MBDA Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Agency Hosts 2018 National AAPI Business Summit with White House and Commerce Officials, Panels and More

WASHINGTON (May 22, 2018) — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) with a day-long celebration Tuesday, May 15 featuring remarks from White House officials, panels focused on supplier partnerships and procurement, as well as discussions on the successes and challenges for millennial Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Karen Dunn Kelley, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, performing the nonexclusive duties and functions of the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, delivered a keynote address at the 2018 National AAPI Business Summit that discussed the many contributions AAPI-owned businesses have made to the U.S. economy. Kelley noted that from 2007 to 2012, Asian-owned businesses in the U.S. increased 24 percent, while the number of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander-owned businesses expanded 45 percent.

“Secretary Ross and this administration believe minority-owned businesses play an important role in communities and in creating jobs and growth in the American economy,” Under Secretary Kelley said.

Under Secretary Kelley also highlighted two standout Asian-owned businesses supported by local MBDA business centers: Leasa Industries, a Miami-based bean sprout and tofu company, and Mellish Island, a sea cucumber processor and exporter to China with a U.S. headquarters in San Dimas, California.

After remarks from Holly Ham, Executive Director for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Mercedes Schlapp, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Strategic Communication, MBDA National Acting Director Edith McCloud joined Ham on stage to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support and advocate for AAPI-owned businesses.

Two of the most notable Asian Americans serving in U.S. government also gave remarks at the National AAPI Business Summit: Elaine L. Chao, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and the highest-ranking Asian American cabinet member, and Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

MBDA closed out the National AAPI Business Summit with a celebration by celebrity Asian chefs. The aroma of Chinese, Filipino and Indonesian cuisine filled the air, as the Department of Commerce lobby transformed into a bustling food court. Chef Widjiono (Yono) Purnomo of Yono’s Restaurant in Albany, New York, Chefs Michael Chen and Rusong Dai of New China Taste in Alexandria, Virginia, and Chef Patrice Cleary of Purple Patch in Washington D.C., prepared sample dishes for attendees, showcasing a variety of Asian dishes.

New Advocacy Fact Sheet Highlights Some Reasons Why Businesses Close

A new fact sheet by Office of Advocacy Research Economist Brian Headd titled, “Why Do Businesses Close,” using U.S. Census Bureau data, states that over the last 25 years, about 7–9 percent of employer firms close every year and a slightly higher share open.

These figures from Census’s Business Dynamics Statistics have been trending down, illustrating a decline in business turnover. According to the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, of the businesses with employees that closed in 2015, the top reasons for closing were low sales, the owner(s) retiring, and the owner(s) selling the business. With the next top reasons being opening another firm and illness/injury, it shows that many owners close for personal or health reasons not just business reasons.

Headd also cited data from the Survey of Business Owners that despite credit being tight; it is having less of an impact on pushing businesses to close. While business credit was a relatively large reason for business closures at the onset of the Great Recession, Headd writes, more recently, it has been a relatively small reason.

SBA Administrator Appoints New Members to Veterans Advisory Committees


WASHINGTON –SBA Administrator Linda McMahon has named seven new members to three-year terms on the Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA) and one new member to a two-year term on the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF).

Both committees serve as independent sources of advice and policy recommendations to the SBA Administrator, the Associate Administrator of the Office of Veterans Business Development, Congress, the President, and other U.S. policy makers under Section 203 of the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999. Both ACVBA and IATF committees are established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

“It’s an honor to appoint these veteran champions to each Veterans Small Business Advisory Committee. Their commitment to improving the accessibility of resources for our veteran-owned small businesses is unmatched,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said. “I look forward to hosting them at SBA headquarters for their first meeting as official committee members. Together, we can achieve more for our veteran and military small business owners.”

The new member of the IATF, appointed to a two-year term is:

  • William Hubbard, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Student Veterans of America. Hubbard has served as an active reservist in the U.S. Marine Corps for nine years.

The new members of the ACVBA, appointed to a three-year term, include:

  • Brandon Webb, Founder and CEO of the Hurricane Group. Webb is a former Navy SEAL, having served for more than 21 years.
  • Evan Hafer, Founder and CEO of Black Rifle Coffee Company. Hafer is an Army veteran, serving 14 years with the U.S. Army Special Forces.
  • Elijah Crane, Founder and CEO of Bottle Breacher, LLC. Crane is a Navy veteran, serving 13 years as a Navy SEAL.
  • Brandon Shelton, Founder and Managing Partner of Task Force X Capital Management. Shelton is an Army veteran, serving 20 years as an Army Airborne Infantry Officer and Intelligence Officer.  
  • Alexander Fender Jr., Founder and Director of Marketing & Sales at Funnel Science, LLC. Fender Jr. is a Marine veteran, serving four years on active duty and four years as an active reservist for the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Glenn Banton Sr., CEO of Operation Supply Drop Inc.  Banton is a champion for veterans, through his support of the military community as a leader of social, professional, and service-oriented global programs.
  • Sean Gwinner, Program Director of Bunker Labs. Gwinner is an Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Both IATF and ACVBA meetings are open to the public and held quarterly at SBA headquarters, 409 3rd Street SW, Washington D.C.  20416. The next IATF meeting will be held Wednesday, June 6, from 1 to 4 p.m.  The ACVBA will meet on Thursday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The committee meetings will be accessible via teleconference at 888-858-2144, access code: 7805798#, and on webinar at https://connect16.uc.att.com/sba/meet/?ExEventID=87805798.

Both public meeting transcripts may also be found at www.sba.gov/ovbd under section heading, “Federal Advisory Committees,” following each meeting.

Please email any questions to veteransbusiness@sba.gov or call (202) 205-6337.