grant will assist us in addressing the gap that exists with an under-representation of MBE firms in the overall mainstream business marketplace.”
The City of Baltimore will receive the grant to operate the MBDA Business Center in $300,000 increments over three years. The Business Center may serve minority businesses in all 50 states and Puerto Rico in addition to those in Maryland. There are 43 MBDA centers in the United States.
“We are excited about having an MBDA Business Center in Baltimore. It is in keeping with recommendations from the Mayor’s Advisory Council,” said Sharon Pinder, director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development. “When it is opened, the center will facilitate access to contracts, capital, and new international market opportunities to eligible minority-owned businesses. It allows us to broaden our access to resources from both a national and global perspective.”
Pinder will oversee the grant and a Board of Advisors made up of area business leaders will provide their expertise to the center. A search is underway for an executive director and staff for the center, which will be co-located with the Small Business Resource Center at 1101 E. 33rd Street at the Johns Hopkins at Eastern building.
Baltimore is the only city government that received the grant. It is anticipated that the Center will begin operation in about 60 – 90 days. Baltimore’s MBDA Business Center will provide services aimed at increasing the probability of significant growth for minority-owned firms. The center’s team will work collaboratively to improve access to market and financial opportunities (domestic and global), foster key industry relationships, and leverage business expertise.
Next week, Mayor Rawlings-Blake will announce the members of the Mayor’s Coalition on Supplier Diversity and Inclusion.
October 28 – November 1 is the mayor’s first Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Week in Baltimore.