The MED Week Conference helps minority-owned firms grow domestically and globally through a series of educational, training and business-to-business networking events. Throughout MED Week, nearly 1,500 minority business owners, government officials and corporate representatives will hear about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and develop the skills to become export ready. Minority businesses already export twice as much as the average business, as they often have existing cultural, family or business ties to foreign countries.

   The National Export Initiative seeks to build on that – with one of its goals being to increase the number of small-, medium- and minority-owned businesses exporting to more than one market by 50 percent over the next five years. More than 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the borders of the United States. Exports have become an increasingly important part of the U.S. economy and job growth is increasingly dependent on staying competitive in the global marketplace.

   In addition to learning about exporting opportunities, minority firms at MED Week will have the chance to participate in sessions about opportunities for minority-owned firms in federal contracting and Haiti reconstruction, among others. The week will wrap up with an awards gala to honor excellence in minority-owned firms. MBDA will welcome several speakers to this week’s conference, including: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Administrator of the Small Business Administration Karen G. Mills, U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Dennis Hightower, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez.

   MBDA is focused on helping minority-owned firms grow their businesses domestically and globally to foster job creation and economic growth. For more information about the conference, visit http://www.medweek.gov.

David A. Hinson is the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.