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MBDA Business Center opens in Cleveland

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) officially launched the opening of its first Ohio office in downtown Cleveland, on Sept.  1, 2011.

MBDA National Director David Hinson, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown,  US Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, and Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson  presented $1.125 million grant  to Executive Director Carmen West. The Business Center opened in April at 1240 Huron Road in Playhouse Square.

“Cleveland is an excellent location for our newest business center,” said Hinson, who emphasized Cleveland strategic location is critical for export and an asset for international business ventures. “The more I read about Cleveland I am becoming a fan,” he said. Hinson said the Cleveland center was designed to create two million jobs.

He said the sister city partnerships Cleveland has within Latin America,  Asia, Middle East are also an asset to international business potential that is often overlooked. “If you have the drive to create jobs in Cleveland, we are here to support you,” he said.
 


Pictured above are Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, US Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, and Senator Sherrod Brown.


MBDA National Director David Hinson

West said MBDA is involved with every aspect of helping minority business from assessment of needs, procurement of public or private contracts, recruiting assistance, development serves, financing transactions, and more.  Eligible business must be owned or controlled by U.S. citizens, resident aliens, African-American, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Asian Indians, Hasidic Jews, Latino, or Native Americans.

Last year MBDA created more than 6,000 jobs nationwide generating $ 4 billion in contracts and Hinson hopes the Cleveland center will be a strong generator for the region.

Cleveland’s business center’s operating expense for the first year will be covered by a $225,000 federal grant with additional support from Greater Cleveland Partnership and its small business partner, Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE).

The center will focus on companies with a million dollar or more in annual revenues and serve as a complement to the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5 +, a Commission on Economic Inclusion initiative focuses on growing in size, scale and infrastructure of African-American, and Latino-owned business enterprises.

Mayor Jackson said the center will provide much needed support for minority owned business and help fuel the job growth in the city and national economy, “They [small business] hire locally and add to our tax base,” said Jackson.

Cleveland’s Business Center is a collaboration initiative operated by the Commission on Economic Inclusion, COSE, JumpStart, Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Team NEO, Northern Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, and WECO Fund, Inc.

Steve Millard, president of COSE, said the collaborative nature of MBDA is critical for a region that already has a lot of resources available that need to be brought together. Millard described MBDA Cleveland Business Center as a clearinghouse that will bring various fragments and resources together to connect and help the minority communities. “Small businesses are the backbone to our economy,” he said. 

Congresswoman Fudge said from a national perspective the collective buying power of African-American, Latino, Native American, and Asians is $1.4 trillion, and as the communities continue to grow in population their needs cannot be ignored.  “Much of our economic growth will come from immigrants and their children,” said Fudge. 

She told Hinson he would not be disappointed with potential performance of Cleveland’s center; “ We are onto something here in Cleveland.” 

White House Business Council conducted a roundtable discussion at the Cleveland center. Led by Hinson, Ohio minority business leaders were able to provide feedback to the Obama Administration can support their growth, create jobs and compete. 

José Feliciano, Chair of the Hispanic Roundtable, is hopeful MBDA will present some opportunities for Latino-owned businesses to expand.

 
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Copyright © 1989 to 2011 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/06/11 12:40:43 -0700.

 

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