WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, February 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and the National Alliance for Black Business (NABB) signed a historic MOU during the NABB’s first annual National Black Business Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. The NABB was co-founded by the National Business League (NBL) and the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), which represent a combined 153 years of service to Black businesses and are now collectively working to organize a unified national black economic agenda.
“This historic agreement between MBDA and the NABB will strengthen our collective mission to create a strong, equitable economy for all minority businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Donald R. Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary of the Minority Business Development Agency. “Both MBDA and the NABB have uplifted Black businesses in the decades since they were formed. But together under this agreement, we can break down more barriers, open new opportunities, and create greater access for even more minority entrepreneurs and founders to thrive.”
More than 100 distinguished Black business leaders, organizations, and corporate executives assembled with the Department of Commerce Under Secretary Donald Cravins Jr., Esq. Among them were NABB Co-founders Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D. (NBL) and Charles H. DeBow, III (NBCC); Hon. Johnny Ford, founder and president of the World Conference of Mayors; Helena Hutton, senior director of strategic purchasing, supplier diversity and environmental sustainability, Cummins Inc., and member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable; Jane Reindorf-Attoh, CEO, JT International; and conference keynote speaker Terri L. Batch, Director of the U.S. Global Diversity Export Initiative, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration.
“The alliance between the NABB and the U.S. Department of Commerce is a powerful collaboration to build Black economic equity through enterprise ownership and development,” said Charles H. DeBow, III, president and CEO of the NBCC and co-founder of the NABB.
The MOU establishes a framework for the MBDA and the NABB to collaborate on efforts to increase the growth and global scaling of more than 3.2 million Black American businesses, with an estimated $141.1 billion in annual receipts, 1.3 million employees, and about $42.2 billion in annual payroll (2022 U.S. Census). As part of this alliance, MBDA and the NABB will share information and raise public awareness of each other’s programs and initiatives.
In 1969, the late Berkeley G. Burrell, the 10th national president of the NBL, played an instrumental role in the founding and creation of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE), known today as the MBDA. Mr. Burrell was vice president of the Advisory Council for Minority Enterprise and under his leadership, the NBL and OMBE initiated decades of Black business participation in the public and private sectors.
“The MBDA was born out of the civil rights movement, as an intentional solution to curb the economic conditions experienced in the Black community that caused Black resistance, rebellion, and retribution in the streets,” said Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D., president and CEO of the NBL and co-founder of NABB. “By continuing the legacy of Booker T. Washington, today we forge partnerships with aligned priorities to broker economic opportunities for Black businesses that are essential in the global marketplace.”
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