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USC’s Minority Business Center Receives $1.8 Million

USC’s Minority Business Center Receives $1.8 Million
Theda S. Douglas and Sergio Gascon

In an effort to boost job creation and foster economic growth, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) awarded $1.8 million over five years to the MBDA Business Center at USC.

The nationally recognized USC center, formerly known as the L.A. Minority Business Enterprise Center, offers minority entrepreneurs strategic business consulting services to help businesses access markets, win contracts and earn capital.

USC’s center will partner with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic and Business Policy to create jobs and bring contracts to minority-owned businesses. This is a new private/public partnership to support minority-owned businesses.

“USC knows the importance of providing jobs for our community and the vital role that minority businesses play in creating self-sufficiency and job creation,” said Theda S. Douglas, associate vice president of government partnerships and programs for USC. “We are proud of our role in creating stronger neighborhoods by empowering and enhancing an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Since its inception in 1996, the USC center has helped more than 1,200 local minority businesses in securing more than $140 million in finance and procurement transactions.

“This money will help us reach more minority-owned businesses with the information they need to make their businesses more successful, provide more jobs and help the American economy,” said Sergio Gascon, executive director of the USC center. “I am proud that people in Washington see the difference we are making and want us to do more.”

In April, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency announced a total of $7.8 million in funding this year for 27 business centers across the country, which includes $365,000 each year for the USC center.

The centers work with minority business owners and managers at the local level to meet President Barack Obama’s challenge to out-innovate, out-build and out-educate the rest of the world.

Minority business centers “are catalysts for minority business development, and by investing in these centers at the local level, we will see reverberating effects throughout the national economy,” said David Hinson, the agency’s national director.

The centers also are charged with helping minority-owned businesses increase their exports in an increasingly global economy in which opportunities are just as likely to be found overseas as they are around the corner.

“Minority-owned businesses excel at exporting, and with unique language and cultural connections to other countries, they are exporting powerhouses with great potential for growth,” Hinson said.

The MBDA Business Center is operated by USC Government and Civic Engagement and funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

USC’s Minority Business Center Receives $1.8 Million

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