The state of Florida accounts for 181,437 or 9.4 percent of the nation’s black-owned businesses, making it the third highest state behind New York and Georgia, according to U.S. Census reports.

The Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council (SFMSDC) could be a key part of that success.  Since 1975, the Miami-based SFMSDC has helped minority businesses in southern Florida obtain $25 billion in contracts with major corporations like IBM, Office Depot and Burger King.

“Our mission is to help minority businesses grow and to match them with contracting opportunities with corporate members, said Beatrice Louissaint, president and CEO of SFMSDC, which is one of 24 regional councils affiliated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Last year, minority companies — from business startups to large companies– certified with SFMSDC garnered $4.6 billion in sales, Louissaint said. The council helps companies in 16 counties in Southern Florida.  Most of the companies are in Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.  Minority businesses must be certified with the SFMSDC as a company owned by an African American, Hispanic, Asian American or Native American.

Top minority business owners and corporate members will be honored Friday at the 39th annual SFMSDC Awards gala at Jungle Island in Miami. Miami Dade College will be honored with the Presidential Award for its contributions to minority small businesses, said Louissaint, who is also a board member of the Miami Dade College Foundation.

MDC has programs that benefit small business owners including Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which provides practical business skills such as accounting, negotiating and marketing to small business owners.

This year’s Crystal Award will be presented to Florida Power & Light, one of the original founders of SFMSDC, for its commitment to minority business development, Louissaint said.

“We honor businesses that are not only making money but are having a great impact on the community by giving back,” Louissaint said.

SFMSDC continues to search out new ways to help minority businesses, including the new Technical Assistance Program (TAP), which offers professional services in marketing and business development, legal, accounting and business compliance.  SFMSDC certified businesses receive aid free for two hours and then additional services at a reduced rate from three minority firms: Garth Solutions, Inc., LM Austin, LLC and Quintairos, Prieto, Wood and Boyer P.A.

The SFMSDC is also working with the Small Business Administration to expand small business development in South Florida.

“We are excited to unveil new programs and services, technology, brand and staff to continue to meet the needs of our certified minority business enterprises, corporate and government members to build a strong economy for the entire region,” Louissaint said.