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The New Alliance Between the MBDA and the NABB Aims to Amplify Black Business Development and Global Competitiveness as Part of a Growing Movement to Form a Nationally Unified Black Business Agenda

On Wednesday, February 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and the National Alliance for Black Business (NABB) signed a historic MOU during the NABB's first annual National Black Business Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. The NABB was co-founded by the National Business League (NBL) and the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), which represent a combined 153 years of service to Black businesses and are now collectively working to organize a unified national black economic agenda.

National Alliance for Black Business (NBAA) and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Sign Historic MOU Agreement

Pictured [L-R] Charles H. DeBow, III, President/CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce (Founded 1993), Donald R. Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (Founded 1969) and Dr. Ken L. Harris, Ph.D., President/CEO, The National Business League (Founded 1900)

The National Business League Official Logo

"This historic agreement between MBDA and the NABB will strengthen our collective mission to create a strong, equitable economy for all minority businesses and entrepreneurs," said Donald R. Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary of the Minority Business Development Agency. "Both MBDA and the NABB have uplifted Black businesses in the decades since they were formed. But together under this agreement, we can break down more barriers, open new opportunities, and create greater access for even more minority entrepreneurs and founders to thrive."

More than 100 distinguished Black business leaders, organizations, and corporate executives assembled with the Department of Commerce Under Secretary Donald Cravins Jr., Esq. Among them were NABB Co-founders Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D. (NBL) and Charles H. DeBow, III (NBCC); Hon. Johnny Ford, founder and president of the World Conference of Mayors; Helena Hutton, senior director of strategic purchasing, supplier diversity and environmental sustainability, Cummins Inc., and member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable; Jane Reindorf-Attoh, CEO, JT International; and conference keynote speaker Terri L. Batch, Director of the U.S. Global Diversity Export Initiative, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration.

"The alliance between the NABB and the U.S. Department of Commerce is a powerful collaboration to build Black economic equity through enterprise ownership and development," said Charles H. DeBow, III, president and CEO of the NBCC and co-founder of the NABB.

The MOU establishes a framework for the MBDA and the NABB to collaborate on efforts to increase the growth and global scaling of more than 3.2 million Black American businesses, with an estimated $141.1 billion in annual receipts, 1.3 million employees, and about $42.2 billion in annual payroll (2022 U.S. Census). As part of this alliance, MBDA and the NABB will share information and raise public awareness of each other's programs and initiatives.

In 1969, the late Berkeley G. Burrell, the 10th national president of the NBL, played an instrumental role in the founding and creation of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE), known today as the MBDA. Mr. Burrell was vice president of the Advisory Council for Minority Enterprise and under his leadership, the NBL and OMBE initiated decades of Black business participation in the public and private sectors. 

"The MBDA was born out of the civil rights movement, as an intentional solution to curb the economic conditions experienced in the Black community that caused Black resistance, rebellion, and retribution in the streets," said Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D., president and CEO of the NBL and co-founder of NABB. "By continuing the legacy of Booker T. Washington, today we forge partnerships with aligned priorities to broker economic opportunities for Black businesses that are essential in the global marketplace."

About the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

The MBDA, as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment, growth, and global competitiveness of minority-owned businesses in America. The agency is committed to wealth creation in minority communities. Visit

About the National Alliance for Black Business (NABB)

The NABB represents a historic partnership between the NBL, the NBCC, and a consortium of Black-led national organizations dedicated to a unified global Black business agenda. Visit

About the National Business League (NBL)

The NBL, founded by the legendary Booker T. Washington, is the nation's first and oldest trade association for Black business and celebrates 123 years of service to Black business and the African diaspora. Visit

About the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)

The NBCC is the largest federation of Black Chambers of Commerce in the world and celebrates 30 years of service to Black businesses throughout the United States and internationally. Visit

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