Take Our Minority Business Development Questionnaire
The information gathered will provide a comprehensive image of the Arab American business presence in the US.
Goal of the Questionnaire
The Arab American Minority Business Questionnaire will allow ADC to put together a comprehensive accounting of the Arab American business presence across the United States. This nationwide approach will provide a unique insight into our community, one that will inform our work and allow ADC to better serve the Arab American community. The results of the questionnaire will also assist ADC in creating a strong and robust submission to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) requesting recognition of the Arab American community.
What information is ADC collecting through its Questionnaire?
In order to ensure that ADC is able to gather a robust data set we will be collecting detailed information on both business operations and finances, as well as individual demographic information. This will allow us to determine where Arab American-owned businesses are located, what industries they work in, the types of capital they have access to, and whether any barriers exist to expansion and growth. All of the data that ADC collects will be anonymized in any public report, and no identifying information will ever be shared outside of ADC.
Examples of the important information requested through the Questionnaire include:
- A business’s most recent interest rate;
- The type of capital was used to start the business;
- Whether the owner was born in the United States or abroad; and
- What country the owner’s family comes from
All of this information, while specific, will provide a comprehensive image of the Arab American business presence in the United States. Currently, neither ADC nor the federal government has the ability to appropriately direct resources and programming to the Arab American business community. The questionnaire will supply ADC with a snapshot, and provide us with valuable information to better serve, and advocate for, Arab American business owners and entrepreneurs.
What is the MBDA and what does it do?
Established in 1969 by Executive Order 11458, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is an agency in the Department of Commerce that solely focuses on promoting growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses in the United States through providing access to capital, contracts, and market opportunities in both domestic and global markets. The enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021 established the MBDA as a permanent agency and nearly tripled its annual funding (from $42 million to $110 million).
In order to provide assistance to a business, the majority owner must be considered a “socially or economically disadvantaged minority”. In general the MBDA determines this at the group level, where an individual business or business owner must be a member of a presumed socially or economically disadvantaged group. As part of the executive order establishing the agency, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans (including Native Hawaiians and Alaskan Natives) were listed as eligible groups. In 1984, three additional groups were formally added to this list of socially and economically disadvantaged groups: Hasidic Jews, Asian Pacific Americans, and Asian Indians.
In order to be included in this list, additional groups can submit an application to the MBDA. This application must include persuasive evidence that the group faces racial or ethnic prejudice, or cultural bias that affects the group’s ability to participate “in the business world”. The MBDA does not factor the size of a business when providing its services, any business of any size that is majority owned by a determined minority is eligible to take advantage of MBDA programming.
The MBDA primarily functions by supporting and investing in a national network of Business Centers, Specialty Centers, and Grantees.
Business Centers - The 35 current Business Centers, located in areas with high concentrations of minority populations and businesses, provide business experts that assist businesses in improving operational efficiencies, building scale, accessing and securing financing, equity, and venture capital, and competing for contracts. These Business Centers are the primary way that the MBDA supports minority businesses.
Specialty Centers - The MBDA also supports Centers that provide specialized business development services and technical assistance. These include Export Centers that seek to expand access to new and global markets, and help in identifying, screening, promoting, and referring minority businesses to exporting resources; Advanced Manufacturing Centers that assist advanced manufacturing minority businesses in obtaining large-scale contracts, accessing established supply chains, facilitating entry and large-scale transitions in global markets, and supporting minority businesses in joint ventures, teaming arrangements, mergers, and acquisitions; and the Federal Procurement Center that provides services designed to generate increased federal procurement and acquisition opportunities for minority businesses.
Grantees - While the MBDA does not provide grants to individual businesses, it does provide grants to programs and initiatives that are not addressed through the agency’s existing Business and Specialty Center programs. These include the Equity Multiplier Project, the Enterprising Women of Color initiative, multiple American Indian Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian projects and initiatives, Entrepreneurship Education Programs for Former Incarcerated Persons, the Inner City Innovation Hub Program, and Minority Colleges and Universities.
What are the ADC focus groups?
A key piece of the Minority Business Project will be focus groups in cities nationwide. In each city, ADC staff will be engaging with Arab American-owned businesses and business associations, hosting roundtables, visiting businesses, and meeting with stakeholders. These focus groups will focus on participation in the questionnaire, through familiarizing relevant parties both with why it is being conducted as well as why the requested information is so important. They will also be an opportunity for ADC to hear directly from business owners, address any concerns, and discuss what can be done on the local level. Anyone interested in participating in these focus groups can reach out to ADC Legislative and Policy Coordinator Chris Habiby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While ADC has, and will continue to, consult with leading academics and researchers in developing both the questionnaire and the MBDA submission, the primary staff members working on this project are: