The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has been made permanent, and will be expanded and elevated with the passage of the Minority Business Development Act of 2021. This historic legislation allows the agency to increase their programs and outreach to the nation’s more than 9 million minority-owned businesses.
Embedded within the City of Tacoma’s Community and Economic Development Department since September 2016, the MBDA Washington Business Center has served more than 580 established minority business enterprises owned by the following individuals or groups in the Pacific Northwest region: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Native Americans, Asian Indian Americans and Hasidic Jewish Americans.
“We are tremendously encouraged by President Joe Biden’s commitment to helping minority business enterprises in the Pacific Northwest, and across the nation, recover from the current pandemic,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Making the MBDA permanent with the passage of this historic legislation heralds the beginning of a transformative new era, one where minority business enterprises can grow and thrive well into the future.”
“The MBDA Washington Business Center is pleased with this vote of confidence in the critical work that we do to help minority business enterprises access capital, contracts and business ecosystems,” said MBDA Washington Business Center Director Linda Womack. “We are at an important juncture, and this legislation is vital to our future success.”
The Minority Business Development Act of 2021 expands the geographic reach of the MBDA by authorizing the creation of additional regional MBDA offices, rural business centers, and increasing the number and scope of existing programs. It also:
• Creates a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development to lead the agency
• Increases the MBDA’s grant-making capacity to partner with community and national non-profits engaged in private and public sector development as well as research
• Mandates the creation of the Parren J. Mitchel Entrepreneurship Education Grants Program to cultivate the next generation of minority entrepreneurs on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the nation
• Creates a council to advise the Under Secretary on supporting minority business enterprises
149 Authorizes the Under Secretary to coordinate federal minority business enterprise programs