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RELEASE: A Blueprint for a new Administration To Revamp the Minority Business Development Agency

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Washington, D.C. — A new issue brief published by the Center for American Progress’ National Advisory Council on Eliminating the Black-White Wealth Gap provides a blueprint for how a future presidential administration could revamp a long-neglected agency housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce: the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This is the first in a series of briefs published by the council that will provide new ideas for steps that an incoming administration can take to close the Black-white wealth gap.

Despite comprising 13 percent of the U.S. population, Black Americans own less than 2 percent of small businesses with employees. This disparity is caused by stark and persistent racial inequities in wealth and access to capital. If financial capital were more evenly distributed, Black Americans could enjoy similar business ownership rates to their white counterparts and there would be approximately 860,000 additional Black-owned firms employing more than 10 million people.

While the MBDA has been limited by meager funding and a narrow purview throughout its 50-year history, the issue brief argues that if given adequate funding and authority, the MBDA could help meaningfully reduce the racial wealth gap and increase the creation and success of Black-owned businesses over the coming years.

The MBDA’s unique history and structure would allow a future administration to expand the agency’s activities without new authorizing legislation. While a meaningful expansion of the MBDA could take many forms, the brief lays out five ideas that would significantly affect the wealth gap:

  1. Initiate an economic equity grant program that would fund municipal projects that foster wealth creation, opportunity, and minority business development in Black communities
  2. Launch a minority-serving institution business center initiative within the MBDA, located in historically Black colleges and universities and tribal colleges and universities, which would provide startup capital and technical support for students and community members interested in starting or expanding their own businesses
  3. Create an office of research and evaluation charged with studying barriers to wealth and business development in Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color
  4. Allow the MBDA to lend low-cost, government-backed capital to licensed minority business investment companies to invest in brown- and Black-owned businesses
  5. Establish an office of advocacy and intergovernmental affairs to score the effects of proposed legislation on minority-owned small business creation and success and the economic concerns of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color

“Throughout our history, Black Americans have unjustly been denied the economic access to capital and the political protection of that capital, free of theft, fraud and terror, to fulfill substantial levels of entrepreneurship,” said Darrick Hamilton, co-author of the brief, council member, and incoming Henry Cohen professor of economics and urban policy and university professor at The New School. “Efforts to build wealth in Black communities must include serious public policy interventions that redress our current economic structures.  The MBDA has not been adequately financed and structured to fulfill its mission of promoting just and inclusive entrepreneurship.”

“The next administration must not only say closing the racial wealth gap is a priority; they must put forward concrete policy changes to close it. Small business ownership will not close the gap alone, but these five new ideas provide a plan for revamping the MBDA in a way that not only removes structural barriers to opportunity, but also increases the creation and success of Black businesses in particular—both of which are essential to closing the racial wealth gap,” said Danyelle Solomon, vice president of Race and Ethnicity Policy at the Center for American Progress.

Read: “A Blueprint for Revamping the Minority Business Development Agency” by Connor Maxwell, Darrick Hamilton, Andre M. Perry, and Danyelle Solomon

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Julia Cusick at .

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Garmin paid multimillion dollar ransom to hackers: report

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  • Garmin paid a multimillion dollar ransom to recover its data from hackers after they held the files for ransom, Sky News reported Monday.
  • The GPS company was the victim of a major ransomware attack last month that led to a multi-day outage of its services including its smartwatches and aviation products.
  • Garmin paid the money through cybersecurity firm Arete IR after the first firm they sought out turned down the job due to concerns about dealing with sanctioned individuals, according to Sky News.
  • The malware used against Garmin has been attributed to Evil Corp, a Russia-based hacker group that was placed on a US sanctions list last year, according to Bleeping Computer.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

GPS and aviation tech company Garmin paid a multi-million dollar sum to hackers in an effort to recover data that the group had held hostage in a ransomware attack last month, Sky News reported on Monday.

On July 23, Garmin’s services, which range from smartwatches to aviation products, suffered a major outage. Several days later, the company confirmed that the outage was due to a cyberattack.

Several media reports said at the time that the attack involved ransomware, a type of software custom-tailored to encrypt a company’s files until a ransom is paid, though Garmin did not publicly name the type of attack.

Bleeping Computer reported that Garmin had been targeted by Wastedlocker, a specific ransomware virus that is attributed to a Russia-based hacking group called Evil Corp, and that the group had demanded $10 million for the files.

Since the US Treasury Department had sanctioned Evil Corp last year following its cyber heist of more than $100 million from banks around the world, Garmin risked running afoul of the sanctions and incurring fines by paying the ransom.

The first cybersecurity company Garmin asked to help it pay the ransom turned down the job, citing the sanctions as its reason for refusing to provide its services in cases involving Wastedlocker, Sky News reported.

Garmin then turned to another firm, Arete IR, which doesn’t believe Evil Corp is necessarily behind Wastedlocker and ultimately worked with the company to help it pay the ransom, according to Sky News.

As media reports circulated last month naming Wastedlocker as the ransomware used against Garmin, Arete tweeted a link to a report it had published that claimed security research linking the ransomware to Evil Corp was “not conclusive.”

Garmin and Arete IR did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Batten Kill business owner says he’s not the slob | Local

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Drawn by the river

Swimmers were drawn in May to the Rexleigh covered bridge on the Battenkill near Salem. 




A businessman who runs a tubing company down the Batten Kill says his business is not contributing to the problems with partying and littering on the river.

Tony DiDonna, co-owner of Big Big on the Battenkill Kayak and Tubing, said four outfitters are usually running on the river, but only two are open this summer.

DiDonna’s customers park their cars at the Route 313 service road in Salem and start their tubing journey in Arlington, Vermont. His customers are not parking on private property or littering, he said.

Two Washington County supervisors asked the Sheriff’s Office last week to intervene because of complaints about littering, garbage and trespassing on private property along the Batten Kill in Salem and Jackson.

“We see it all the time,” DiDonna said. “We clean probably 80 percent of the garbage out of the Route 313 pulloff that is open to the public.”

No garbage cans have been put out in that area, he said.

DiDonna said he is now being investigated by the state Department of Transportation for picking up his customers on the New York side.

His customers are told to bring out whatever they bring in and not to park on private property, he said.

“That place is a complete mess from the public,” DiDonna said. “It’s got nothing to do with the outfitters that are in there.”

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New business in Cedar Rapids hoping metal demand helps it survive during pandemic

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – A new business opening Monday in Cedar Rapids said it is meeting a demand that is growing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Metal Supermarkets is located at 6805 4th Street Southwest. It’s the first Metal Supermarkets to open in Iowa. Leaders say metal is still in demand during the pandemic.

They sell things like cutting material, and will deliver it to a person’s job site. Leaders feel confident opening during the pandemic.

They say people are staying at home more and starting home projects, and that’s driving the metal demand. There’s also essential businesses like manufacturing that need metal materials.

“Manufacturing services of say a company that makes mask for example,” explained Rick Heller, President of the Metal Supermakets Cedar Rapids location. “If they have any type of equipment that goes down, they may need to purchase a piece of material to get their equipment back online. That’s where we come into play.”

Face masks for customers and workers is optional in their store. They will do curbside pickup. They have four people on staff and hope to expand in the future. They are reaching out to local companies about their business.

The business can be reached at (319) 382-2325.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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