Gulf Coast Minority Business Development Agency Centers Are Closed
By Tony McCray
Mobile and New Orleans Gulf Coast Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Centers are no longer operating under the Trump Administration. Houston is the last of the Gulf Coast MBDA Center still operating during a time when $20.8 Billion is available through the BP Oil Spill Economic Settlement between BP, the five Gulf Coast States, and the federal government. One of the last Executive Directors of a MBDA Center, along the central Gulf Coast, was Mrs. Pamela Ramos-Brown in the Mobile Center operating under the auspices of the Mobile Chamber of Commerce.
In an exclusive interview with Mrs. Brown and the Gulf Coast Voice Newspaper, she shared her vision for professionally remaining engaged in the field of minority business development during this crucial time in American History. Brown stated that, “I have been involved with minority business development for some time in addition to being an entrepreneur myself incorporating the Ramos Group in 2005, providing management consulting and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification. I became involved with the Mobile Minority Business Development Agency Center in 2006 serving mainly the Gulf Coast. We assisted several national firms, however most of our services were focused on Mobile and the Greater Gulf Coast communities, such as Pensacola to the east and the Mississippi Gulf Coast to the west”.
“Realizing the gap left with the MBDA Centers closing, my vision, now, is to utilize my experiences to work with local community leadership and give minority low-income communities a boost with sustainability and inclusion initiatives. I am now working with ACF Enterprises, LLC, a company that is devoted to providing professional business development training to instruct on the fundamentals of sustainability, diversity, and economic inclusion. For example, we have a ‘Best Practice Certificate Training’ which is available online or as a full-day seminar with online follow up. Building for the Future ensures low-income residents are employed and small, diverse businesses can effectively compete for contracts and subcontracts”.
When asked what is her assessment of the minority business community along the Gulf Coast, particularly the Mobile-Pensacola area, Mrs. Brown responded that she believed the first response to the question should be from the macro-level. “I believe we should begin with an analysis of what services minority businesses are providing and then examine what are the business opportunities in the targeted communities and where do we need to fill in the gaps. I believe that most of the times minorities compete in industries that are not high-growth or the most relevant industries so we need to see what companies are prepared to fulfill the needs in the high-growth areas. The skills of many minority entrepreneurs are transferable and we need to see who is willing to make a transition to the high-growth arena”.
Brown shared that she is preparing to continue her outreach to Pensacola and Northwest Florida particularly with her involvement with ACF Enterprises, LLC and their emphasis on providing professional business development training to instruct on the fundamentals of sustainability, diversity, and economic inclusion.