For many families, a business is more than a job, it is the fulfillment of a dream: a better life, a family heritage, a place in the community. Minority businesses in particular are the heart and soul of so many communities across our nation. From Wall Street to Main Street, over 9.2 million Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) support jobs and generate more than $ 1.8 trillion for our economy each year. During Minority Enterprise Development Week, our nation recognizes the importance of minority-owned businesses and the impact they have on every community.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to test American businesses like few events in our nation’s history, MBEs and minority business owners have shown remarkable resilience, working 24 hours a day and adapting to changes to keep their businesses running and their employees working safely. Despite these efforts, minority-owned businesses have been disproportionately hit hard, with many forced to close due to lost revenue and many more hanging by a thread.
My administration is committed to supporting minority entrepreneurs and minority-owned businesses. On day one of my tenure, I signed an executive order directing the entire federal government to advance fairness for underserved communities across our country, particularly with respect to federal procurement. In order to help our struggling businesses during the darkest times of the pandemic, my administration revamped the Paycheck Protection Program to provide better access to small businesses, including minority-owned businesses.
Because the federal government is the nation’s biggest buyer, purchasing $ 600 billion worth of goods and services each year, and because these purchases not only meet the needs of our nation but also provide economic opportunities, I recently announced a new target to increase the share of contracts awarded to disadvantaged small businesses by 50% over the next 5 years. In addition, my bipartite infrastructure agreement will extend the authority and stature of the Minority Business Development Agency within the Department of Commerce so that it can continue to break down barriers, open new avenues, and eliminate the unique challenges facing businesses. Minority-owned businesses are faced with access to capital, contracts and market pathways to success.
During Minority Enterprise Development Week, we recognize that our nation and our economy are stronger because of the hard-working men and women who make up America’s minority business community. They consistently show courage to overcome adversity, seize opportunities and contribute to our common prosperity.
THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by authority conferred on me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, hereby proclaim September 19 2021, until September 25, 2021, as Minority Business Development Week. I call on the people of the United States to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of minority-owned entrepreneurs and businesses, and together make a commitment to promote systemic economic equality.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have appended my signature this seventeenth day of September, in the year of grace two thousand and twenty-one, and of the independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and forty-six .
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.