Lt. Governor Brown Hosts MBE University in Montgomery County
Brown addresses state of minority business enterprises in Maryland
ROCKVILLE, Md. (September 13, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown hosted the MBE University Conference today at The Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville to address Maryland’s minority- and women-owned businesses and to highlight the State’s progress with minority business enterprises (MBE). This is the fifth in a series of conferences that travel around Maryland offering training and information on the tools necessary for minority and women-owned businesses to expand, create jobs and thrive during difficult economic times. Today’s conference in Rockville connected small and minority businesses with public and private opportunities and attracted more than 300 interested professionals to the event. Lt. Governor Brown was joined at the conference by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett; Dr. Stewart Edelstein, Director of The Universities at Shady Grove; Marcellous Frye, Jr, Vice President of Support Services for Washington Gas; and Charlie Partridge, Supplier Diversity Regional Manager for Pepco Holdings, Inc.
“One of Maryland’s greatest strengths is our diverse economy, powered by our vast talent pool, hard working families and entrepreneurs. Our small and minority-owned businesses are what drive Maryland’s economic development, supporting our working families, expanding job opportunities and building a stronger workforce,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Governor O’Malley and I are dedicated to strengthening our workforce and providing Marylanders with the vital information and resources they need to open new doors in their communities and continue to thrive for years to come.”
At the conference, participants attended workshops that provided information on contracting with the State as an MBE, procurement opportunities with State and local governments, the MBE certification process, BRAC opportunities with intelligence agencies, conducting business with public and private educational institutions and niche marketing procurement opportunities in the medical industry. MBE University sponsors and partners included Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, Citi Community Development, Washington Gas, Pepco, and the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development. Montgomery County hosted its Business Innovation Centers Showcase, Washington Gas and Citi Community Development also hosted workshops on how to do business with their respective organizations.
“As we seek to turn the corner from recession to prosperity, our mission is simple: to create jobs, to save jobs, to improve the conditions that empower businesses to create and save jobs,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “In your state government we have the most ambitious goals for Minority Business Enterprise in the United States of America. MBE University is designed to help us exceed them, together.”
“Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland continues to be a leader in minority business enterprise,” said Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Special Secretary Luwanda Jenkins. “MBE University is a more focused outreach effort designed to connect Maryland’s minority and women-owned firms with vital opportunities and resources.”
Maryland has an aggressive and progressive MBE Program and has established the highest minority and women-owned business contracting goals in the nation at 25 percent. In addition, Maryland is one of only 15 states in the nation with MBE goals and one of only a few states with an MBE law in statute. Maryland remains the only state in the nation to collect uniform reporting data including actual payments to MBEs.
In Fiscal Year 2009, Maryland state agencies achieved 22 percent MBE participation, up from 20 percent in the previous year. These include over $1.6 billion in awards to MBE firms, an increase of 26 percent in one year, and $1 billion in payment to MBE firms.
MBE University was created in collaboration with the State’s minority business coordinating agencies and the Governor’s Office. Coordinating agencies include the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, the Department of General Services, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Department of Business and Economic Development, and the Governor’s Grants Office. The 2010 conference tour also includes Western Maryland on October 8, 2010.
For more information on the MBE University initiative, visit www.mdminoritybusiness.com.