Convention connects minority businesses, purchasing organizations
Corporate decision-makers from some of the world’s largest purchasing organizations and thousands of the best minority businesses in America met recently at the National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference at the San Diego Convention Center.
The conference theme was “Leveraging Minority Supplier Diversity for Smart Growth” and more than 7,000 people were in attendance Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.
Minority suppliers are the fastest-growing segment of today’s business landscape. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of growth for minority-owned businesses ranges from more than 25 percent for Asians and 31 percent for Hispanics to 45 percent for African Americans, compared to 10 percent for all U.S. businesses.
This year, America’s biggest corporations are expected to spend close to $100 billion on goods and services from minority-owned businesses.
“As global competition leads corporations to improve performance and become more customer-focused, minority suppliers are gaining more corporate contracts. Successful minority-owned firms meet, and often exceed, the exacting standards of corporate America,” says Harriet R. Michel, NMSDC president. “Minority businesses can be a true strategic resource within the supply chain.”
Providing a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses is the main goal of the NMSDC, one of the country’s leading business membership organizations. It was chartered in 1972 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes.
A one-day business opportunity fair gave corporations a chance to meet the top Asian, African American, Hispanic and Native American suppliers. With a record number of booths (820), minority businesses had a forum to extend the reach of their marketing efforts, showcase their products and services, and meet more 4,000 walk-through participants in the largest national procurement event of its kind.
Among speakers scheduled to discuss the future of minority business development from an executive level were PepsiCo Chairman Steven Reinemund, John Hofmeister, president and U.S. Chairman of Shell Oil, and John Menzer, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores.
Other speakers included Earvin “Magic” Johnson, entrepreneur, philanthropist and former pro athlete; Henry “Hank” Adorno, founder and president, Adorno & Yoss, the largest certified minority-owned law firm in the country; Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.; Kurt J. Albertson, senior business advisor at research organization The Hackett Group; and Guy Garcia, journalist, multimedia entrepreneur, lecturer, consultant and author of The New Mainstream: How the Multicultural Customer is Transforming American Business.
The Conference was co-hosted by the Greater San Diego Business Development Council, one of 39 NMSDC-affiliated councils around the country.
For additional information, contact the National Minority Supplier Development Council by visiting its Web site, www.nmsdc.org.