WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski along with Representatives Elijah Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes (all D-Md.) today announced that the City of Baltimore has been awarded a $900,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The federal funding will be used to establish a MBDA Business Center in Baltimore that will create and retain jobs by providing sophisticated consulting services and facilitating access to contracts, capital, and new international market opportunities to eligible minority owned businesses. MBDA is funded under the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriation Subcommittee, which Senator Mikulski chairs.
“Minority owned businesses still face discrimination in the small business credit market, and still have trouble getting their fair share of government contracts,” said Sen. Cardin, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. “Today’s grant to Baltimore City will help close the wealth gap which prevents minority businesses from creating jobs and strengthening their communities.”
“Minority-owned businesses create jobs, grow our economy, and are important to the communities they serve,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. “This MBDA Business Center will give minority-owned businesses in Baltimore and throughout the country access to the capital they need to create jobs today and jobs tomorrow. That’s why I fight every day as Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure that programs like the MBDA Business Centers continue to receive federal funding.”
“About 15 percent of Maryland businesses are minority-owned, yet they often struggle to compete with larger corporations when it comes to securing contacts and capital,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said. “This is a common sense investment that will open new opportunities for minority-owned businesses to create and retain the good-paying jobs that are supporting Maryland families during these tough times.”
“The Minority Business Development Agency helps provides opportunities for underserved communities to jump-start investment in their neighborhoods,” Congressman Cummings said. “I’m thrilled to see this MBDA Business Center come to Baltimore to better serve minority-owned businesses in my district and around the state of Maryland. I’m confident that this Center will provide essential services to help these businesses obtain capital, take advantage of new opportunities, and create jobs. I encourage minority-owned businesses to visit the Center as soon as it is open.”
“As Maryland’s economy continues to recover, we must focus on investments that connect minority businesses with growth opportunities that will create jobs and put people back to work,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “A new MBDA Business Center in Baltimore means that underserved populations will have a place to turn when they need economic resources and guidance.”
“This is great news for Baltimore’s minority owned businesses, who are at the forefront of helping to create jobs and grow our economy,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. These funds are a critical component of my Administration’s overall inclusion strategy, that will make Baltimore more globally competitive. Without minority businesses, Baltimore’s economy as well as any other urban economy would not be able to thrive which is why the resources this center will provide are so critically important.”
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. This expanded reach is designed to facilitate collaborative efforts among minority-owned firms and Fortune 500 companies regardless of location. There are 43 MBDA centers in the United States.
MBDA is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the full participation and entrepreneurship of minority business enterprises in the United States. Through the work of the MBDA Business Centers, the Agency has helped firms access nearly $15 billion in contracts and capital, resulting in the creation and retention of nearly 40,000 jobs nationwide between 2009 and 2012. For more information, visit http://www.mbda.gov/main/who-mbda/about-minority-business-development-agency.