Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MBDA?
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Established in 1969, the MBDA was created specifically to foster the full participation and entrepreneurial parity of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) in the national economy.
What is the Boston Business Center and what is its mission?

The Boston MBDA Business Center is operated by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council under the auspices of the MBDA as part of its national network of business centers. The U.S. Department of Commerce and MBDA are committed to funding the Bridgeport Business Center for a total of five years. At the end of the funding cycle, the goal is to have the Center become self-sustaining. The primary purpose of the Business Center is to target services to eligible MBE firms in (a) securing large public and/or private contracts, (b) achieving financing transactions, (c) creating new jobs and helping to preserve existing positions, and (d) facilitating entry to global markets.

What is an eligible MBE firm?

An eligible MBE firm is a business that is owned and controlled by a US citizen or resident alien admitted for lawful admission to the United States who is either African American, Hispanic American, Asian and Pacific Islander American, Native American (including Alaska Native, Alaska Native Corporation and a Tribal entity), Asian Indian American or Hasidic Jewish American. See 15 CFR § 1400.1-.2 and Executive Order 11625.

Is there a priority to serving MBE firms?
Yes! Although the Business Center can offer services to all MBE firms, target clients include MBE firms with one or both of the following characteristics: (1) annual revenues of over one million dollars or (2) is a participant in a high-growth industry.
What if my MBE firm does not meet the preceding criteria?

The Business Center will seek to serve all eligible MBE firms. Eligible MBE firms that do not meet the size or rapid growth criteria may be served via strategic partnerships that the Boston MBDA Center has established and/or through an alternative service delivery referral.

How do I participate?

Eligible MBE firms must sign an Engagement Agreement to become a client of the MBDA Center-Boston and be willing to provide business information to meet specific reporting requirements mandated by the MBDA. Additionally, the MBE firm must undergo a client assessment that serves two purposes: (a) provides the MBDA Center-Boston with a full understanding of the firm’s current operations, business objectives, service(s) needs and other critical information, and (b) identifies the specific services that will be delivered to the client MBE firm.

What services will the Center provide to MBEs?

The Business Center will offer one or more of the following services: (a) Client Assessment and Engagement, (b) Access to Markets, (c) Access to Capital, (d) Access to Contracts, and (e) Strategic Advisory services.

Who are the Center’s Strategic Partners?

The original strategic partners were: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, U.S. Small Business Administration, Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment, Turner Construction, East West Bank, Babson College and the Business Consortium Fund of New Yrok. Additional partners have been added over time to meet growing demand for our services.

What services will the Center provide to potential buyers of MBE services?
It will provide enhanced access to vetted, highly capable and competitive MBEs, which will help drive the buyers business through competitive pricing, innovation and quality goods and services. The Center will also provide strategic advice on supplier diversity programs to help make buyers more effective and efficient in meeting their goals.
What is the difference between the Business Center and the Greater New England Minority Supplier DevelopmentCouncil (GNEMSDC)?

The Business Center is a division of the Council. The MBDA requires that each Business Center be overseen by a “Program Operator” and the GNEMSDC serves that function. The Center will leverage the relationships that GNEMSDC has with MBEs and its corporate members in order to achieve the Center’s goals. GNEMSDC has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Minority Business Development Agency at the U.S. Department of Commerce and is obligated to adhere to standard operating procedures and performance measures. The GNEMSDC is a non-profit organization that is an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). The GNEMSDC membership consists of local and national Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, universities, financial institutions, associations, and organizations. The GNEMSDC provides services to its corporate members and to its certified minority business enterprises (MBEs). The GNEMSDC is governed by a Board of Directors, and is funded by corporate membership dues, certification fees, and contributions, in-kind services, and grants. The GNEMSDC serves the entire six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

What resources will the Center have to carry out its mission?

Permanent staff for the Center consists of a Project Director and Program Manager. Additional support is provided by GNEMSDC, and a quick response team of business consulting experts, and strategic partners.