Posts Tagged ‘minority business’

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Commerce Partnership to Benefit Minority-Owned Exporters

January 24, 2014

Antwaun Griffin is Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Field Operations with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Antwaun Griffin is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations within the International Trade Administration’s U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, helping oversee all aspects of the Department’s trade promotion and export assistance services.

Antwaun Griffin is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations within the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

This post originally appeared on the Minority Business Development Agency’s blog.

Did you know that according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, minority-owned firms are twice as likely to export as other U.S.-owned businesses? The data indicates that minority-owned firms are best positioned to succeed and expand in the growing global economy. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, exporting enables businesses to boost their bottom line while building their international competitiveness. For many U.S. firms, international diversification has enabled them to weather changes in the economy much better than if they had been selling only in their backyard.

That said, many more minority-owned firms could be exporting more. Many business owners that I meet don’t export, in part because they believe exporting is too burdensome, or they’re unaware of the various resources available to assist them. However, expanding your business through exporting is more viable today than ever before. If you have a good track record of selling in the United States, one of the most open and competitive markets in the world, you are likely a good candidate to make overseas sales.

In 2010, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI), aimed at expanding federal government-wide efforts to assist exporters while supporting millions of U.S. jobs.  These efforts have helped contribute to record U.S. exports culminating in an all-time high of $2.2 trillion in 2012. As a result of the NEI, more and more businesses are taking advantage of key export tools and resources to expand their global market share.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has made expanding exports, including for minority-owned businesses, a key part of the trade and investment priority in the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.” Specifically, the Agenda calls for Commerce to lead NEI 2.0 – the next phase of the successful National Export Initiative – to develop a long-term strategy for orienting more American businesses toward the global marketplace, set new export goals, and coordinate federal activities to support these goals.

A prime example of this effort is a strategic partnership between my agency, the International Trade Administration (ITA), and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). With a network of 40 MBDA Business Centers across the United States, MBDA has unique relationships and is well-positioned to support NEI 2.0. ITA’s worldwide network of international trade professionals offers a depth of technical expertise in more than 100 U.S. cities and over 70 countries worldwide. Under this active partnership, both agencies will look to complement and build on each other’s domestic and global relationships.

Together, the two agencies already counsel thousands of U.S. businesses each year, and through this partnership, businesses looking to identify new foreign markets or expand their exports will be better positioned to access the services of both agencies through cross referrals, enhanced sharing of information, and joint trade promotion efforts. For example, MBDA clients can gain exposure and greater insight early on about the benefits of developing an international business plan and information on various federal programs for exporting, such as ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service market research—valuable assets when it comes to long-term strategic planning. Many MBDA clients pursuing government contracts abroad might also be interested in learning more about U.S. Commercial Service Advocacy Center efforts, which last year helped facilitate billions of dollars in overseas opportunities for U.S. companies bidding on foreign government contracts. Likewise, U.S. Commercial Service minority business clients might benefit from MBDA’s broad technical assistance, export financing options, and an array of specialized services available to minority-owned business concerns.

So whether your business is a startup or more established, I encourage you to visit www.export.gov to learn more about our programs and people.

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Minority Businesses Export to Support Jobs in Long Island

June 25, 2012

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary for International Trade

Washington can be a sweltering place in the summer. And this year is no exception. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to escape the heat of Washington today for Long Island, New York. There, I joined forces with my friend and colleague Congressman Tim Bishop to help highlight the benefits of exports and the impact they have in strengthening the economy. 

Under Secretary Sanchez (center), Congressman Tim Bishop (right) and Shakir Farsakh, director of the Long Island Export Assistance Center (left) during a roundtable event highlighting minority-business exporting in Long Island, NY (Photo Commerce)

Under Secretary Sanchez (center), Congressman Tim Bishop (right) and Shakir Farsakh, director of the Long Island Export Assistance Center (left) during a roundtable event highlighting minority-business exporting in Long Island, NY (Photo Commerce)

We’ve always known exports to be among best ways to boost domestic economic output.  Just last year, the United States had a record-setting $2.1 trillion in exports which supported nearly 10 million American jobs.

Rather, the question has always been “how can we expand the message of exporting to more businesses?” 

This was the challenge laid forth by President Obama in 2010 when he announced the National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

Well, the data is in!  One of the great things about our country is our diversity. And according to the U.S.  Census Bureau, that same diversity is boosting our economy. A report released this month, using data from 2007, shows that exports by minority-owned American businesses make significant contributions to our economy.

Minority-owned exporting companies have always fascinated me. According to the report, “exports accounted for 14.4 percent of total receipts of minority-owned exporters compared with 5.4 percent of total receipts for nonminority owned exporters” in 2007. That’s nearly three times higher!  Couple this with the fact that “exports accounted for a larger percentage of the receipts of minority-owned exporters than nonminority-owned exporters” and you begin to understand the value of this demographic. 

And here at the Department of Commerce, we are doing everything in our power to continue this momentum, not just for minority-owned companies, but for all American businesses that wish to explore new markets abroad. And with 95% of the world’s potential customers living outside our borders, who can blame them? 

To many, New York City is a center for innovation and business, a commercial powerhouse with a tremendous diversity of strong businesses. However, many fail to realize the economic potential of its neighbor, the iconic Long Island. The commercial innovation and contributions of this area deserve more attention.

This was the purpose of my trip to Long Island – to let businesses there know we are here to support them and have resources on hand to help them succeed in the export business.

The Long Island office of the U.S.  Export Assistance Center has tracked nearly a million dollars in export sales alone as a result of their assistance. And I hope many more businesses will tap into our expertise.

Like New York City, Long Island is home to a population with diverse backgrounds, and its businesses are no different. Several hundred high-technology companies have their headquarters in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Even better, these are industries with high export potential. Sectors such as information technology, biotechnology, and avionics are pillars in the local economy, accounting for well more than half of all export sales from the region. These are just a few of the reasons I chose to come to Long Island.

My day there began with a roundtable for minority business leaders in Farmingville where the Congressman and I heard about some of the challenges facing the local business community. It’s heartening to hear directly from the hard-working and dedicated men and women. I was able to explain many of the resources the Department of Commerce has to offer. If you are interested, I urge you to visit the export.gov website to see everything we have to offer.

We followed the roundtable with a business forum, “Expanding Your Business Through Exporting.”  There, representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, and the local U.S.  Export Assistance Center joined us in our remarks.

Following the forum, we departed on a tour of local manufacturing company ENECON, an industry leader in the design, production, and export of advanced polymers. Manufacturing continues to be a bright spot in the nation’s economy; and exports of manufactured goods have increased 9.1 percent year-to-date through April. ENECON is a true paragon in this regard, successfully exporting their products to nations all around the world. 

In 2010, the New York-New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area was the largest export market in the United States, with merchandise shipments totaling $85.1 billion. The companies I met today represent important contributors to this accomplishment.

Minority-owned business and manufacturing are both close to my heart and it’s a personal goal of mine to ensure they have all the tools they need at their disposal.

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