Brown addresses state of minority business enterprises in Maryland
BEL AIR, Md. (May 23, 2011) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown hosted the MBE University Conference today at Harford Community College in Bel Air to support Maryland’s minority and women-owned businesses and to highlight the State’s progress with minority business enterprises. This is the seventh in a series of conferences that has traveled around the State offering training, opportunities and information on the tools necessary for minority and women-owned businesses to expand, create jobs, and thrive even in difficult economic times.
Today’s conference in Bel Air focused on emerging markets and positioning small and minority businesses with public/private sector opportunities, attracting nearly 200 interested attendees to the event. Harford Community College President, Dr. Dennis Golladay, Andrew Bertamini, President, Wachovia Bank, JoAnn Lingner, Vice President-Supply Chain, BGE, Karen Campbell, Vice President for External Affairs, Verizon, and Denise Caranaggio, Deputy Director, Harford County Office of Economic Development also attended the event.
“By investing in Maryland’s small and minority-owned businesses, we are not only supporting our working families and expanding job opportunities, but we are building a stronger future with a diverse economy,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Governor O’Malley and I are dedicated to strengthening our workforce and providing Marylanders with the vital information and resources they need to successfully open new doors in their communities and continue to thrive for years to come.”
“As we seek to turn the corner from recession to prosperity, our mission is simple: to create jobs, to save jobs, to improve the conditions that empower businesses to create and save jobs,” said Governor O’Malley. “In your state government we have the most ambitious goal for Minority Business Enterprise in the United States of America. MBE University is designed to help us exceed them, together.”
At the conference, participants attended workshops that provided information on the new legislative changes to the MBE Program, procurement opportunities with State and local governments, small business healthcare tax credits, access to capital, MBE certification process, BRAC and emerging markets opportunities. MBE University sponsors and partners included Harford Community College, Harford County Office of Economic Development, Wachovia Bank, Verizon, and BGE all of whom showcased their products and services. BGE and Verizon hosted workshops on how to do business with their respective organizations, and Wachovia hosted a workshop on banking services for small and minority businesses.
“Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland continues to be a leader in minority business enterprise,” said Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Special Secretary Luwanda Jenkins. “MBE University is a more focused outreach effort designed to connect Maryland’s minority and women-owned firms with vital opportunities and resources.”
Maryland has an aggressive and progressive MBE Program and has established the highest minority and women-owned business contracting goals in the nation at 25 percent. In addition, Maryland is one of only 15 states in the nation with MBE goals and one of only a few states with a MBE law in statute. Maryland remains the only state in the nation to collect uniform reporting data including actual payments to MBEs.
In Fiscal Year 2010, Maryland state agencies achieved 23.2 percent MBE participation - the highest level ever attained during the history of the program. These include $1.4 billion in awards to MBE firms, and $1.1 billion in payments to MBE firms. Over the past four years, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has increased awards to MBEs by 27 percent and increased payments by 48 percent.
MBE University was created in collaboration with the State’s minority business coordinating agencies and the Governor’s Office. The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) is the lead agency for this effort. The 2011 conference tour also includes Prince George’s County on October 3, 2011.
For more information on the MBE University initiative, contact the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs at 410-767-8232 or visit www.mdminoritybusiness.com.