Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett this morning joined David Hinson, national director, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA); Zenita Wickham Hurley, special secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs; and more than 300 business owners and representatives from across the state and region at the 2013 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) University Conference. Held at the Silver Spring Civic Building, the theme of this year’s conference was Pathways to Procurement,
“I commend Governor Martin O’Malley and his team for bringing the Minority Business Enterprise University back to Montgomery County,” said Leggett. “This conference provides local and regional MBE businesses the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the procurement officials from numerous public and private entities and learn first-hand about upcoming procurement opportunities. Through the County’s own Local Small Business Reserve Program, we awarded contracts with a total value of more than $200 million to local MBE and small businesses in FY12 and this event allows us to promote this and our many other programs and initiatives to support MBE enterprises here in Montgomery County.”
The MBE University, which was hosted at the Universities at Shady Grove in 2010, provides participants with one-on-one accelerated procurement matchmaking opportunities with public and private entities. Some of this year’s participating companies and agencies included Coakley-Williams Construction, Constant Contact, Maryland Transit Authority, Maryland Live, MCPS, Motorola, NIH, Northrop Grumman, Pepco, WSSC, Whiting Turner and more.
The 2013 MBE University is supported by the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA), in collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development (DED). DED representatives hosted an exhibit booth at the conference to promote the County’s efforts to make the process of doing business with and in the County less burdensome and noticeably more business friendly. These efforts include:
• expansion of the County’s minority business certification to include the Maryland/DC Minority Supplier Development Council;
• $50 million deposited by the County in several local banks that, in turn, will augment those funds to provide loans to local businesses;
• the ongoing success of the County’s Business Innovation Network, made up of five facilities housing 160 companies and supporting 850 jobs;
• an active Small Business Revolving Loan Fund – which has given almost $465,000 in loans to 10 companies between FY09 and FY13;
• a very successful Business Mentorship Program, with more than 60 percent MBE participation; and
• a new Small Business Navigator position in DED to help local businesses better navigate the County’s procurement process.
More than 300 MBE business owners and representatives from across the state and region attended the 2013 MBE University Conference.
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