U.S. Commerce Department awards 5-year grant to MBDA Business Center-Atlanta

Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson, left, and Donna Ennis, director of the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center-Atlanta.
Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, left, and Donna Ennis, director of the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center-Atlanta.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) named Georgia Tech Research Corp. as a grant recipient to continue to operate an MBDA Business Center in Atlanta.

The federal funding will be distributed during a five-year period that ends in 2021. The funding amount per year is $298,255 for a total of $1.49 million.

The grant program is designed to help minority-owned firms across the nation create jobs, develop their business, and compete in the global economy.

“We are extremely pleased and honored the U.S. Department of Commerce has renewed our funding for another five-year term,” said Donna Ennis, director of the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta. “Our team has been busy working with businesses across Georgia and the Southeast helping to build not only the strength of minority-owned businesses, but the state’s and region’s economy as a whole.”

A key component of MBDA’s Business Center Network is providing minority firms with access to technical expertise and resources to grow their businesses.

In the five-year period ending in 2015, MBDA Business Center-Atlanta helped 462 minority-owned businesses:

  • secure more than $577 million in contracts and procurement
  • access $177 million in capital
  • create or save 4,987 jobs

Ennis leads the MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Working Group, which is building a nationwide community of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) manufacturers through its national network of 44 MBDA Business Centers. As part of that initiative, she launched the Connecting Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP) focused on providing contracting opportunities; assistance with launching new technologies, and building a nationwide ecosystem of MBE manufacturers. That led to the National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016 at Georgia Tech this past March 24.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, minority-owned firms in the United States increased to 8 million in 2012 from 5.8 million in 2007. Those 8 million businesses employed 7.2 million Americans.

In Georgia, there are 371,588 minority-owned firms that contribute more than $38.4 billion annually in economic output. These firms employ more than 202,000 Georgians.

Since 2009, MBDA Business Centers have assisted minority firms with gaining access to more than $31 billion in capital and contracts, while creating and retaining nearly 142,000 jobs.

About the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta

Established in 2004 and part of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta is a member of the national network of the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency. The MBDA Business Center-Atlanta provides business and technical assistance to help emerging and existing minority business enterprises achieve significant growth and sustainability and create long-term economic impact through increased jobs and revenue.

Minority business enterprise manufacturers to meet in Atlanta March 24 for inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit

Alejandra Y. Castillo, national director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Commerce Department, is one of the featured keynote speakers at the National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016.

America’s manufacturing sector is undergoing rapid change and innovation, incorporating hi-tech advancements across all sectors of the industry.


What do these changes mean for minority-owned manufacturers? How are they meeting the demands and partnering with other manufacturers and customers to incorporate innovation into their operations?


Those factors and others comprise the central focus of the inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016 scheduled for March 24 in Atlanta. The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and its MBDA Business Center Network are hosting the Summit, which is sponsored in part by BMW, the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Grady Health System, Ingersoll Rand, and Novant Health. It will take place at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Global Learning Center.


“We are focused on ensuring that attendees maximize their day by meeting one-on-one with corporations and original equipment manufacturers seeking to do business with MBE manufacturers,” said Donna Ennis, MBDA Business Center-Atlanta’s director. “We’re bringing all of these parties together in this first-of-its-kind national forum to get those conversations started in a real, substantive way.”


The MBE manufacturing community is often overlooked by the broader manufacturing community and, in general, does not access the myriad national and local resources and expertise available to them, Ennis said. The Summit’s breakout sessions are designed to address that.


Among the key discussion topics and event highlights:

  • Business-to-business matchmaking and one-on-one fast pitching to multinational and major corporations.
  • A “Poster Walk” showcase of companies that will feature projects in the areas of innovation, productivity, and sustainability.
  • Manufacturing trends in health care and cybersecurity.
  • Access to technology transfer opportunities and information.
  • Opportunities in the global marketplace.
  • Procurement and supplier diversity trends.


“This is an excellent opportunity for our MBE Manufacturers to collectively dialogue and share information that will support their success now and in the future,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA’s national director and one of the Summit’s featured speakers. “We hope everyone will join us in Atlanta.”


Other featured speakers at the Summit include:

  • G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Georgia Tech president.
  • Derreck Kayongo, co-founder of the Global Soap Project and CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.


To register for the Summit and for more information, please visit www.mbemanufacturersummit.org.


About the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta:

As part of a national network of 44 centers, the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta helps MBEs access capital, increase profitability, create jobs, and become sustainable. It is part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. For more information, please visit mbdabusinesscenter-atlanta.org.