Minority Business Development Agency Opens State’s First Business Center in Memphis

By Aisling Maki

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Friday officially opened its first business center in the state of Tennessee at 158 Madison Ave., Suite 101, in Downtown Memphis.

MBDA national director David Hinson joined Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, for the grand opening of the center, housed inside the Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum (MMBC).

An accelerator that supports the growth and scalability of minority and women-owned businesses to economically improve inner-city communities, MMBC was chosen to operate the center following a rigorous and highly competitive grant competition.

MMBC CEO and president Luke Yancy III said his organization is “prepared to assist scalable minority businesses as a launch pad to grow locally, regionally and nationally,” and that the Memphis center “will now benefit from national resources and best practices.”

Beverly Goines has been chosen to serve as executive director of the Memphis MBDA Business Center, one of 40 such centers across the country dedicated to creating jobs and strengthening the economy by helping minority-owned and -managed businesses gain increased access to capital, contracts, and public and private sector markets.

The MBDA, an agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Commerce, promotes the growth and global competitiveness of the nation’s minority business community, better equipping them to create jobs, impact their local economies, and compete successfully in the domestic and global marketplaces.

“One of my top priorities of MBDA is to expand the agency’s reach so more minority-owned firms benefit from the expertise of our business centers.”

–David Hinson
MBDA national director

With a rich portfolio of strategic partners, the federal agency assists minority entrepreneurs and business owners with executive training, strategic counsel, marketing, procurement matchmaking, capital sourcing, bonding and certification services, and teaming arrangements.

“One of my top priorities of MBDA is to expand the agency’s reach so more minority-owned firms benefit from the expertise of our business centers,” Hinson said in a statement. “Establishing a presence in Memphis strengthens our ability to help the Delta region’s minority-owned businesses grow and create jobs, key priorities of the Obama administration.”

MBDA says the Bluff City was selected as a location for one of its business centers because it offers significant opportunities to create new jobs through the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned companies.

In addition to being a minority-majority city, Memphis has a long history of entrepreneurship and is home to several corporate giants such as FedEx Corp., AutoZone Inc. and International Paper Co. And more companies, such as Mitsubishi – slated to open a production plant in 2013 – continue to choose to conduct business in Memphis.

“Memphis is home to scores of well-qualified, high-potential minority entrepreneurs who do great work,” Cohen said in a statement. “A Memphis MBDA Business Center is going to help minority business leaders win contracts and gain access to capital, which will help them better compete in the 21st century global economy.”