Former Louisiana representative Don Cravins will lead MBDA in its service of MBEs
Donald R. Cravins Jr. was recently named the first-ever under secretary of commerce for minority business development for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency or MBDA.
The former Louisiana state senator will lead MBDA in its service of the nation’s 9.7 million minority business enterprises or MBEs, following the agency’s historic elevation in authority and influence mandated by the Minority Business Development Act of 2021.
“Mr. Cravins’ confirmation as under secretary of commerce for minority business development is a momentous milestone as MBDA elevates and expands its work to support minority businesses across the country,” said Gina Raimondo, secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. “In his new position, I fully expect him to continue to provide the type of leadership that will lay the foundation for MBDA to usher in numerous opportunities for enterprise growth, [along with] research and development, ensuring minority businesses can compete and succeed.”
He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August 2022. Before joining MBDA, he was a practicing attorney and a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association since 1998. In 2004, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, and in 2006 he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate.
During his tenure as Louisiana state senator, Cravins was heavily involved in post-Hurricane Katrina recovery, working as the chair of the Senate Insurance Committee. He was also an active member of the Juvenile Justice Commission of Louisiana and is an active member of the Army National Guard.
In 2009, he left the Louisiana legislature to serve as staff director and chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Cravins began serving as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana in 2013. Just before his selection as under secretary, he was executive vice president and chief operating officer at the National Urban League, where he led the civil rights organization’s corporate diversity, equity and inclusion initiative.
“It is an honor to serve as the nation’s first under secretary of commerce for minority business development,” he said. “I have spent my life dedicated to fostering and advancing minority entrepreneurship, and I am excited to fully embrace the mission of MBDA. I look forward to leading the team of professionals at MBDA and working to ensure minority business enterprises are provided the support and resources they need to succeed in urban, rural and tribal communities.”
Established by an executive order in 1969, MBDA is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Minority Business Development Act of 2021, mandating MBDA’s elevation into a pivotal government leader and prioritizing the success of America’s MBEs. The Act expands the reach and scope of the organization by establishing Senate-confirmed leadership, creating a grants program, building an advisory council and establishing the MBDA as the United States’ newest federal agency.
To learn more about MBDA, visit mbda.gov.
Don Cravins under secretary of commerce for minority business development U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency MBDA Louisiana Minority Business Development Act of 2021 MBEs minority business enterprises Gina Raimondo Louisiana House of Representatives Louisiana State Senate Louisiana State Bar Association Juvenile Justice Commission of Louisiana Senate Insurance Committee U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship