For 50 years, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has led Federal Government efforts to provide focused business support to a critical sector of the U.S. economy- our nation’s 5.8 million minority-owned firms.Minority-owned firms contribute to local economies and provide much-needed jobs for Americans of all backgrounds and cultures. They operate in urban centers and rural communities. They create jobs and expand tax bases which, in turn, allow our communities to grow and thrive. Minority firms provide nearly 6 million Americans with sustainable jobs and build wealth in our communities. These firms are a critical part of the national economy and their growth is a key to expanding the middle class.This session discussion will explore trends, ideas, and barriers to how the minority business community can continue to grow and be a driving force for the economy.