February 13, 2004
A. JO BAYLOR EARNS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FROM NATIONAL FEDERATION OF BLACK WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS
Director of Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Makes HUD Top Agency
for Small Businesses
WASHINGTON - U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business, A. Jo. Baylor, will soon join a very elite group of women including Rosa Parks, Alexis Herman, Yolanda King and Dr. Maya Angelou thanks to her efforts in making HUD the leading federal agency in awarding contracts to small businesses.
The National Federation of Black Women Business Owners (NFBWBO) annually recognizes women who have achieved a level of independent economic success through the ownership of a business; women who have overcome obstacles and broken barriers making a path for future generations to strive for academic, economic, personal and spiritual success; women who have struggled and persevered through the unthinkable to achieve their dreams and aspirations while still giving back to their communities and families.
In selecting Baylor for their annual Government Achievement Award, NFBWBO president, Mary Walker, commended Baylor, noting that her spirit, determination, tenacity, selflessness and dedication are and continue to be an inspiration to all. "African American women of your caliber send the message to future generations that they too can achieve success while making a positive contribution."
Baylor's drive to open HUD's doors to small business resulted in the agency currently awarding a record 51% of its contract dollars to small businesses and 33% to women-owned businesses. Totaled, small businesses earned $524,877,000 contracting dollars from HUD.
While Baylor credits former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez and Acting Secretary Alphonso Jackson's commitment to small businesses for her offices' success, Jackson disagrees.
"When President Bush issued his Small Business Agenda, we looked for someone who could reverse a downward trend at HUD and open the doors to small business," explained Jackson. "Jo brings so much passion and energy to each task she's asked to do that we were confident it was only a matter of time before our small business program would be back on the right track."
"As a former small business owner, I know the problems that small companies face in dealing with the government. Small businesses have a problem with access to capital, access to information and access to the decision makers," explained Baylor. "I knew I couldn't do anything about access to capital, but we could have an impact on access to information and decision makers."
Baylor improved small business access to HUD by participating in and hosting 83 small business conferences in 34 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and speaking in 31 venues during a one-year period.More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov or by calling the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization at (202) 708-1428.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws.
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Ms. Baylor will receive the award noon, February 27, 2004 at the Marriott Wardman Hotel in Washington D.C.