In August 2002 the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) published, “The State of Minority Business Enterprises: An Overview of the 2002 Survey of Business Owners”. The results of the survey highlighted some gaps within the minority business arena.

The survey indicated that 4.1 million minority firms were documented within the United States. This represented 18% of all U.S. firms. These firms generated $668 billion in gross receipts and employed 4.7 million workers. On the surface this information looked encouraging for minority business in the U.S.

Further analysis of the data showed a different picture of the state of minority business enterprises in the U.S. Of the 4.7 million minority firms, approximately 194,000 had sales revenue of $500,000 or more. This represented about 5% of all MBE’s. This 5% generated $498 billion of the $668 billion, which represents 75% of gross receipts. Additionally, the 5% employed 73% of the 4.7 million workers.

Armed with these results MBDA began to reposition itself to better serve and grow the MBE’s firms throughout the U.S. With this new focus the target group criteria was redefined. MBDA felt that they would be better serve if their resources were channeled into increasing the services provided to MBE’s that were in the 5% reported. Working with their funded centers across the country they would be able to impact the outcome of MBE’s.

As one of the funded center, DCMBEC is tasked with providing management and technical assistance to MBE’s throughout the National Capital Region. DCMBEC applies the criteria set by MBDA when engaging potential clients. The following criteria are administered when evaluating clients for services through the DCMBEC:

• Firm must be at least 51% owned by an ethnic minority (not gender based)

• Located within the National Capital Region

• A for-profit entity generation, or having the potential to generate, $500,000 or more in annual revenues

" Minority Business Enterprises or MBEs refers to companies owned by one of the following: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and Hasidic Jew.

" The National Capital Region includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and parts of West Virginia.

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