The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is Permanently Authorized in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is made permanent and will be expanded and elevated with the passage of this historic legislation. This action allows the agency to increase their programs and outreach to the Nation’s more than 9 million minority-owned businesses.

“President Biden has made clear his commitment to not just rebuilding to how things were before COVID-19, but to building back better and more equitably,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo. “The Minority Business Development Agency is ready to step into this historic moment and build on its success – because we recognize that America’s road to recovery runs through our minority business community. Making MBDA a statutory Agency provides MBDA with the authorities, workforce and resources needed to help level the playing field on behalf of minority businesses and minority entrepreneurs.”

“The Department of Commerce and MBDA play a pivotal role in promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves. “This legislation is transformative and signifies a new era in minority business development and progress toward addressing the long-standing racial disparities in access to capital, contracts, and business ecosystems.”

“Created by Executive Order in 1969, the Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises,” said Miguel Estién, Acting National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. “The Minority Business Development Act of 2021 is one of the most significant pieces of legislation impacting the minority business community in the last 50 years. I look forward to helping lead the Agency’s transformation at this critical juncture in our nation’s history.”

The bill expands the geographic reach of the MBDA by authorizing the creation of regional MBDA offices, rural business centers, and increasing the number and scope of existing programs.

The Act also:

  • Creates a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development to lead the agency.
  • Increases the MBDA’s grant-making capacity to partner with community and national nonprofits engaged in private and public sector development as well as research.
  • Mandates the creation of the Parren J. Mitchel Entrepreneurship Education Grants Program to cultivate the next generation of minority entrepreneurs on the campuses HBCUs and MSIs across the Nation.
  • Creates a council to advise the Under Secretary on supporting MBEs; and
  • Authorizes the Under Secretary to coordinate federal MBE programs.

The MBDA will report on the implementation milestones of the Minority Business Development Act of 2021 through the website, www.MBDA.gov.

Sources: White House and MBDA • Cover Photo: bdpatoday


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Energy sector braces for ‘Black Swan’ Cyber Attacks and Power Grid outages

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WASHINGTON — The North American Electric Reliability (NERC) hosted GridEx V this week. The annual Grid Security Exercise (GridEx) is an opportunity for utilities to demonstrate how they would respond to and recover from simulated coordinated cyber and physical security threats and incidents, strengthen their crisis communications relationships, and provide input for lessons learned. This exercise is conducted every two years.

According to NERC, over 6,500 participants representing more than 425 government and energy sector organizations in the United States, Canada and Mexico took part in the two-day exercise.

GridEx V was designed for distributed play, coordinated locally by a designated asset owner and operator lead planner. An executive tabletop exercise (TTX) occurred concurrently with senior industry and government leaders. Due to the sensitive nature of scenario discussions, this exercise program was not open to the general public nor the media.

These geographically-distributed exercises are designed to execute the electricity industry’s crisis response to simulated coordinated cyber and physical security threats and incidents, to strengthen utilities’ crisis response functions, and to provide input for lessons learned.

Sources: NERC and Security Week

 


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