MBDA Summit: Advocacy

mbesummit1On July 6th and 7th, MBDA hosted a meeting of leaders in the minority business community, including program directors and advocates, to review and benchmark progress regarding the state of minority businesses.  The goal of the meeting was to establish a blueprint for minority business development programs that can be implemented by the public and private sectors in the future.

From the meeting, common themes emerged from the conversations.  MBDA is opening the discussion to include a variety of stakeholders in minority business success- we welcome your comments and suggestions.

The question that was asked is this:

What advocay activities and actions do you recommend can be encouraged or taken to promote the economic development and growth of MBEs?

The common themes include the following:

  • All of the minority chambers and like-minded groups need to advocate in one single voice.
  • The minority chambers and like-minded groups should think about forming a coalition for better unity and strength in numbers.
  • Either or both organizations need to be legally allowed to lobby.
  • MBDA should play an active role in a new combined chamber organization or coalition.
  • The minority business community needs to be trained and educated in advocacy at the federal, state and local level.
  • The minority business community needs to be aware of how and when federal, state and local laws are enacted so that they can effectively impact legislation that affects their daily lives.
  • Minority business leaders need to connect and meet with lawmakers so they know and understand their issues.
  • Minority businesses need strong and frequent economic data to make the business case and back up the advocacy efforts
  • MBDA needs to publicize each of their success stories so lawmakers understand the positive impact in their community.
  • The private sector needs to be an equal partner in advocacy. They need to tell other companies the benefits of working with minority business.
  • MBDA needs the power to enforce the current minority business goals.
  • MBDA funded centers need more resources dedicated to outreach and advocacy.

We would appreciate your comments and suggestions on the topic, to see participants specific comments per topic, please click here.

**This post contains the comments provided by participants at the Minority Business Development Agency Summit held on July 6 – 7, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.  Participants provided input on strategy, enforcement mechanisms, and legislation that may assist minority entrepreneurs in the future.  Note-takers memorialized the comments made at each of the tables.  These materials are being provided in raw data format and are for informational purposes only.  The views expressed herein are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect those of MBDA or of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


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9 responses to “MBDA Summit: Advocacy

  1. Congratulations to the MBDA on the take-a ways of your Summit.

    My suggestion: the MBDA should develop a set of metrics, with prioritization, to correlate with each of the below themes and an “official” periodic reporting schema to communicate progress, or the lack thereof.

    The consensus pushback on government advocacy is the lack of feedback loops and accountability on stated goals and missions. Metrics to match the themes would go a long way to “walk-back” this position. Also, prioritization is necessary to insure that you don’t “boil the ocean” and insure some level of success to gain momentum and increase your “believability” quotient with Minority Business owners.

    That’s my 15 cents.

    Again, congratulations MBDA.

    – Rudy Sutherland
    8(a) Serial Entrepreneur & Small Business Evangelist

  2. Like every other industry in this terrible economy the more stats we can keep to track effectiveness, the better we’re going to be.

    Thanks

  3. On a Federal Level:
    Each federal agency operating a government minority contracting program should be responsible for ensuring it has a substantial record of evidence (i.e. predicate) supporting its program. Each agency needs to work with Congress, DoJ, civil rights organizations, and minority business organizations to make this happen. It is certainly a coalition effort but the initiation and management of building the predicate must come from within the federal government. Once a substantial record of evidence has been established (through both statistical evidence and testimonials), it must be updated every 3-5 years.

    On a State/Local Level:
    Federal agency reps in each state/locality need to work with SBA, DoJ, civil rights organizations and minority business organizations to collect stories of business discrimination. They should lead a grassroots outreach to local minority business owners about the importance of sharing stories of discrimination, i.e. these stories are necessary to preserving MBE programs. Civil rights organizations and DoJ can help train the federal agency reps on how to have these conversations.

    In Partnership with Private Sector:
    Each federal agency operating an MBE program must hold its large prime contractors accountable through regular, measured reporting systems. Prime contractors need to know that their outreach efforts to MBEs must be genuine and substantial.

  4. MBDA deserves great credit for hosting such a much needed event. MBDA should bring together these same groups, on an annual basis, to provide updates and refinements of accoplishments and unfinished business.

    In regards to the summit itself, it is imperative that MBDA consider three actions:
    1. At MEDWEEK provide specific list of proposed actions to ensure minoirty business participation in the stimulus plans. This may require ongoing and proactive connecting with orgainzations and individuals who can monitor state and local outreach and utilization of minority business in the recovery. This should also mean an aggressive game plan and please for God’s sake increase your communications and cooperation with minoirtybusiness organizations.
    2. Create or develop a strong provess for informing minority businesses of policy and program issues of importance to them which would also encourage great loyalty and support from the minority business community.
    3. Focus on the future and develop an aggresive plan for preparing MBEs for the changing economy, global opportunities and a better understanding of the Politics of Business. This is critical if we are to have a positive and sucessful outcome going forward.

    I have more to say but this is sufficient at this point in time.

  5. Please excuse my typos but I did not notice before i sent and i needed to get something in for your consideration.

  6. this is great news! congrats for MBDA for hosting this such a big event. this would be very helpful to strengthen again the US economy…

  7. Thanks for putting the effort into this – my daughter and I came across your site doing research for her school paper.

    Soon her class (well, teacher at least) will know all about the MBDA.

    Adam

  8. Most minoirty business will not be able to participate in the stimulus plan. The US economy is slow at the current time, but Minority Business owners can create their own stimulus plan by thinking out of the box.

    The standard way of driving customers to a business is costly and if your business income is reduced in this terrible economy, find a cheaper, faster, and more effective way to drive customers to your business.

    Most local small business owners believe that using the internet will not work for them. This could not be further from the truth. Years ago, if someone wanted to find anything they went to the Yellow Pages. Today they go to the internet.

    Whether you own a cleaners, car lot, or hardware store a strong internet presence will tell people who you are, where you are, and what you have to offer them.

    Check your GPS. Most of the listing in your device were taken from internet information.

    Building a strong internet presence takes about 120 days. At that point, you will see an increase in customers contacting you.

    Create your own stimulus plan, do not wait for the government to bail you out because in most cases it will not happen.

  9. This is great that MBDA is hosting this! I am hoping the US economy will be back in full force soon!

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