Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement last week with the San Francisco Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center that enables both sides to tap into resources to help develop minority-owned businesses.
The SF Business Center is one of many across the nation operated by the MBDA, an agency within the Department of Commerce. The MBDA originally signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Energy last year. The agreement signed with Lawrence Livermore allows business transactions to occur between the Lab and the agency's SF Business Center.
The agency's mission is to actively promote the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses by providing access to capital, contracts and market opportunities in the U.S. and abroad.
"Some of the SPA's goals are to make sure more minority-owned companies are able to understand, appreciate and really engage the resources and opportunities that the national labs provide, and more importantly, to help minority-owned businesses get into new industries using technology," said Alejandra Castillo, the MBDA's national director. "These are the companies of the future that are going to create jobs, innovation and allow the U.S. to be competitive."
Rich Rankin, director of LLNL's Industrial Partnerships Office, said the new partnership allows LLNL to tap into the SF Business Center's network of minority-owned business that could be interested in commercializing Lab technology.
"That can include candidates and entrepreneurs who would be useful to us," he said.
As part of the SPA signing ceremony, Lawrence Livermore executives gave a presentation on forming industrial partnerships, the Lab's commitment to diversity and inclusion, hot technologies such as high-performance computing as well as the Lab's track record of helping develop small businesses.
"I do think that the best opportunities are going to come from merging our innovation, business and startup networks," said Betsy Cantwell, LLNL's Director of Economic Development. "By virtue of the increased density of these network interactions, we will both see results."
Nora Li, the SF Business Center project director, said she hopes the SPA will help bring local minority-owned businesses to the next level.
"It's an important milestone for us," she said.