Starting a business on your own can be a daunting experience fraught with risk and unknowns. Franchising—which allows individuals to buy into an existing business framework and brand name—is a great way to gain valuable business ownership experience while alleviating many of the risks associated with opening a business.“Franchising is a viable option,” says Ken Evans,president of the Las Vegas Urban Chamber of Commerce. “Not everyone is going to have the business experience or business resources to start from scratch. If you have the ability to buy into a franchise, you’ll likely get good training,” usually at a corporate training center.
Beginning in the 19th century, a “cult of domesticity” shaped American thought about women’s roles in the workforce. The notion was that women could best serve the country’s political and social needs by dedicating their energies to creating healthy households for their husbands and sons, and training their daughters to do the same.
A few defiant women owned their own businesses,though, often to furnish themselves with an income in the absence of a man to provide. Sometimes, women were thrust into traditionally male ventures after inheriting businesses from their fathers or husbands.
During a keynote speech at the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development (NCIMED) in Durham, North Carolina, the former CEO of a grocery store chain made a telling statement. To paraphrase, he said, “I am a 40-something white male. I have no idea what a 20-something African American male or a 60-something Asian female or a single mom or a Hispanic family would want to buy from my stores, so I need to listen to those voices to support my customer base and build my business.”With supplier diversity initiatives, companies can help build wealth in the communities they serve. With marketing diversity, they can target culturally specific markets, and with workforce diversity, aim to bring a better balance to the working environment. But that balance is tenuous when employees are brought in but aren’t in a position to have their differences benefit the company or improve their own job satisfaction.
I take great pride in my career as supplier diversity professional. I’ve managed supplier diversity for companies in a variety of industries including banking, retail pharmacy and now as director, Supplier Diversity for Grady Health System (Grady). This range of experience has allowed me to understand how core business and revenue impacts supply chain purchases. As supply chain and procurement progresses, it is important for minority business enterprises to be ahead of dominating trends impacting buying practices.Perhaps the most impactful supply chain trend for minority enterprises is supplier rationalization (strategic sourcing). Across industries, supply chain continues to trend downwards in the number of suppliers being used.
As Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America and host for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the City of Toronto has a diverse population of 2.8 million and is a public sector leader with its new social procurement initiatives. In 2013, the City Council adopted a two-pronged framework, which includes supplier diversity and workforce development, to guide the development of a policy by the end of this year. Implementation of the framework seeks to bring greater diversity to the City’s contracting process by understanding and addressing barriers to access for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete for contracts.
MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.
MBE's M/WBE Resource Directory is a comprehensive list of resource organizations (including links) that support the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs.
Refer to MBE's Acronyms & Terminology list for frequently used acronyms and terminology and an overview of the major organizations supporting the Supplier Diversity community.
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