Washington, D.C. | July 11, 2023 – As part of its Economic Empowerment Initiative, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is proud to announce the launch of the Arab American Business Advisory Council. Consisting of Arab and MENA American business owners and entrepreneurs from diverse industries, the Council will provide expert advice on the needs of, serve as the public face for, and expand investments to the Arab and MENA American business community. In addition, today, we are proud to announce the groundbreaking launch of the ADC Minority Business Certification Program. This pioneering initiative is designed to empower and elevate Arab and Middle East and North African (MENA) owned businesses by offering them an official Minority Certification status.
This is the first Certification Program in the nation which certifies Arab and MENA owned businesses as minority owned entities. As the first of its kind, the program aims to increase visibility, foster diversity, and support the economic growth of these communities by providing a platform that recognizes and certifies their entrepreneurial ventures. It aims to create an environment where businesses from these underrepresented communities can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the diverse fabric of our American economy.
ADC has begun certifying businesses as minority owned, including those that are MENA-owned. This formal certification will confirm that a particular business is at least 51% owned by a member of a minority community, and can lead to new and expanded opportunities. Two pioneering businesses have already applied and received their certifications: DeliciousSnacks, parent company of Zesty Z, which was founded by Arab American entrepreneur Mr. Alex Harik; and Better Sour, which is founded by Iranian American entrepreneurs Ms. Semira Nikou and Ms. Isabella Hughes.
Corporations, retailers, and grocers across the country are striving to ensure that they are buying from, and selling the products of, a broad set of suppliers that better represent all communities. Being recognized as a certified minority-owned business is more than just a title; it’s a gateway to equitable opportunity. It allows businesses to compete for federal and private contracts, thus diversifying the vendor pool and fostering economic equality. This is a crucial part of ensuring the fair distribution of resources, recognizing the immense value that diverse businesses bring to our economy,
ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “The economic empowerment of our community is vital – it fuels self-sufficiency, fosters innovation, and promotes social change, enabling us to overcome barriers, participate actively in economic activities, and contribute more effectively to the broader socio-economic development and prosperity of the nation. The Arab Business Council will work to support the economic prosperity of the community, help Arab and MENA entrepreneurs reach their fullest potential, and provide programming specific to empowering the Arab American business community nationwide. It is our hope that through this initiative, we can foster a more inclusive economy that values diversity and equal opportunity for all.”
DeliciousSnacks Founder Alexander Harik said, “I’m incredibly proud as an Arab American and entrepreneur to be part of ADC’s efforts to launch the MENA certification program. This will help so many businesses launch and follow their American dream. This is one of my proudest moments, personally and professionally. To be seen and heard is a beautiful thing!
Retailers, distributors, and businesses within the consumer packaged goods industry have supplier diversity programs that save brands thousands of dollars in sales and marketing fees and offer in-store placement opportunities. Previously I couldn’t apply for them because legacy certification agencies didn’t recognize MENA founders. Now I’m excited to have the chance to apply for these minority programs.”
Better Sour Founders Semira Nikou and Isabella Hughes said, “We’re grateful to the ADC for their leadership in establishing this certification–this as a historic moment for the CPG community. Many key, national retailers run specific programs that support minority-owned businesses, easing historic barriers to entry. We hope these benefits will now extend to certified MENA brands. As proud Iranian American founders, we’re also excited to finally see increased visibility and inclusion for MENA founders.”
ADC encourages all Arab and MENA owned businesses to enroll in the Business Council, and apply for minority designation through the certification program. Join us in our ongoing efforts to advocate for equality, diversity, and economic prosperity. Together, we can strengthen the economic viability of our community.
For more information on the Minority Business Certification Program, visit our website or contact us directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s celebrate our community by supporting the growth of Arab and MENA owned businesses and helping them to gain the recognition they deserve.