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Supplier diversity: why is it so important? CCBA hosts forum to discuss

The importance of supplier diversity and its role in a post-pandemic recovering world was discussed at the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA) supplier diversity forum. Many large corporations buy goods and services from over 1.

The importance of supplier diversity and its role in a post-pandemic recovering world was discussed at the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA) supplier diversity forum.

Many large corporations buy goods and services from over 1.1 million small supplier businesses, and many are owned by diverse businesses more recently known as “the new majority,” according to Adrienne Trimble, Collin County Businesses Alliance Board member.

This new majority consists of businesses owned by minorities, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans and people with disabilities.

In fact, the new majority is thriving, with minority business enterprise sales growing 35% annually — twice as fast as the national average, according to Trimble.

During the supplier diversity forum, CCBA members along with community leaders formed two panels on June 10 to discuss supplier diversity and the certification process for small businesses.

“The growing minority population will account for as much as 70% of the total increase in purchasing power and that was from the years of 2000 all the way through 2045,” said Jesse Crawford, a diversity business enterprise consultant, during the first panel discussion. “And who wouldn't want a piece of that dynamic consumer market?”

Crawford was joined by several industry leaders, including Sharon Evans, president and CEO of CFJ Manufacturing; Reuben Essandoh, Capital One director of supplier diversity; and Guy Toliver, director of inclusion and supplier diversity for Parkland Health and Hospital System. Trimble from the CCBA moderated the first panel.

Marta Gomez Frey, director of the Collin Small Business Development Center, moderated the second panel discussion with Debbie Hurst, president of the Women’s Business Council Southwest; Nancy Alvarez, women-owned business representative for the U.S. Small Business Administration; Margo Posey, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council; and Pamela Nelson, founder and CEO of the Bracane Company.

“The [Small Business Administration] certifications have been very helpful because, as a woman-owned company, [and minority-owned], the certifications are put in place so that we can have some leverage,” Nelson said during the second panel. “It's almost a ticket in the door, if I could say. It gives you an opportunity to reach businesses that are favorable to what you are wanting to do.”

Here are the timestamps and details of the two panels included in CCBA’s most recent roundtable discussion:

Panel 1: 10:25-57:48 - Trimble, Evans, Crawford, Essandoh and Toliver discuss the importance of having a corporate supplier diversity process, how it can promote innovation and serve a growing base of diverse customers with competitive products and ideas.

Panel 2: 1:07:37-1:53:54 - Gomez Frey joins Hurst, Alvarez, Posey and Nelson, who are “female superstars in their fields,” as Gomez Frey said, to discuss the Small Business Administration certification process and how it can make small businesses flourish.

More resources on supplier diversity

  • Local PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) — Assists companies to find contracts with local, state and federal government entities. Click here to visit the Cross Timbers Procurement Technical Assistance Center's website.
  • NCTRCA (North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency) — Assists with the SBA certification process. Click here to visit NCTRCA’s website.  
  • SBA Dallas District Office — Hosts small business events/workshops on contracting. Click here to visit the SBA Dallas District Office’s website.
  • SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) — Offers free small business advice and small-fee workshops on verifications/government contracting. Click here to visit SCORE’s website. 
  • SBA Contracting Guide — Helps small businesses do business with the federal government. Click here to access the SBA Contracting Guide. 
  • DFWMSDC (Dallas Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council) — Certifies ethnic minority owned businesses that are U.S. citizens, with 51% equity and control of their business. DFW MSDC certification is nationally recognized. Eligible applicants receive NMSDC ethnic minority certification, State of Texas HUB and SBE certification certificates upon completion of one application. Edwin Cruz, DFW MSDC Certification & Sourcing Manager, conducts a free certification application webinar virtually every Thursday at 1 p.m. He will answer all your certification questions. Click here to register for the workshop.

This year, in partnership with Local Profile, CCBA has been hosting a series of roundtable discussions with Collin County leaders on issues regarding social justice and building a more inclusive community.

Check out the diversity summit that CCBA also hosted, discussing wealth inequality and racial injustice.