About This Center

St. Louis MBDA Business Center

Our Story


The MBDA Business Center located in St. Louis, MO is operated by the Chicago Minority Business Development Council, Incorporated. The Center is part of a national network of MBDA Business Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency.

The center works with minority business enterprises to generate increased financing and contract opportunities and to create and retain jobs.

The mission of the center is to strengthen the US economy by helping ethnic minority businesses create or retain jobs, and build economically vibrant, socially responsible entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities.

Our Experience

Meet Our Team

Todd Gilyard

Project Director

Todd Gilyard brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role of Project Director for the St. Louis MBDA Business Center. He became active with the minority business community while working as the Assistant Project Lead/Job Developer for the St. Louis Housing Authority’s Job Plus Program; Community Outreach Director at the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis; and while running his own business, The Gilyard Group, LLC (2014-2016).

He is a tireless advocate for building wealth in minority communities by utilizing urgent and aggressive timelines in integrating corporate supply chains. He is skilled at analyzing critical business needs, negotiating contracts and facilitating long-term relationships. He also possesses an impressive track record of building strong technical and professional partnerships, as well as establishing a rapport with community and global organizations.

Leveraging his unique experience, Todd aims to lead the way for further development of MBEs and WBEs in the St. Louis region.


Jamillah Pointer

National Vice President
Senior Financial Consultant

Jamillah Pointer comes with more than 20 years of experience in the commercial banking arena – in both middle and large corporate markets.  As National Vice President, Senior Financial Consultant, Jamillah aims to help facilitate access to capital by working with various financial partners. She is an alumna of DePaul University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

Prior to joining the St. Louis MBDA Business Center, Jamillah held various senior roles throughout her career at major commercial banks; she managed the finances of privately held companies in industries such as manufacturing, distribution, transportation, wholesale, retail, and service.

She has been an entrepreneur as owner of Albatross, a successful pallet company. Armed with a passion for helping others advance through her role as mentor, she invests in advocacy and community relations. She is fond of history and building winning futures.  


Jamayca Smith

Business Development Manager

Jamayca Smith serves as the Business Development Manager for the St. Louis Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center.

In 2008, Jamayca began her professional journey with the NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council) network as the Certification Coordinator and Office Administrator for the St. Louis Minority Business Council.  Jamayca has worked closely with more than 55 major corporations in the St. Louis and Southern Illinois region. Her primary focus has been to provide the Minority Business Enterprises and Corporate Members with exceptional service and support.

In September 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s MBDA announced $7.3 million in grants, designed and awarded to organizations to boost job creation and the global competitiveness of MBEs nationwide.

The Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council was one of several grant recipients, and as a result, an MBDA Business Center was established in St. Louis in partnership with the St. Louis Minority Business Council.

The St. Louis MBDA Business Center needed an Administrative Assistant who was knowledgeable of the organization, its mission and the St. Louis minority business community.  It was a logical decision to bring Jamayca on board to fill that position.  Consequently, in November 2013, Jamayca was hired for that role, while still maintaining the role of Administrative Assistant II to the St. Louis Minority Business Council.  Due to the restructuring of the St. Louis Minority Council’s operation, Jamayca’s time with SLMBC came to an end, and her current responsibilities are solely with the St. Louis MBDA Business Center.

In Jamayca’s current role as the Business Development Manager, she continues to provide support services in the areas of access to capital, procurement and partnership opportunities to minority owned businesses.  She also serves on the St. Louis Business Diversity Connect planning committee as well as the newly formed Mid Points CMSDC/MBDA Committee.


Laura M. Hughes

Administrative Assistant

Laura M. Hughes came to the St. Louis MBDA Business Center in May 2020. She brings several years of Real Estate and Foreign Direct Investment experience. Her impressive and diversified resume includes, St. Louis World Trade Center, RetailMeNot, Great Southwest EB-5 Regional Center, and Sprint. Currently, she teaches Business Law for the Master and Adult Degree Program at Huston-Tillotson University.

Laura earned a JD from Saint Louis University School of Law; achieved a Master’s in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management; and a B.A. in International Business and Management from Clark Atlanta University. She has held a Missouri Real Estate Broker’s License since 2005 and is a certified Mediator for the State of Missouri.

Hughes is passionate about community redevelopment and neighborhood stabilization and is working with several organizations to restore The Ville, a historic minority neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri. 


Melody McClellan

Cares Act Coordinator

Tallying more than 20 years of sales experience, Melody McClellan is Cares Act Coordinator for the St. Louis MBDA Business Center. Her role is to provide vital resources while helping area businesses grow. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where she received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing. She is an Entrepreneur, health and wellness expert and President of Unwrap You, a corporate and community wellness and life skills company. She has received various awards for her hard work and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Melody is an ambassador for the American Heart Association, and a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


Tomicia Taylor

Cares Act Admin Assistant

Tomicia Taylor joined the St. Louis MBDA Business Center as Cares Act Administrative Assistant. With more than 15 years of experience, she is a great asset. 

Prior to joining MBDA, she gained her Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission and Correctional Officer Academy Training; and served as a Deputy Sheriff/ Bailiff with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department for the past 11 years. During her tenure, she deemed it a pleasure to serve the public as she received awards as Civilian of the Year as well as Officer of the Year.

Tomicia has mastered adequate interpersonal and communication skills and added under her belt, Microsoft Office Suite and Excel; and Law Enforcement principles and practices. She succeeds at decision making, problem solving, conflict resolution, building effective working relationships and making sound judgement. She also exhibits responsibility, dependability, honesty and integrity.  She’s currently the founder and Owner of George’s Infused Elixir. 

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