Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced Business Impact NW was awarded a federal grant totaling $1.6 million over the next four years to establish the Oregon Minority Business Development Agency Business Center (OBC).
This award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is intended to support the establishment of the OBC and its integration into the network of MBDA Business Centers and partners around the country. Once established, the OBC will provide business development, capacity building, access to capital, and navigation support to minority-owned businesses in Oregon.
“Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, and the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Oregon,” said Merkley. “All of our small businesses and small business owners deserve the chance to succeed, and this center will be a powerful resource for BIPOC-owned businesses to establish connections, build a community, and access the resources they need to grow.”
“Access to capital should be equal to all small businesses without unfair barriers for BIPOC entrepreneurs in Oregon and nationwide,” said Wyden, who’s also co-sponsoring legislation to strengthen the MBDA nationwide. “This federal investment in a minority business development agency for our state will help Oregonians of color to start new small businesses and grow their existing enterprises to generate jobs and fair opportunities for all.”
MBDA business centers provide counseling and mentoring to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), assist MBEs to access capital, facilitate growth and promote trade, and support MBEs to create and retain jobs. The services provided by OBC will include individual business coaching, contracting and certification assistance, industry-specific business accelerator programs, access to capital, connection to procurement and marketplace opportunities, and referral to additional service partners.
“The Oregon MBDA Business Center will be a catalyst for BIPOC-owned businesses to make connections and achieve their goals,” said Business Impact NW CEO, Joe Sky-Tucker. “We appreciate the support of the Minority Business Development Agency and are gratified to have been chosen to deliver these services to Oregon.”
“To give Oregon’s minority-owned businesses the access they need to succeed, we need to meet people where they are,” said Don Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development. “The greatest obstacle facing minority-owned businesses is access: access to capital, access to contracts, and access to markets. Expanding MBDA’s national network of business centers is critical to breaking down those barriers. The Seattle Economic Development Fund understands the unique challenges Northwest businesses and entrepreneurs of color face. We are ecstatic they will be operating the state’s first MBDA business center, not only to strengthen Oregon businesses, but to further MBDA’s evolution as a leader for America’s 9.7 million minority-owned businesses. We are proud Oregon will now have an MBDA business center to call their own.”