On June 15, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross named David J. Byrd the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) new national director. Byrd is no stranger to the agency, having served as deputy director since November under Henry Childs II, who left the agency in May. In his new role, Byrd will manage the development of agency initiatives, implement its policy agenda, and make final decisions on grant allocations.
The MBDA, established in 1969, aims to fuel the American economy by supporting Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) through research and policy initiatives. With an estimated $42 million budget and 50 employees, the agency funds loans and grants, operates business centers which provide direct advice to minority entrepreneurs, and produces analyses of the landscape and trends of MBEs.
Prior to joining the Minority Business Development Agency, Byrd held several senior advisory roles at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), culminating in his appointment as deputy assistant secretary in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. Before that, Byrd served on the Trump Transition Team, providing guidance on executive appointments and HUD policies. In 2003, Byrd started his own business, Byrd’s Eye LLC, a political consulting and executive coaching firm.
The MBDA mission is especially pressing due to the current widespread need for assistance: “We know that this is a very critical time to access resources and re-evaluate business strategies,” Byrd said in a virtual series, noting the particularly damaging impact COVID-19 has wrought on minority-owned businesses. He also celebrated broader socioeconomic trends, sharing that in the past five years firms owned by women of color have grown by 42%, generating over $ 400 billion in revenue annually, data which he called “absolutely astounding.”