Each year, large numbers of minorities start down the path to entrepreneurship in search of wealth and success. For the past several years, business ownership among minorities has been on the rise. According to preliminary data from the 2012 U.S. Census, the number of minority business enterprises increased 39 percent between 2007 and 2012, from 5.8 million to 8 million. Employment at minority-owned firms increased 33 percent to 7.7 million jobs at the same time, and gross receipts grew 53 percent.And the growth trend is expected to continue.
Although minority businesses are on the rise, they still face challenges—access to capital, the lingering effects of recession, and profitability. However, many minority business owners persevere to overcome the challenges they face, and achieve the financial independence and success that entrepreneurship offers. Such are the cases of Robert Wallace, Sean Ono and Mario Stadtlander, and Glenn Torrez.
On July 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acted to improve the cybersecurity of the bulk electric system (i.e., the electrical generation resources, transmission lines, interconnections with neighboring systems, and associated equipment, generally operated at voltages of 100 kilovolts or higher) by proposing revisions to critical infrastructure protection (CIP) Reliability Standards to address risks to communication networks and related bulk electric system assets and the development of standards for supply chain management security controls to protect the bulk electric system from potential security vulnerabilities and malware threats.
Is it possible to get corporate programs beyond the five to 15 percent minority business enterprise numbers, or have we become mired in the land of good faith efforts? I’m not talking about expanding on accepted certifications, or subcontracting to make the numbers, or taking a percentage from things like “addressable spend” vs. total spend. I’m talking about the spirit that launched the supplier diversity initiative—that is, to offer more opportunities and grow the revenue of minority and woman-owned businesses.
What has to happen to move from best effort to results? Is it even possible? Here are my five cents on the changes I think need to happen.
Doing business in Australia just took a giant leap forward. July 1, 2015 marked the beginning of a new era—one in which government and private sector companies need to stay current with the diversity contracting rules established by the federal Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP). The Australian government has been headed in this direction for some time. On September 15, 2009, the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC) officially launched, and the government announced it would invest AUS$3 million to pilot the efforts of AIMSC over three years. After successfully completing its three-year pilot phase, AIMSC rebranded to become Supply Nation. Today, Supply Nation’s focus is to connect Australian corporate and government organizations with indigenous business suppliers.
For over 30 years, we’ve been touting this to the world and every so often it echoes back. I say echoes because we only seem to hear it loud and clear from our own small corner of the business world. And yet, it is true for just about every corner of the world—business or otherwise.
This issue features some pretty awe-inspiring guys who are among the best of us. They are unsung heroes. They don’t shout from the rooftop about their greatness but they should. They are not looking for just the next dollar; they want to make a difference. That takes more than the next dollar. It takes vision, commitment, ingenuity, setbacks, faith, and a LOT of work (sometimes more of one than the other).
Study Long, Study Strong There is an old saying: “Study long, study wrong.” I say instead, “Study long, study strong.” Ongoing education—no matter what form it takes—is integral to business success, and owners with a thirst for knowledge excel. According to the Demographic Characteristics of Business Owners, a report published by the U.S. Small Business Association’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy, 39 percent of business owners hold a bachelor’s degree, and 32.9 percent had some college education in 2012. The same year, 28.2 percent of business owners had a high school education.
The Carolinas Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council recently presented Quality Moving Services with the 2015 Class I Supplier of the Year Award during their annual Business Opportunity Conference at the Virginia Beach Convention Center and Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel.
Other winners were Progressive Business Solutions—Class II Supplier of the Year, Team Henry Enterprises, LLC—Class III Supplier of the Year, and Kerma Medical Products, Inc.—Class IV Supplier of the Year.
Quality Moving Services, based in Chesterfield, Virginia, with offices in Chester, Petersburg, and Norfolk, Virginia, was established in 1989 to serve the local communities with professional relocation services that are dependable, honest, and responsive to clients’ needs.
Northrop Grumman Corporation released its 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report (CRR), a comprehensive publication that highlights the company's ongoing commitment to corporate responsibility including diversity and inclusion; environment sustainability; support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; supplier diversity and ethics. It is the eighth year the company has published this report.
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