2020 is shaping up to be a tumultuous year for the world and country, not to mention small business owners. It also presents a sense of urgency to harness technology and e-commerce.
A new initiative announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and collaborator Amazon Business, will empower minority business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups to do just that.
The national effort, dubbed the Minority Business and Technology Initiative, aspires to help thousands of minority entrepreneurs expand their businesses globally and increase sales exponentially through e-commerce technology.
As the fastest-growing category of small businesses, minority-owned businesses are significant contributors to the economic vitality of U.S. communities, the MBDA states. The Minority Business and Technology Initiative (MBTI) will provide participating minority-owned businesses with guidance, information, and resources to harness the power of the internet and reach more business customers in nine countries around the globe where Amazon Business is available.
“This collaboration with Amazon Business is an important step into the future. After a yearlong pilot to test, gather feedback, and assess scalability, we are excited to launch the MBTI,” said Henry Childs II, MBDA National Director. “Global e-commerce sales are anticipated to hit over $3 trillion by the end of 2020. Further, Forrester, projects e-commerce sales in the U.S. alone to reach $892 billion by 2022. The MBTI will provide tremendous opportunities for minority-owned businesses in the rapidly changing world of commerce.”
MBTI will leverage resources and content from the Amazon Small Business Academy, with a specific focus on accelerating B2B capabilities of minority-owned businesses through interactive programming. The initiative will feature training seminars, led by Amazon Business experts, that focus on increasing revenue, exporting, mentorship, job growth, and raising corporate capital.
“We are deeply committed to giving small business owners the help and guidance they seek to take advantage of digital business opportunities,” said Anne Rung, Public Sector Director at Amazon Business. “The Minority Business and Technology Initiative will harness the educational content of our Small Business Academy that was launched in 2019. The Initiative will benefit small businesses in both urban and rural communities, as well as those that are brand-new companies to those that have existed for generations.”
According to the 2019 Amazon Small Business Impact Report, third party selling partners, which consist of primarily small and medium-sized businesses account for more than half of everything sold in Amazon’s online stores and have created more than 1.6 million jobs worldwide.
Amazon Business and MBDA will launch the first Minority Business and Technology Initiative webinar event in April, hosted by the San Antonio MBDA Export Center. The free program will provide minority-owned businesses with insights, best practices, and skills needed to start and grow online, or to expand an existing business with e-commerce.
To learn more about Minority Business and Technology Initiative and webinar registration, visit www.mbda.gov/MBTI.