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David Hinson, National Director, MBDA

Page history last edited by Faye Anderson 14 years, 11 months ago

On Friday, August 7, 2009, Faye Anderson, founder of Tracking Change Wiki, interviewed David Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Hinson spoke with Anderson from Tampa, Fla., where he was attending the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.


FAYE ANDERSON:  You’ve been on the job less than a month, how is it going?


DAVID HINSON:  Way too many people don’t know what we do.  We have to be much better at getting the word out.  As an agency we just haven’t, for many reasons, haven’t been as out there and exposing the good work that we do to the community.  Many businesspeople know but in general people don’t really know.  And they should know what we do because we add a lot of value to the economy.  For example, most people don’t realize we are probably one of the most productive agencies in the federal government.  For every taxpayer dollar that flows into our agency, we create $74 of definable, quantifiable economic output for the country.  So from an investment standpoint, you put a dollar in and you get $74 in return.  I think everybody would invest there.


ANDERSON:  An analysis of stimulus spending conducted by Government Executive found that 17 of the largest government contractors have received more than 23 percent of the $6.9 billion in stimulus contracts that federal agencies have awarded to date.  What is MBDA’s plan to ensure minority-owned businesses have fair access to federal contracting opportunities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?


HINSON:  First, the commitment is not just at our level.  The commitment goes up to the White House.  The President is absolutely committed to making sure that minority businesses receive their fair share of economic stimulus contracts.  Of the $1.7 billion of contracts that have been let out under the stimulus bill, 13.4 percent have gone to minority businesses.  So, there are contracts that are going out … It’s always the case the larger firms typically get the lion’s share.  That’s normally the case.  We are doing a couple of things.  First, systemically, we are embarking on a strategy to work to create larger minority business entities.  Our focus is going to take that company that is currently a $10 million company and work very hard to get that company up to $100 million in revenue because typically the $100 million level is the level where you are perceived to have the size and the capacity to bid for these larger contracts.  That’s one component.  The second component is that we are gearing our 48 business centers around the country to really focus on the nuances of getting these contracts.  Keep in mind that 70 percent of the economic stimulus money is flowing down to the states.  So the real opportunity lies at the state level.  So what we are doing is, we are engaging our regional centers to really focus on building those relationships on the state level.  Understanding what each state needs very specifically and aligning those companies and their service or product with that state contracting person.  So we’re really taking it down to a granular level so that we can make an introduction on the state level, on the local level with the company and with the contracting person who ultimately will be making the decision. 


ANDERSON:  Please expound on MBDA’s strategy to create larger minority business entities.


HINSON:  As an agency, we’re striving for economic parity.  Economic parity is $2.4 trillion in revenue, 16 million jobs created and $100 billion in tax receipts to the government.  If we had economic parity in the minority business community, broadly defined, that is what we would be generating.  Today, we are generating unfortunately only about $660 billion of revenues or gross receipts and we’re creating somewhere around 8 million jobs.  So, we have a long way to go to achieve economic parity.  We have an opportunity with the Obama administration to really make tremendous headway in doing that.   But to do that, we have to have companies that have the size and the capacity to really compete for the larger contracts, which is what you were referring to before.  The only way to do that is for us to focus on those companies that have the opportunity to get big and really make them as big as we possibly can.  There are two key points to that that are really profound.  First, those companies as they grow and as they meet the $100 million and higher level, they become a tremendous source of employment for the minority communities that they’re in.  So that’s very important.  Second, they will be in a position to compete for, and will likely win, some of these more substantial contracts which is, again, important to moving us towards economic parity.  And third, they become a conduit for smaller businesses that are growing at the $500,000 level or million level.  They become a source of contracts for those businesses because as they get bigger, they will also need goods and services for themselves.  They will then be in a position to purchase those goods and services from the next level of minority-owned company.  So, it would create an internal economy, if you will.  There’s a multiplier effect that’s pretty profound.  So recognizing the value of that is what we are gearing our strategy towards.


ANDERSON:  Is the goal of economic parity based on minority-owned businesses proportion of the population?


HINSON:  Yes.  We call economic parity the amount of goods and services that you would generate predicated on the proportion of the population.


ANDERSON:  Looking ahead, what’s the plan to help MBEs weather the current economic storm?  During the Clinton administration, there was a Minority Business Advisory Board that met regularly with MBDA officials to talk about the issues and provide assessments of what worked and what didn’t work.  Do you plan to reestablish the board? 


HINSON:  Yes.  We’re looking at reestablishing that as a main source of advice to MBDA.  I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet because I’ve been here three weeks. 


ANDERSON:  Is it on the to-do list?


HINSON:  Yes, it’s on the to-do list.


ANDERSON:  Thank you for your time.  I’ll see you at MED Week.


HINSON:  I look forward to seeing you.  Thanks.


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