Raleigh Oct 7, 2021 Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed October 2021 as Minority Enterprise Development Month to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of minority businesses, corporations and financial institutions throughout the state. On Friday, Oct. 8, the N.C. Department of Administration’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses will open a Minority Business Development Center in the Research Triangle Park to help support minority enterprises. The center is funded with a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the MBDA program. MBDA business centers provide minority-owned firms a platform to reach global and domestic markets, enhancing growth, access to capital, contract opportunities and assistance in identifying strategic partners. “Historically underutilized businesses are an asset to our state’s workforce and economy and play a critical role in our state’s innovation and success,” said Governor Cooper. “This center will provide them with the tools they need to continue to grow.” According to the U.S. Small Business Administration 2021 Small Business Profile, racial minorities make up 29.1 percent of workers and own 19.3 percent of businesses in North Carolina. North Carolina women make up 47.9 percent of workers and own 44.2 percent of businesses across the state. “The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, but particularly for communities of color who were hit the hardest,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “While we take this opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of our minority businesses, we also must continue providing resources to help these enterprises thrive post-pandemic.” U.S. Department of Commerce Acting National Director of MBDA Miguel Estién will join Cashwell and N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Sanders for the 10 a.m. opening ceremony. The new Minority Business Development Center will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8 am to 5 pm, beginning Oct.11. The declaration of October as Minority Enterprise Development Month and opening of the Minority Business Development Center are the latest efforts to support Historically Underutilized Businesses which are an integral part of Governor Cooper’s vision for an inclusive environment that works for all people. In June 2020, Cooper established the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force to help create economic stability, eliminate health disparities and achieve environmental justice in North Carolina. Additionally, the RETOOLNC grant program has provided over $15 million in funding to eligible small, minority and women-owned businesses. Through the end of the year, cities across the state will host educational workshops and events that commemorate the accomplishments of minority entrepreneurs and affirm North Carolina’s commitment to the principle of equal opportunity. Find more information on the NC Minority Business Development Center and other events on the NCDOA website. ### About NC DOA and the Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses The North Carolina Department of Administration acts as the business manager for North Carolina state government. Under the leadership of Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell, the department oversees government operations and advocacy programs. The department's advocacy programs help to promote and assist diverse segments of the state's population that have been traditionally underserved. Since 1999, the Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) has been instrumental in advocating and promoting the use of minority and women-owned businesses in the state procurement and contracting process.