Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Administration’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses has been awarded a 5-year grant in the amount of $385,000 from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to establish and operate the N.C. MBDA Business Center. The program will aid in the growth of North Carolina’s minority business enterprise (MBE) firms in the areas of business development and capacity building.
“Diverse businesses are critical to the success of our state’s communities and economy,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “This Center will help historically underutilized businesses grow and create more jobs as North Carolina emerges from this pandemic stronger than ever.”
With the awarded funding, North Carolina will join 21 states and territories offering MBDA business and specialty center programs across the country.
“This grant could not have come at a better time as it will provide much needed support to minority-owned businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said N.C. Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “Minority-owned businesses are significant to our state’s economy and the MBDA Business Center will be essential in nurturing minority business enterprise firms, providing opportunities and resources to assist in the post-pandemic world.”
In 2018, prior to the pandemic, there were more than 100,000 minority-owned businesses in North Carolina that realized more than $16.1 billion in annual sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To aid in post-pandemic recovery, MBDA business centers provide minority-owned firms a platform to reach global and domestic markets, enhance growth, gain access to capital, discover contract opportunities and identify strategic partners.
The N.C. Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) is delighted that North Carolina will be among the growing list of MBDA-based centers across the country. Currently, there are a combined total of 36 MBDA business and specialty centers located across the United States. The mission of the HUB Office is to promote the economic opportunities for historically underutilized businesses in state government contracting and procurement that fosters their growth and profitability.
“I am excited and honored that the N.C. Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses has been awarded this significant grant to expand on our support of minority business owners who are crucial to our economic recovery post pandemic,” said NC HUB Director Tammie Hall. “The recovery of MBE firms will be a marathon and not a sprint, which is why this funding over the next five years will be vital.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises.
To learn more about the NC HUB Office and MBDA grant, visit their website for more information.