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Minority Business Development Agency Partners With 8 Black-Led Women Groups

The MBDA hosted Divine Nine organizations, as well as the National Council of Negro Women, The Links Incorporated, The Black Women’s Agenda, and The National Coalition of 100 Black Women

The Minority Business Development Agency is exploring options after disagreeing with a federal judge’s decision declaring that the agency must assist all racial groups.

A Trump appointee, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, ruled on March 5 that the U.S. Department of Commerce agency created 55 years ago to help minority-businesses grow, including Black firms, must now supply services to white people, too.

The court in Texas basically sided with a lawsuit from several white business owners who maintained that the MBDA’s policies were unconstitutional.

In a statement MBDA provided to BLACK ENTERPRISE on March 11, Eric Morissette, the acting secretary of Commerce for MBDA, offered this response:

“I disagree with the court’s decision, and we are exploring our options in the case. In the meantime, we will continue MBDA’s programs and work to assist businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals in a manner consistent with the court’s decision.”   

He added, “When we expand economic access for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and their businesses, we create more jobs, generate more revenue, and uplift communities. This benefits everyone, and no one understands that more than President Biden and Vice President Harris.”

And for the first time ever, the MBDA has announced it’s partnering with eight of the nation’s largest Black sororities and women’s leadership organizations to address funding shortfalls for women entrepreneurs of color.

Those organization, combined, have more than one million women members, based on research provided to BE. Many of the groups’ members have Black women business owners and entrepreneurs.  

Though reputedly the country’s fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs, scores of Black women still face large obstacles in gaining capital to start, grow, expand, or even stay in businesses. The MBDA hosted the sororities who are part of the Divine Nine organizations. They are being joined by the National Council of Negro Women, The Links Incorporated, The Black Women’s Agenda, and The National Coalition of 100 Black Women. 

The sororities include Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. At an event on March 7, the MBDA reported it signed a Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with each organization to collaborate on advancing the growth of women business enterprises. 

The agreement is geared to mainly expand access to resources, including connecting women entrepreneurs with critical business development tools to address funding disparities.

“The Minority Business Development Agency is excited to collaborate with these women-led organizations to break down barriers and expand opportunities for Black women,” Morissette stated. 

Alphonso David, president and CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum, offered his take on the MBDA agreement as well as the lawsuit.

“The Minority Business Development Agency plays a crucial role in developing strategic alliances to empower businesses led and created by people of color. This partnership bringing together Black women-led organizations is a reminder of our collective power to expand opportunities for each other, and especially for minority women business enterprises.”

The forum calls itself an international enterprise focused on advancing the economic interests of the Black Diaspora and other marginalized groups through global summits, workplace training and leadership development, policy advocacy, and thought leadership. 

Further, David stated, “The recent ruling in the district court in Texas acknowledges the well-documented systemic and ongoing discrimination people of color face in contracting and yet the court boldly seeks to remove remedies to address that problem. It is imperative, in this moment, that we double down on combating economic inequities. And this alliance can serve as a helpful tool in that struggle.”

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