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Commerce Agencies Collaborate to Help Improve Competitiveness of Minority Businesses

For Immediate Release: September 26, 2002

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Contact: Jan Kosko
(301) 975-2767

Two Commerce Department agencies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), today announced at the National Minority Enterprise Development Week conference in Washington, D.C., a partnership to improve the competitiveness of minority-owned businesses by promoting greater access to technology and business expertise.

"Minority-owned businesses are vital to our nation's economic health and stability," said NIST Director Arden Bement. "We are proud to collaborate with the Minority Business Development Agency to provide technology and business expertise that will help ensure that these businesses thrive and grow," said Bement.

"Entrepreneurs drive our economy by creating wealth and jobs, taking risks, and bringing innovation to the marketplace," said Ronald Langston, National Director of MBDA. "By pooling the resources of MBDA and NIST, through awareness and training, we can further increase the number of minority businesses in this nation."

The agreement calls for both agencies to leverage their expertise, service delivery and networks; share knowledge; and develop strategies to increase the number of minority businesses participating in NIST programs, services and contracting opportunities.

Activities include familiarizing MBDA partners with standards and technology components of the global economy through the NIST Office of International and Academic Affairs, and providing selected MBDA staff with training on the principles and guidelines of the Baldrige National Quality Program, a public-private partnership to improve performance in U.S. organizations. In assisting minority businesses further, NIST and MBDA will tap into the expertise and resources of two other NIST programs: the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers, and the Advanced Technology Program, which accelerates the development of innovative technologies for broad national benefit by co-funding research and development partnerships with the private sector.

A copy of the agreement is available online.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST develops and promotes measurements, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life.

MBDA is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America. MBDA provides business counseling and program services to assist minority-owned companies to grow and expand. MBDA is expanding and strengthening strategic alliances with U.S. Department of Commerce agencies, other federal government agencies and the private sector.