Eastern Regional MBDA Annual Awards Honors Minority Entrepreneurs And Microsoft’s Build Your Business Tour

NEW YORK, Oct. 23, 2001 — The Microsoft® Build Your Business Tour was recognized by the Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week 2001 and the Eastern Regional Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) during its annual celebration held yesterday in New York City to honor the contributions of America’s minority entrepreneurs and supporters. Twenty-four awards were presented to some of the region’s leading minority entrepreneurs and those individuals, organizations and companies that actively support minority businesses, including the Legislative Accomplishment Award presented to U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., and the Public Business Advocate Award presented to U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velasquez, D-N.Y. Microsoft Corp. received top honors, garnering the Distinguished Corporate Award for the Build Your Business Tour, which kicks off its second year next month.

“I commend Microsoft for its outstanding support of minority businesses,”
said Ron Langston, national director for the Minority Business Development Agency.
“This award is a true testament to the company’s commitment to leveling the playing field for all Americans. The Bush administration, along with the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, is committed to empowering minority businesses with the necessary tools to achieve higher levels of success.”

Overall, in 1997, minority-owned firms made up 15 percent of the nation’s businesses and generated 3 percent of all receipts, according to the most recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau said that receipts of minority-owned firms rose 60 percent to $335.3 billion in 1997, compared with a 40 percent increase for all U.S. firms that year.

“Technology is helping businesses of every size. At Microsoft, we know and understand how critical it is, for our country and our future, to continue our part to make sure minority businesses have access to and are empowered by technology,”
said Erik Renaud, vice president of the U.S. Central Region at Microsoft.
“Through the Build Your Business Tour, we have been able to directly support minority entrepreneurs and show how viable and rewarding technology is for small-business owners.”

The Build Your Business Tour was created in the belief that technology is important to the success of African-American and Hispanic small-business owners. The tour partners include small-business owners Tavis Smiley, president and CEO of the Smiley Group Inc., and Jeff Lopez, president of Dekra-Lite Industries Inc.; corporate sponsors Compaq Computer Corp. and CompUSA Inc.; and small-business sponsors the U. S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. The national tour includes 185 business workshops covering topics from developing a Web site and expanding market share to using census data to build a customer base. The 2001 and 2002 tour cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Oakland, Calif., San Antonio, Seattle and Washington. The tour begins with events on Nov. 8 in Miami and Nov. 13 in Washington.

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