Buy MBE Day

Announcing “Buy MBE Day” on September 19, 2020

The national network of MBDA Business and Specialty Centers partner to launch the inaugural awareness campaign to promote minority business enterprises

ATLANTA- 08/31/20 – In honor of the 2020 National Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week), the Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business and Advanced Manufacturing Centers will launch “Buy MBE Day” on Saturday, September 19th.  The Atlanta MBDA Centers will join the national network of MBDA Business and Specialty Centers across the country in demonstrating support and commitment to the minority business community. 

The inaugural launch is intended to encourage corporations, government buyers, and individuals to shop and purchase goods and services from their local minority-owned business community. Buy MBE Day also offers an important forum for helping generate awareness of the economic and quality of life contributions made by minority firms.

“We are extremely proud of the businesses we serve, working to create greater access to capital, contracts, and markets,” said Donna M. Ennis, C.P.F., Project Director, Atlanta MBDA Centers. “We’re gearing up for Buy MBE Day to do all we can to help promote and commemorate the day throughout our community and inspire others to spend more dollars with our local minority-owned businesses.”

The inaugural awareness campaign launches on the last day of the MED Week, a national observance by presidential proclamation, whose week-long events feature award presentations, industry sessions, and networking opportunities in a dynamic virtual environment.  Joining forces with the national network of MBDA Business Centers and Specialty Centers, the Atlanta Centers will champion and promote support for minority-owned firms and aid in addressing the devastating impacts of business disruptions and economic hardships that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “As we continue putting out our “Open for Business” signs, we want to encourage everyone to consciously start supporting and doing more business with minority-owned business enterprises from this national awareness day and beyond. Every citizen’s dedication to supporting minority-owned businesses can make a resounding difference in urban and rural communities.  Supporting these firms is good business and strengthens the overall health of our Nation’s economy,” said Ennis.

To learn more about the “Buy MBE Day 2020” national initiative and how to participate visit www.MBDA.gov/BuyMBEDay.

About Atlanta MBDA Centers:
As part of a national network of 30 centers, the Atlanta MBDA Business & Advanced Manufacturing Centers help MBEs access capital, increase profitability, and scale their businesses. Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce MBDA, the Atlanta MBDA Centers are part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. To learn more, please visit https://mbdabusinesscenter-atlanta.org/.

About Donna Ennis: 
Donna Ennis, C.P.F is the project director for the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center and the Atlanta MBDA Business Center at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2). A Certified Professional Facilitator, Donna is responsible for the strategic direction, marketing, outreach, and operations for both Centers and provides assistance to Center clients in strategic, business and market planning; private and public procurement, finance, operations, and business process improvement.

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Client Spotlight: Montina Portis

Small Business Week: Celebrating Minority Business Enterprises

Montina Young Portis, CEO
& Founder of CIA Media Group

The Atlanta MBDA Centers are part of a national network of more than 40 centers and special projects that help minority business enterprises (MBEs) access markets, opportunities and capital; increase profitability; and scale and grow their businesses. The centers are funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and operated by the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s economic development outreach unit.

Over the past 15 years, the Atlanta MBDA Centers have created a network of partners which consist of finance companies, corporations, certifying bodies and industry experts that assists in the scale and growth of our clients. A synergy is created as our resources collaborate, creating a community of leaders dedicated to building small businesses.

Recently, Montina Young Portis became a center client and has continued to ride the success wave. She interviewed with ACE, a strategic partner of the Atlanta MBDA Centers, and discussed her inspiring journey.

Check out the article below.

Montina Young Portis was a single parent posting videos on YouTube as a hobby. She amassed 12,000 subscribers to her channel and realized she had a knack for business and storytelling. Six years ago, she launched Creative Internet Authority, rebranded in 2018 as CIA Media Group, a nationwide video production and creative marketing agency that helps companies develop communications content and provides guidance on messaging strategies and external communications, thought leadership strategies and overall communications using videos.

“I spent the last 10 years using videos to share information online and nearly 20 years working in various careers including education, corporate training and information technology,” she says. “I spent several years researching and implementing the most effective video marketing strategies online.” She took a comprehensive approach with her clients. “My goal was always to tell more than just one story,” she says. “We produce 10 to 25 videos that do more than just promote services – they help clients establish themselves as authorities and thought leaders.”

Business was good, but the interest rate on her loan was a burden. When she met ACE founder Grace Fricks in 2014, she saw possibilities. “When I first applied, my application was denied but, I didn’t give up.  A few years later, I reapplied and was approved! I worked diligently with Bonita Doster and she guided me through the process. By refinancing my loan, the payments were reduced from $5,000 a month to a more manageable $800,” she says. “This resulted in a 79 percent increase in my 2018 revenues.”

Last year, Portis expanded the scope of her business to include several Fortune 500 companies, universities as well as government agencies. Her company has several certifications including Woman Business Enterprise (WBENC) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Her team consists of two full-time employees, 2 part-time employees and has reached $1 million in sales.

Portis overcame long odds and many setbacks to become a successful entrepreneur, and she often shares her story to inspire others. “I was abandoned when I was 18 months old by my mother, and my father was in prison where he later passed after serving 19 years of a 20 year sentence,” she says. “By the age of 18, I was pregnant and living in a Y.W.C.A., and by 19 I was living in a homeless shelter with my 9 month old baby and pregnant again.”

Not one to give up, she got her G.E.D. and enrolled at Kent State, earning a bachelor’s degree in education and ultimately earning a master’s degree in management and organizational development from the University of Phoenix. “I’m proof that no matter who you are or what you do, anything is possible,” she says.

She recently completed studies at Cornell and was part of the Bank of America Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, and won a pitch competition and a $5,000 scholarship to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Her company was recognized by the Horizon Interactive Awards, a prestigious international competition for interactive media producers. She also works with Karen Malaga and takes full advantage of ACE’s advisory services.

“At this point, even though I probably could get traditional financing, I still would stick with ACE,” she says. “They offer so much more than just capital alone. They provide so many helpful resources including a business advisor, bookkeeping, webinars and networking opportunities. Plus, they really care. That makes a difference to me.”