Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published October 03, 2011


Brown addresses state of minority business enterprises in Maryland

GREENBELT, Md. (October 3, 2011) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown hosted the MBE University Conference today at the Greenbelt Marriott Hotel to support Maryland’s minority and women-owned businesses and to highlight the State’s progress with minority business enterprises. This is the eighth in a series of conferences around the state offering training, opportunities and information on the tools necessary for minority and women-owned businesses to expand, create jobs, and thrive even in difficult economic times.

Today’s conference in Greenbelt focused on emerging markets and positioning small and minority businesses with public/private sector opportunities, attracting more than 300 interested attendees to the event. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L Baker, III; Andrew M. Bertamini, President, Greater Maryland Community Banking, Wells Fargo Bank; Thomas H. Graham, President, Pepco Region; Karen Campbell, Regional Vice President, Public Policy, Verizon; Laura Welsh, Manager Supply Chain, Contract Management and Supplier Diversity, Washington Gas; Jerry N. Johnson, General Manager/CEO, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC); and Rhonda Slade, President & CEO, Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce also attended the event.

“Investing in Maryland’s small and minority-owned businesses is critical not only for supporting our working families and creating jobs, but for building a stronger, more diverse economy,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Governor O’Malley and I are dedicated to strengthening our workforce and providing Marylanders with the vital information and resources they need to successfully open new doors in their communities and continue to thrive for years to come.”

“As we seek to turn the corner from recession to prosperity, our mission is simple: to create jobs, to save jobs, to improve the conditions that empower businesses to create and save jobs,” said Governor O’Malley. “In your state government we have the most ambitious goal for Minority Business Enterprise in the United States of America. MBE University is designed to help us exceed them, together.”

At the conference, participants attended Business to Business Speed Dating Power Sessions and workshops that provided information on small business resources, procurement opportunities with state, local and private sectors, access to capital, leveraging MBE certification, best practices that support supplier diversity, utilization, and emerging opportunities. MBE University sponsors and partners included Wells Fargo, Verizon, Pepco, Washington Gas, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union, Prince George’s County, Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce, McMillon Communications, Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development, and the Maryland Department of General Services.

“Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland continues to be a leader in minority business enterprise,” said Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Special Secretary Luwanda Jenkins. “MBE University is a more focused outreach effort designed to connect Maryland’s minority and women-owned firms with vital opportunities and resources.”

Maryland has an aggressive and progressive MBE Program and has established the highest minority and women-owned business contracting goals in the nation at 25 percent. In addition, Maryland is one of a few states with an MBE law in statute and remains the only state in the nation to collect uniform reporting data including actual payments to MBEs.

In Fiscal Year 2010, Maryland state agencies achieved 23.2 percent MBE participation - the highest level ever attained during the history of the program. These include $1.4 billion in awards to MBE firms, and $1.1 billion in payments to MBE firms for services rendered on state contracts and procurements. This payment activity generated $42 million in tax revenues and helped to create or save more than 19,000 jobs.

MBE University was created in collaboration with the State’s minority business coordinating agencies and the Governor’s Office. The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) is the lead agency for this effort.

For more information on the MBE University initiative, contact the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs at 410-767-8232 or visit