Minority small business

It’s a new year, and with it comes new challenges and opportunities. For minority and female entrepreneurs, now is a great time to look into organizations that can help push them to the next level in their career. Here’s a look at several groups that are specifically geared toward boosting these small business owners.

Minority Business Development Agency

Established: 1969

Description: As part of the Department of Commerce, the MBDA supports “job growth and economic expansion through a network of MBDA business centers, collaboration with federal, state and local government agencies, and strategic partnerships.”

Reach: The MBDA has more than 40 business centers, according to its website, “located in areas with the largest concentration of minority populations and the largest number of minority businesses. The centers are staffed by business specialists who have the knowledge and practical experience needed to run successful and profitable businesses.”

Mission: As MDBA.gov states, “Stimulating minority entrepreneurship and business ownership is in the strategic interest of the United States, particularly during economically challenging times. Evidence abounds that investments in minority business entrepreneurs can produce measurable results. We are committed to ensuring that the U.S. minority business enterprise community will be the source of our economic recovery efforts and a competitive advantage in the 21st century worldwide economy.”

U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Established: 1979

Description: According to its website, the USHCC “works tirelessly on behalf of our nation’s Hispanic businessmen and women, that together play a critical role in broadening the prosperity of our country. While the USHCC advocates for business owners who happen to be of Hispanic descent, we are first and foremost American businesses; every tax bill we pay, every job we create, every product we manufacture and every service we provide goes to benefit the American economy.”

Reach: According to USHCC.com, the chamber “advocates on behalf of nearly 4.1 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that together contribute in excess of $661 billion to the American economy, each year. As the leading organization of its kind, the USHCC serves as an umbrella to more than 200 local chambers and business associations across the nation, and partners with more than 250 major corporations.”

Mission: The USHCC describes several ways it aims to assist the development of Hispanic businesses, including:

  • “Increase access to strategic business networks and partnerships between major U.S. companies and Hispanic-owned businesses.”
  • “Promote international trade between Hispanic businesses in the U.S. and Latin America.”
  • “Influence legislation, policies and programs that affect the Hispanic business community.”
  • “Provide technical assistance to Hispanic business associations and entrepreneurs.”

U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce

Established: 1984

Description: According to its website, the USPAACC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that “educates, trains, develops and advocates for equal opportunity for Asian American businesses, professional, and business organizations in the corporate and government procurement market; and promotes business between Asian Americans and their business partners in corporations, government agencies, and in the small and minority business community.”

Reach: The chamber’s headquarters are in Washington, D.C., with chapters in Texas, New York, California, Georgia and Illinois.

Mission: As stated on USPAACC.com, it is “to be the gateway to corporate and government contracts, Asian American (includes East, South and Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander) suppliers, information about Asian Americans and the Asia and Indian Subcontinent markets.” The organization “pledges to continue to be the single unified voice for equal opportunity for Asian American businesses and to collaborate with other large, medium and small businesses for mutually beneficial growth in the domestic and global economy.”

U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Established: 2001

Description: According to its website, the Women’s Chamber “gives voice to the collective strength of women in the U.S. economy. Using a platform of influence, innovation and opportunity, we work with and for our members to grow successful businesses and careers.”

Reach: The chamber has more than 500,000 members, and its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

Mission: “The Women’s Chamber helps women start and build successful businesses and careers, gain access to government contracts, grow as leaders and prepare for a secure retirement,” according to USWCC.org. The chamber works “to advance government policies that underpin women’s economic priorities — a positive economic environment with policies, budgets and leadership that support women as students, workers, mothers, breadwinners, caregivers, business owners, retirees and policy leaders.”

National Black Chamber of Commerce

Established: 1983

Description: “The NBCC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of African American communities,” according to its website.

Reach: There are 140 chapters in the United States, along with several international affiliates, reaching 100,000 minority-owned businesses. “In essence, the NBCC is a 501(c)3 corporation that is on the leading edge of educating and training black communities on the need to participate vigorously in this great capitalistic society known as America.”

Mission: NBCC’s site describes their organization as an answer to the void within many black communities. “There was no voice representing the specific needs or addressing the specific issues of the African American entrepreneur. There was no entity encouraging straight up interaction and trade in the Black Diaspora. Since the founding of the NBCC there has been over $4 billion in contracts let to black businesses because of the efforts of the NBCC. Legislation, policy, corporate commitment and total advocacy on behalf of black business are now in place. The amount of small business loans given to black entrepreneurs on an annual basis has tripled.”

The Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Established: 1979

Description: This office, as part of the Small Business Administration, “has fostered the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically under-served or excluded,” according to its website. “OWBO reaches out to women entrepreneurs through a number of programs that are coordinated through every SBA district office. OWBO’s programs provide business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities, including federal contracts.”

Reach: The office has Women’s Business Centers in most states, according to the site. “These centers, along with SBA district offices and other SBA resource partners at thousands of locations nationwide help women entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses.”

Mission: According to SBA.gov, the office’s mission is “to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs, especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged, are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses.”