Minority Business Enterprise Conference (Video)

The Minority Business Enterprise University Conference was held in Silver Spring on June 27. The keynote speaker was David Henson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. Held at the Silver Spring Civic Building, the theme of this year’s conference was Pathways to Procurement.

The conference provides a gathering place for all stakeholders who support diversity and was created by the O’Malley-Brown Administration in 2009 to provide a platform for creating connections that expand opportunities for small, minority- and women-owned businesses. This unique forum combines networking and professional development opportunities with educational programs focused on public and private sector procurement strategies. The conference has been hosted at locations across Maryland and drawn over 2,000 participants to date.

The 2013 MBE University is supported by the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA), in collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development (DED). DED representatives hosted an exhibit booth at the conference to promote the County’s efforts to make the process of doing business with and in the County less burdensome and noticeably more business friendly. These efforts include:

• expansion of the County’s minority business certification to include the Maryland/DC Minority Supplier Development Council;

• $50 million deposited by the County in several local banks that, in turn, will augment those funds to provide loans to local businesses;

• the ongoing success of the County’s Business Innovation Network, made up of five facilities housing 160 companies and supporting 850 jobs;

• an active Small Business Revolving Loan Fund – which has given almost $465,000 in loans to 10 companies between FY09 and FY13;

• a very successful Business Mentorship Program, with more than 60 percent MBE participation; and

• a new Small Business Navigator position in DED to help local businesses better navigate the County’s procurement process.

More than 300 MBE business owners and representatives from across the state and region attended the 2013 MBE University Conference.

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