Los Angeles MBDA Business Center
Operated by PACE
About the Center:
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. The Los Angeles MBDA Business Center is managed and operated by the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE), a non-profit 501 (C)(3) organization. PACE provides extensive business training and direct technical assistance (TA), specialized procurement assistance and partnership resources including business expansion support tools: financing, insurance, and bonding for MBEs focusing on capacity building to foster and secure new opportunities in Southern California.
Los Angeles MBDA Business Center Assists:
· Minority-owned firms seeking to penetrate new markets – domestic & global
· MBDA Business Center assists Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with securing capital, competing for a contract, identifying a strategic partner, or becoming export-ready
· The Centers are located in areas with the largest concentration of minority populations and the largest number of minority businesses (3 MBDAs in CA)
· PACE recently became an MBDA in July 2021, and it is the only MBDA Business Center in Southern CA
· Extensive business training and direct technical assistance (TA)
· Specialized procurement assistance
· Partnership resources including business expansion support tools: financing, insurance, and bonding
Who We Serve:
Minority Business Enterprises with revenues of $500,000 located in 7 counties in Southern California including Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, and Los Angeles County.
What We Provide:
- One on One Counseling
- Identifying Contracting Opportunities
- Guidance on Public Agencies Bidding Process
- Create Marketing Strategies and Connect with Local, State, and Federal Agencies
- Registration Instructions for Government & Private Sector Supplier Vendor Portal System
- Contract Sourcing, RFP & RSOQ Review & Analysis
- Bid Proposal & Budget Development Assistance
- Small Business Certifications Assistance
- Access to capital/funding Networking & Matchmaking Events
- Various Workshops on Government & Private Sector Contracting
Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and other community-relevant appropriate languages
Contact Our MBDA Team:
Project Director: Bo Sivanunsakul
Bo Sivanunsakul serves as the center project director. She has 15 years of experience and a strong background in finance and business development. She oversees all staff and directs PACE’s microloan and small business loan programs. She has been working closely with entrepreneurs and small business owners in the greater Los Angeles area to improve their social and economic wellbeing through business counseling, procurement technical assistance, training, loan and grant programs.
Project Operator: Susie Choy
As the project operator, Susie Choy brings 14 years of experience in auditing and compliance in both the private and public sector. She ensures that all day-to-day program activities meet and exceed program performance outcomes and requirements. Additionally, she conducts internal reviews to ensure compliance, verifies the implementation of regulatory policies and procedures, and develops and administers operational procedures. She will work closely with the director and the LA MBDA Business Center team in developing and overseeing program goals, policies and activities.
Procurement Relationship Manager: Andrew Barrera
Andrew Barrera currently is a Procurement Relationship Manager for the Los Angeles Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) operated by Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE). He is a dedicated economic development professional with 30 years of government, private sector and Community Development Corporation (CDC) experience. While working for the California State Assembly Transportation Committee, he was responsible for coordinating disaster relief efforts for the State Assembly District Office during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, including the monitoring of FEMA emergency housing, SBA small business disaster loans and freeway reconstruction with Caltrans, as well as acting as the point of contact for inter-political office holder relief coordination. Working for the State and Municipal Governments, the non-profit economic development sector and operating his own consulting business, Mr. Barrera has had an opportunity to work closely with thousands of local and large businesses, including CEOs, Senior Executives and small business owners on a variety of business and industry-related issues ranging from transportation to small business financing, to strategic planning, to business development and government contracting. Andrew currently sits as a collaborating resource partner on the US Commercial Services’ “Local to Global Initiative” and also has been appointed to sit on the Caltrans District #7 Small Business Advisory Council representing Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
Senior Loan Counselor: Jennifer Whelan
Jennifer Whelan, CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA® charterholder- CFA Institute) has extensive experience in consulting, access to capital, small-to-mid size business merger and acquisition M&A execution experience. She will provide pre and post borrowing technical assistance to MBEs to secure financing, capital and bonding through one-on-one assistance, webinars, etc. She will participate in various conferences (virtual and non-virtual), training workshops, networking events, etc. that will extend the reach and reputation of the MBDA Business Center.
Business Counseling Manager: Diana Chung
Diana Chung, Business Counseling Manager, holds an MBA with a background in business administration and marketing. She assists microenterprises & small businesses with a variety of business needs from business plan reviews to cash flow management & government contracting. With a career that began in an advertising agency, Diana worked with a diverse array of clients, from the local “mom & pop” to major corporations. And also, she can guide businesses through the process of assessing their capacity/suitability for government contracting. In her role as a procurement and business counselor, she facilitates the growth of small businesses and the development of government contracts. She is also appointed to sit on the Caltrans District #7 Alternate Small Business Advisory Council representing Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
Procurement Manager: Lynna Ochoa
Lynna Ochoa serves as the Center’s Procurement Manager, bringing over 15 years of experience in community and economic development. Her professional journey has spanned various nonprofit, private, and governmental organizations, both locally and internationally. Her work has consistently focused on introducing additional economic and business opportunities to historically disenfranchised communities. In her role as our center’s Procurement Manager, Lynna has the opportunity to continue this work by providing Center clients with specialized training and technical assistance, one-on-one counseling, and other business-related services and resources in an effort to help Center clients secure government and private contracts, in turn boosting local economies.
Procurement Manager: Cristina Espiritu
Cristina Espiritu, a distinguished professional with a dual JD/MBA degree from Penn State University, brings over two decades of experience in finance, strategic consulting, contract negotiation, and business and asset valuation. She has offered her expertise to organizations ranging from startups up to publicly-traded companies, helping them develop and identify strategies to propel growth and maximize value. She has also been an entrepreneur and sold her first business in college. Since then, she has founded several companies and organizations in diverse sectors including technology, marketing, and health and wellness. She has served and held leadership roles, on the board of director positions in non-profit organizations, as well as served as a mentor for incubator programs in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Cristina is also a trained mediator, certified by the Orange Human Relations Mediation Program.
Los Angeles MBDA Business Center (1055 Wilshire Blvd., # 900 B, Los Angeles, CA 90017)
(213) 353-9400 / pacelabdc.org