Steven Simms, vice president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, suggested that as a next step, the MBDA should establish a core committee that will choose a few goals in each category and develop a timeline, metrics, and action plans for moving forward. Specific responsibilities would be assigned to hold both the agency and committee accountable.
There are, however, things that business owners can do in the meantime, such as becoming more involved in the politics of business.
“It’s a new environment and we’ve got to understand how to play the game. We need to have the same powerhouse of representatives advocating for us that the people you’re competing against,â€ Simms said. He also discussed why it’s important to document discrimination and other hurdles entrepreneurs face.
“We have to provide a body of evidence and disparity studies that support the notion of the programs necessary to ensure that we have equal footing and opportunity,â€ Simms said. “So getting more involved politically, leveraging the political power we have, and the perceived power that we’re in the process of securing are a couple of examples of where we need to go.â€
Susan Au Allen, president and CEO of the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, suggested that minority advocacy groups also work together to advance their constituents’ shared issues. “Yes, we have our differences and special interests, but let’s look at what we have in common and work on those things. We need to be more inclusive,â€ Allen said.
MBDA chief of legislative, education and intergovernmental affairs, Bridget Gonzales, assured the audience that the agency’s new director, David Hinson, as well as Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and the White House are committed to making the improvements needed to help their businesses grow and prosper. She also encouraged them to continue to make recommendations and provide other input.