Efrain Gonzalez will open the 2016 REAP Summit on Friday morning, September 30th, at the Pensacola Grand Hotel (formerly the Crown Plaza) in Downtown Pensacola.  Gonzalez will speak on a high-level overview of the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA’s) impact in the nation and on the Gulf Coast; MBDA efforts to support the Gulf Coast Recovery, the implementation of the Restore Act, the fair distribution of Triumph Gulf Coast funds (BP Oil Spill Settlement funds) in Florida, and specifically the inclusion of local minority business enterprises; in addition he will speak on MBDA’s Inclusive Innovation Initiative (tech transfer), and provide key information to the audience on MBDA’s Broad Agency Announcement of funding opportunities.

Dr. Calvin Avant, the CEO, and Pastor of Unity in the Family Ministry, spearheading the REAP Summit said, “We really need to spread the word to our Black and Minority Business community to turn out to hear the presentation of the Minority Business Development Agency official.  The agency is showing its commitment to the Black and minority communities receiving BP Oil Spill Settlement funds for projects in our neighborhoods for jobs and business development”!

The State of Florida is receiving $2 Billion from the BP Oil Spill Settlement negotiated by Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General. The Florida Legislature created Triumph Gulf Coast, a nonprofit corporation, to oversee 75% of the $2 Billion or $1.5 Billion targeting the eight counties most affected by the oil spill. Those counties are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin, and Wakulla Counties. Dr. Victor Ibeanusi, The Dean of Florida A&M University’s School of the Environment, will report on the Apalachicola Regional Summit to Ensure Equitable Community Impacts of BP Oil Spill Settlement Funds on July 29th.  Dr. Calvin Avant was in attendance at the event and advised the attendees that a regional non-profit should be formed to represent the minority communities of Northwest Florida’s eight hardest hit oil spill counties. Dr. Ibeanusi will report on the progress of their efforts at the REAP Summit’s Friday morning session.

Gonzalez serves as Associate Director of Business Development at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. He oversees the Agency’s business development operations and programs. The Office of Business Development is responsible for creating, developing and implementing innovative solutions to address the challenges faced by minority-owned businesses such as access to capital, access to contracts, access to new domestic and international markets and capacity building. He is one of MBDA’s longstanding leaders and has served in numerous roles at MBDA throughout his 15-year long-standing minority business development government career at the Department of Commerce.

Prior to returning to MBDA, Efrain served as Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer to BusinessUSA, a Presidential Initiative focused on making it easier for entrepreneurs and business owners to access the right government resources to start and grow their business. At BusinessUSA, Efrain established operations and strategic partnerships that incorporated new technology and private sector approaches to better serve businesses.

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