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Showing posts from 2023

2023 Contracting Summit: Equity in Government Contracting, Henry Bridgers, Grinnell College, Intern.

On Thursday, September 14th, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) hosted the  2023 Contracting Summit: Equity in Government Contracting . At this event, public sector representatives and government contractors gathered in the  White House Eisenhower Executive Office building  to discuss current initiatives and contracting opportunities for minority business enterprises (MBEs). The Summit began with a welcome by  Donald R. Cravins , Under Secretary of Commerce for the MBDA.  Mr. Cravins  gave a brief overview of the issues minority businesses face, drawing attention to the lack of minority representation in contracting.   After Mr. Cravins' address, Gene B. Sperling, Senior Advisor to the President, shared brief remarks before returning to the White House to address issues concerning the  United Auto Workers’ Strike in Michigan . Public Sector Panel: Overview and Updates on Federal Investments The next session was the  Public Se

Unlocking Financial Success: Recent Developments in SBA 7(a) Lending

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and their success is vital for overall economic growth. Yet, one of the biggest challenges these businesses face is accessing the capital they need to grow, hire, and innovate. This is where the Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7(a) loan program comes in. **### What Is the MBDA Program? ###** The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. **### What Is the SBA 7(a) Loan Program? ###** The SBA 7(a) loan program is the SBA's primary business loan program, aimed at providing financial assistance to small businesses. It offers loans that can be used for various purposes, including: Acquiring, Refinancing, or Improving Real Estate and Buildings: Whether you're looking to purchase a new property, expand your existing one, or refu

North Korea's Perspective on BRICS Expansion. Jeongmin Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are moving to establish a new international monetary system to replace the U.S. dollar. North Korea claims that the current international economic order is unfair, centered on the U.S. dollar, and welcomes the expansion of the BRICS to break this unequal order.  "The unprecedented international movement to restrict the use of the Dala (dollar) and the trend of many countries joining the BRICS are accelerating the end of the dollar as a key currency and the subsequent end of U.S. hegemony," the (North) Korean Central News Agency KCNA said in a report issued under the name of international critic Jung Il-hyun. "It is a well-known fact that the dollar-based international monetary system has become the second pillar of the U.S. global hegemony along with military means," the news agency said. "A representative example is financial sanctions imposed on Russia after the Ukraine crisis." BRICS countr

Black America Should Apply for Membership in BRICS

In a world that constantly evolves and redefines the dynamics of power and influence, the time has come for African Americans to explore innovative avenues that can bolster their collective progress. One such opportunity lies in seeking membership within the BRICS alliance – a coalition of emerging economies that has reshaped global diplomacy and economic dynamics. By advocating for African American inclusion in BRICS, we can pave the way for enhanced socio-economic empowerment, representation, and collaboration on an international scale. BRICS, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, represents a formidable force in the global arena. This group brings together nations that share common challenges and aspirations, including a desire to break free from historical patterns of cultural dominance. The potential benefits for African Americans to engage with BRICS are significant and multifaceted: 1. Economic Empowerment: The BRICS economies contribute significantly to t

Before the Emergence of BRICS: Non-Aligned Movements and Unity. Gregory Savioz-Buck, University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

BRICS refers to the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, enlarged in 2010 with addition of South Africa to the predecessor BRIC. Before the emergence of the BRICS, there were several non-aligned movements and groups formed in response to the Cold War and a desire to maintain sovereignty.  These coalitions were born out of the preference to remain independent, steering clear of aligning with major superpowers during the Cold War. These movements sought to safeguard their national interests, maintain self-determination, and forge a path distinct from the ideological struggles of the era. Here are a few examples: Non-Aligned Movement (NAM): The most prominent and well-known non-aligned group was the Non-Aligned Movement, founded in 1961. It consisted of newly independent countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The NAM aimed to remain neutral in the Cold War conflicts and promoted peaceful coexistence, decolonization, and economic cooperation among member sta

Fearless Fund Lawsuit part of a disturbing trend

This complex tale of systemic inequality pivots around a recent legal clash. The American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER), founded by a conservative activist instrumental in the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision rejecting affirmative action, has taken aim at an Atlanta-based venture capital fund: the Fearless Fund. This fund stands as a vital force in supporting Black women-owned small businesses, providing them a platform for growth and empowerment. Notably, the Fearless Fund has also backed African American-owned enterprises like Capway, as they venture into the competitive fintech space. See:

Reaction to the Montana Youth Climate Case. Jeongmin Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

In a landmark climate case, a group of young people in Montana secured a significant legal victory when a judge ruled that the state's failure to consider climate change impacts when approving fossil fuel projects was unconstitutional. The ruling comes amidst a summer of extreme heat and wildfires, highlighting the urgency of addressing climate change. This decision marks a turning point in the fight against government support for oil, gas, and coal industries, which contribute to global warming. The court found that the plaintiffs, representing a range of ages from 5 to 22, have a constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment that includes climate considerations. Montana must now factor in climate change when making decisions about fossil fuel projects. As a young person and a Korean, I'm deeply concerned about the global impacts of climate change. The Montana case is not only a victory for the young plaintiffs but also a message to governments worldwide about thei

BRICS Summit 2023: Navigating the Transformation of Global Finance

Recent developments in the global financial landscape have captured the attention of the finance world, promising a new era of integration, transformation, and collaboration. Amidst the excitement, however, it is essential to acknowledge the formidable obstacles that stand in the way of realizing these ambitions. The 2023 BRICS Summit , slated to convene amidst this shifting landscape, is poised to be a significant juncture that could have profound implications for the future of international finance. The resurgence of Bitcoin, marked by an impressive, if smaller, year-to-date price surge, has underscored its enduring relevance. Similar concerns surround the exploration of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The UK's digital pound initiative, while forward-looking, raises questions about stability, security, and privacy and potential economic power imbalances. The notion of a BRICS digital currency, potentially extended to include several countries, reflects a desire to chall

Easy Ways to Make Your Podcast Better. Gregory Savioz-Buck, Intern, University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

When it comes to creating an impactful podcast, quality equipment is key. Microphones and cameras are the unsung heroes that can make your content truly shine. Microphones capture the essence of your voice, turning your words into captivating stories. Whether you are going for the warm tones of a condenser microphone or the crisp clarity of a dynamic one, choosing the right microphone can enhance the listener experience and draw them into the recording room. Cameras, on the other hand, add a visual dimension to your podcast. Video podcasts are becoming increasingly popular, allowing your audience to see the faces behind the voices. A well-framed shot and good lighting can create a professional look that resonates with your listeners. However, it is not just about having the fanciest equipment. Understanding how to use your gear effectively is equally important. Proper microphone placement and camera angles can impact the overall quality of your podcast.

Critical Reflection on JPMorgan Chase's Investments in Minority Depository Institutions

From:  The Current State of Black Banking . August 12, 2016.  On April 28, 2003, several major US investment banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMC), were embroiled in aiding and abetting efforts to defraud investors, leading to a fine of $1.4 billion imposed by the SEC. Despite the severity of their fraudulent actions, the repercussions for these institutions seemed inadequate to deter future unethical practices. In 2012, the LIBOR scandal brought to light a series of deceitful maneuvers linked to the London Inter-bank Offered Rate. Banks unscrupulously manipulated interest rates to bolster their own profits or portray themselves as more creditworthy than they actually were. This scandal, involving approximately $350 trillion in derivatives, stands as an unparalleled financial scam in history. Unfortunately, the punishment meted out to the involved institutions did not seem to be a sufficient deterrent against future misconduct. These incidents serve as a backdrop for examining t

The Economic Impact of Extreme Heat - Jeongmin Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

The event featured a discussion with Jeff Goodell, the author of "The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet." The conversation was hosted by Washington Post Live on July 24, 2023, and focused on the alarming rise of extreme heat events across the Northern Hemisphere and their implications for human health, ecosystems, and global climate. Mr. Goodell emphasized that the extreme temperatures witnessed in North America, Asia, and Europe were not entirely surprising, as scientists had long warned about the consequences of increasing global temperatures due to the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, the severity of these heat waves had reached dangerous levels, pushing the limits of human and ecological resilience. During the discussion, the impacts of extreme heat on human health were highlighted, especially for vulnerable populations such as older adults, pregnant women, and outdoor workers. High temperatu

Roundtable on Empowering Shareholders and ESG Disclosures. J. Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

An important discussion took place regarding shareholders and stakeholders. The " Roundtable on Empowering Shareholders and Stakeholders and the Importance of ESG Disclosures " hosted by the House Financial Services Committee, was held on July 12, 2023. This event was designed to emphasize the significance of transparency in disclosing information about a company's sustainability and social responsibility while providing a platform for shareholders and stakeholders to discuss future directions.  During the event, participants engaged in conversations and exchanged ideas regarding the role of shareholders and stakeholders in corporate decision-making processes. The discussions explored ways to strengthen their involvement and influence in shaping company strategies, emphasizing environmental, social, and governance considerations. Additionally, the event highlighted the significance of ESG disclosures. ESG disclosures refer to the reporting of a company's environmenta

Bidenomics: A Pragmatic Approach to Economic Growth, Equity, and Competition

Since assuming office, President Joe Biden has implemented an economic agenda known as Bidenomics , aiming to replace the dominant greed based Chicago-school economic approach with a more effective and inclusive set of economic principles. This article examines key elements of Bidenomics, comparing it to past policies and exploring its potential to drive job growth, address income inequality, and promote competition. Job Growth: Contrasting Strategies A notable distinction between the Biden and Trump administrations' lies in their approaches to job growth. The Trump administration relied on "trickle-down" theory, promising that tax cuts for the wealthy would benefit everyone. This policy proved ineffective. In contrast, Bidenomics adopts a "bottom-up" approach that prioritizes support for the middle class and working families.  Under President Biden, the United States has witnessed a resurgence in job growth. By focusing on investments in infrastructure, clean e

Breaking Barriers: Challenges Persist as Cryptocurrencies Inch Closer to Traditional Finance

Global Transformation Remains Elusive. Recent developments in the global financial landscape, including the resurgence of digital currencies and the first inclusive global financial summit in Paris, have undeniably captured the attention of the finance world. These developments, which seemingly promise a new era of integration, transformation, and collaboration, hold significant implications for the future of finance and international economic dynamics. However, amidst the excitement, it is crucial to recognize the formidable obstacles that still stand in the way of realizing these lofty ambitions. The resurgence of Bitcoin, with its staggering surge year-to-date from a low of $16,486 to a high at $31,392, is often hailed as a testament to its enduring relevance. It would, however, be remiss to overlook the inherent risks and uncertainties that accompany such a volatile digital asset. The unprecedented support from influential financial institutions like BlackRock and Fidelity adds an

A Tarnished Court: Racism and Greed over Justice

  The recent Supreme Court decision curtailing affirmative action in college admissions not only exposes the real impact of ethical transgressions but also highlights a deeper problem rooted in racism, greed, and the insidious legacy of colonialism. This decision serves as an indictment of a court that is supposed to uphold justice but instead perpetuates the status quo, reinforcing systemic inequalities that plague our society and move us away from equity. At the heart of this matter lies the corrosive influence of white supremacy. Affirmative action was designed to address the historical injustices inflicted upon marginalized communities, particularly people of color who have long suffered the consequences of discrimination and limited opportunities. By dismantling these programs, the Supreme Court sends a distressing message that the voices and struggles of these communities are inconsequential in the pursuit of a fair and just society. The court's decision also underscores the

Black Businesses Projected To See $1B In Loans From The Small Business Administration- Black Enterprise Magazine. June 28, 2023.

  Black Businesses Projected To See $1B In Loans  From The Small Business Administration -  

Climate Governance and Corporate Sustainability in Mexico - Washington Post Live Interview. Jeongmin Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

             A recent  Washington Post Live interview focused on climate governance and corporate sustainability in Mexico, highlighting the efforts of 3M Latin America and ChapterZero Mexico. Host Kathleen Koch facilitated the discussion with Jana Nieto from 3M and Jimena Marván from Chapter Zero Mexico. Jana Nieto discussed 3M's sustainability strategy, which revolves around a science-based approach and ESG-specific goals. She emphasized 3M's commitment to sustainability across its entire business model, incorporating sustainability considerations into decision-making processes. Nieto highlighted specific steps taken by 3M to improve its carbon footprint, including adopting solar panels in manufacturing facilities, using electric and hybrid cars for transportation, and promoting sustainability among suppliers. Jimena Marván provided insights into Chapter Zero Mexico's role in promoting climate governance among board members in the country. She discussed the need to c

Landmark Study Reveals Significant Progress in SBA 7(a) Lending to Black Entrepreneurs

A groundbreaking new study reveals a remarkable increase in SBA 7(a) loans, both in count and total value, to Black or African American entrepreneurs from 2017 to 2023. The data underlines significant strides in fostering greater small business lending equity. We predict 7(a) lending to African American firms will reach $1 billion in 2023, up from $599 million in 2017. In 2017, a modest 3.86% of SBA 7(a) loans were disbursed to Black business owners. By 2023, this figure had surged to an encouraging 7.76%. In parallel, the percentage of total loan value received by Black entrepreneurs climbed from 2.36% to 4.41% over the same period. "We are heartened by these findings," says William Michael Cunningham, CEO of Creative Investment Research, "which signal the tangible progress we've been striving for. However, they also underscore the critical work that remains in order to achieve true equity in small business financing." While the study's results clearly ill

The Federal Reserve's High Wire Act: Achieving the Elusive Soft Landing

The May, 2023 Consumer Price Index (CPI) report revealed a 4% inflation rate, half of last year's peak. This reflects a masterful handling of a tough economic situation by the Federal Reserve (the Fed). While inflation remains above the 2% level desired by the central bank, the decrease indicates progress in bringing inflation under control. The Fed, under Jerome H. Powell, implemented a rigorous campaign to curtail inflation, including a series of ten consecutive interest rate hikes over 15 months. Following this aggressive strategy, at yesterday's FOMC meeting, the Fed decided to leave interest rates unchanged, pausing to assess the impact of its actions on the economy. Even though the targeted federal funds rates remained in the 5 to 5.25 percent range, we expect at least two additional hikes by the end of 2023, moving the upper limit of fed funds to 5.6 percent. Powell emphasized that despite this pause, the central bank released updated economic forecasts predicting an end

기후: 서울입니다. 워싱턴 포스트. 2023년 6월 8일. 윤정민, 인천대학교 ESG 인턴.

 지난 6월 8일 워싱턴 포스트는 한국의 조윤제 대사와 윤선진 교수가 참석한 기후 변화에 대한 토론을 조직했습니다. 이 행사는 세계적인 협력, 중국의 역할, 한국의 도전, 개인적이고 집단적인 행동, 그리고 혁신을 통한 낙관주의를 포함하여 기후 변화의 다양한 측면을 강조했습니다. 참가자들은 지역 및 국제적인 협력의 필요성, 재생 에너지에 대한 중국의 노력의 중요성, 한국의 낮은 재생 전기 점유율, 개별 행동의 중요성, 그리고 기후 변화에 대처하는 기술과 혁신의 역할에 대해 논의했습니다. 기후 변화는 즉각적인 관심과 행동을 필요로 하는 중요한 문제입니다. 다른 많은 나라들과 마찬가지로, 한국은 지속 가능한 미래로 전환하는 데 있어 독특한 도전에 직면해 있습니다. 국가 전력 믹스에서 재생 에너지가 차지하는 비율이 낮다는 점이 우려되며, 이는 시급한 정책 변화와 재생 기술에 대한 투자 증가를 요구합니다. 한국의 기후변화에 대한 대중의 인식이 상대적으로 높은 것은 고무적이지만, 인식만으로는 충분하지 않습니다. 이러한 인식을 에너지 효율적인 관행 채택, 재생 에너지 기업 지원, 정책 입안자들에게 기후 친화적인 정책을 시행하도록 압력을 가하는 것과 같은 구체적인 행동으로 전환하는 것이 개인에게 중요합니다 기후 변화에 대처하기 위해서는 세계적인 협력이 필수적이며, 중국과 같은 국가들은 이 노력에서 중요한 역할을 합니다. 중국의 많은 인구, 경제 성장 및 대기 오염에 대한 경험은 재생 에너지에 투자하고 온실 가스 배출을 줄일 수 있는 귀중한 교훈과 인센티브를 제공합니다. 기후변화를 포괄적으로 해결하기 위해서는 중국 등과의 협력이 필요합니다. 토론에서 강조했듯이, 오존층 파괴에 대한 한국의 성공적인 대응은 한국의 혁신과 적응 능력을 보여줍니다. 이러한 경험을 바탕으로, 한국은 기후 변화로 인한 도전에 대한 지속 가능한 해결책을 개발하기 위해 기술과 혁신에 지속적으로 투자하는 것이 중요합니다. 결론적으로, 기후 변화는 모든 수준에서 집단적인 행동을 필요로 하는 세계적인 위기입니다

This is Climate: Seoul. Washington Post. June 8, 2023. Jeongmin Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

  On June 8, the Washington Post organized a discussion on climate change attended by South Korean Ambassador Cho Yoon-je and Professor Yoon Sun-jin. The event highlighted various aspects of climate change, including global cooperation, China's role, Korea's challenge, personal and collective action, and optimism through innovation. Participants discussed the need for regional and international cooperation, the importance of China's efforts on renewable energy, Korea's low share of renewable electricity, the importance of individual actions, and the role of technology and innovation in tackling climate change. Climate change is an important issue that requires immediate attention and action. Like many other countries, Korea faces unique challenges in transitioning to a sustainable future. The low share of renewable energy in the national power mix is feared, which calls for urgent policy changes and increased investment in renewable technologies. It is encouraging that

Crypto, SEC Lawsuits, and Black Economic Progress

In light of the SEC lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance , a critical question arises: How will these regulatory actions impact the Black community, and other marginalized people who benefited from cryptocurrency? This is an especially pertinent concern given the tremendous potential of cryptocurrency to drive economic empowerment and bridge the wealth gap. Consider the wealth generating potential of Bitcoin, the most recognized cryptocurrency. In 2015, when Bitcoin was valued at approximately $400, we suggested using it to finance Black women-owned businesses, as depicted in this video.   Those who did their own research and followed our suggestion created a new financial avenue, enabling these entrepreneurs to bypass traditionally discriminatory banking entities and access much-needed capital. Bitcoin’s value increased rapidly from 2015 ($400) to 2018, when, at one point, it reached $6,000. This type of growth can help finance a business. Similarly, in