Saturday, September 30, 2023

President Obama: Closing Minority Business Development Offices.

February 28, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Black Americans continue to stand by President Barack Obama, despite how he and his minions treat us. Nine of every 10 African-American voters have “got the president’s back” but there is still discussion as to whether President Obama has got the backs of Black Americans in return. At this stage of the Obama presidency it is quite obvious how the people running things at the White House view Blacks’ economic betterment.

Representatives of the Obama administration recently told members of Congress that they plan to close all five of the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) regional offices. Unless something happens, MBDA offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and New York will close by September 30 and the San Francisco office in March of 2013.

Black Americans would be wise to pay attention to these matters and how they are resolved. House Small Business Committee member Rep. Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.) said that the regional closings “might be the beginning of the demise of  the agency.” Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said the Obama administration’s actions “sends the wrong message to entrepreneurs and businesses in our community at this time when we need to have an expansion.”

Rush is right. Black Americans should find it unbelievable that the Obama administration would allow programs that are vital to the creation of jobs and infrastructures for minorities to fall or fail. Proponents of minority business development need to step to the fore and demand that instead of downsizing the MBDA, Obama and his people need to be increasing its reign and clout. The political climate among African Americans should be to not let the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses to be put on the path toward death and dismantlement.

Blacks need for President Obama do more on this current presidential watch to ensure that all U.S. businesses have a proportionate share of the jobs and opportunities created by federal government. Obama heads the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services. The federal government spend more than $500 billion a year in contracts and has facilities in all 50 states that include 2,500 offices that have “authority to buy.” But, Black-owned businesses have historically been marginalized in federal contracting. Under the nation’s first Black president Black-owned businesses have done no better than they did than they did before, having received a paltry 3.5 percent of federal contracts funded between February 2009 and November 2010 compared to the 81.3 percent White-owned business enjoyed during that period.

President Richard Nixon started the Office of Minority Enterprise in 1969 with a mandate to increase Blacks’ percentage of federal business. That percentage of federal contracts peaked at six percent during the Reagan Administration. During Fiscal Year 2010 there were 64,880 Black-owned firms in the federal procurement database, but just 3,990 of those firms received contract activities. What would be wrong with President Obama showing that he’s on our side? The federal government has an ongoing need for an array of goods and services. Millions of federal government contracts are awarded each year, but minority entrepreneurs continue to be stymied in getting public sector contracting opportunities. To remedy this situation, Obama administration officials need to put more impetus on the MBDA to focus on federal procurement and procedures that will offer Minority Business Enterprises fair and proportional opportunities. Instead of disbanding MBDA, Blacks should petition the president to have the agency do more to help entrepreneurs navigate the federal bureaucracy’s purchasing venues.

Black voters  need to take a long hard look to gauge the value officials in the Obama Administration place on Blacks and their businesses. Let’s lift our voices to say: “Instead of disbanding it let’s give the MBDA a broader portfolio” to provide more opportunities for minority businesses; to have ongoing dialogue around issues like how to access to contracts; to offer mentor-protégé opportunities with major corporations and help Black and minority firms compete for large contracts.

Written By William Reed

Mr. Reed William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via;



8 Responses to “President Obama: Closing Minority Business Development Offices.”
  1. Roger Clegg says:

    Why do race or ethnicity need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It’s good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color or national origin. But that means no preferences because of skin color or what country your ancestors came from either–whether it’s labeled a “set-aside,” a “quota,” or a “goal,” since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it breeds corruption and otherwise costs the taxpayers and businesses money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it’s almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and this model brief: ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose.

  2. DG says:

    James, I agree with much of what you say. But a job creation plan starts with a small business creation plan. I am not sure if we are disagreeing or not because it was hard to follow your response.

    My point in relation to Obama is that all net new jobs have been created by stage 2 growth companies and below. There has been a net job loss by stage 3 companies and above over the past half decade.

    Black unemployment rate is nearly 2x the national average, and research still shows that Blacks are predisposition more so to hire Blacks and white’s to hire whites.

    So from my standpoint we need to be less about “job creation” and more about Black business creation. This is why Obama closing these centers is a terrible idea.

    I agree with much of what you said though in your follow up comments.

  3. TheTruthNow says:

    If this is true and there is no substitute agency that will take on the issues of Black businesses then Obama should be held to the carpet for his actions.

  4. James Davis says:

    You have to read my whole response. If we as a people are going to better ourselves, we don’t abandon our leadership, we attempt to make adjustments. We do what the Black Caucus is attempting to do. The Payroll Tax Reduction Bill ended with the head of the Black Caucus, Cleaver and 13 other Caucus members voting against Mr. Obama. There is an indication that some of these co-opted politicians are jumping off the Obama wagon. They too have reached the same conclusion many of us well informed brothers and sisters have, that this President in many instances is not working in the best interest of our community. Our objective as I indicated should be to use whatever influence we have to articulate a new direction for the Black community,separate from the Obama Administration. A direction that will create jobs and foster small businesses. Ultimately, Mr. Obama has to be brought into the mix. These guys are ambitious politicians, they want to be re-elected, we want jobs. What is happening, as I see it, Mr Obama does not think the two objectives can be realized simultaneously. The two objectives of actually pulling the Black community up out the abyss of these high unemployment numbers and getting him re-elected. We must convince him and his gang our objectives are not exclusive to each other. We don’t do this by getting angry, but by using our heads.

  5. DG says:

    James, jobs are created by small businesses, how does closing these offices by Obama improve job creation? Particularly by Black and other minority firms. This is a terrible, terrible decision.

  6. lewis orr says:

    I understand the reasoning of your comments,is there any stated reasoning for President Obama closing these offices? I haven’t heard of any successful Black Businesses, could this be why the President is choosing to close these offices? I need to know more of the Presidents reasoning.

  7. James Davis says:

    No, I do not agree that we should reconsider our support for him, although his performance is not working for me either!

    We have got to band together. Hear me out! Our greatest need as a group of people is a national job creation plan. This is consistent with what the larger population needs. There has been a split in the leadership of the Black Caucus on the recently passed Reduction in the Payroll Tax legislation. “Read my upcoming article on this site, about that.” We, and I mean you and the writer of this article and every one within the sound of my voice should now use that opening to convince the 14 Congressional Black Caucus members who were co-opted by the Obama Campaign to join our effort in calling for a national job creation plan. Such a plan is at You say, I am, in recommending this approach serving my own best interest. Sure I am, but in serving my interest, I serve the interest of our objective to pull our community of this dismal downturn, which is decimating our middle class. You see, if my plan is not adopted, and that is okay with me, we would have succeed in changing the conversation of this campaign. You can’t start a conversation without having something to offer or talk about. And my plan fills that bill. We can force the conversation to once again be about us and our needs!! This President is nothing more than a politician. If we will stop looking at him as a “messiah,” we can still pull victory from the jaws of defeat.

  8. Lonnie Radcliffe says:

    I’m outraged by the callous and unforgivable betrayal of the entire black community by this president. Couple this unbelievable betrayal with the lack of any black participation on the 9 member “Team Obama” which is charged with setting the course for his second term in office, and his wanton abandonment of Troy Davis despite the worldwide petition to spare this young man’s life leads one to the only logical conclusion that we should expect nothing from the Obama administration.
    He will continue to suck up all of the oxygen in the room from the rest of us.
    So much for gratitude and fairness.

    We all need to reconsider our support for this man.

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