The Supplier Diversity Collaborative Releases Plan to Grow Minority & Women-Owned Business Local Small,

Release date: 3/16/2016

Memphis, Tenn.—The Greater Memphis Chamber in conjunction with the Supplier Diversity Collaborative released a plan to grow local small, minority and women-owned business (MWBE) at the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) Board Meeting today. This comprehensive strategy is designed to stimulate business with locally owned small, minority and women-owned businesses. It will help address the low percentage of receipts Minority and Women-Owned businesses receive in Shelby County (African-Americans: 0.84%  Women: 2.8%). The Chamber’s Small Business Council last year urged the Chamber to develop such a strategy to help small businesses be more successful.  

“After months of working with a very dedicated group of individuals from small business, government, churches, corporations and non-profits, the Collaborative has advanced a plan that will make it a lot easier for minority and women-owned businesses to do business in Memphis. The Chamber’s guiding principle with our objectives is to create economic growth for all. We can’t be a successful city if all of our citizens don’t have access to the same opportunities,” said Phil Trenary, President & CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber.
The plan aligns with the Chamber’s goals for 2016 which include: Increasing the number of certified Minority & Women-Owned businesses by 10%, increasing the number of middle class jobs by 10%, decreasing African-American unemployment rate by 10% and establishing and implementing a Universal Acceptance Program.
“As a minority and woman-owned business owner, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to get new business. This plan will provide access to opportunities previously not as easily available to them before and establish a mentorship program to help them form a strategy for growth.  These strategies will not only break barriers for our minority and women-owned companies but will make it easy for our corporations, government and churches to do business with them,” said Carolyn Hardy, Chairman, Greater Memphis Chamber.
Supplier Diversity Collaboration Plan Summary
Focus Areas:

  • Supplier Diversity Efforts: B2B (Business to Business) Chamber Chairman’s Circle companies will be invited to share their Supplier Diversity policy or process collaboratively. Companies without policies will receive assistance in enacting a policy. B2C (Business to Church) program will harness the significant power of Memphis’ faith-based community to help MWBE’s. Procurement seminars to familiarize small businesses with bidding processes. Will begin immediately.
  • Mentor: Mentor/Protégé: Establish relationships, utilizing mentoring and training to increase small businesses’ capacity. The Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle has agreed to serve as mentors. Proposed Launch Date: July 1, 2016
  • MWBE Portal: a comprehensive web portal to provide MWBE’s with automatic bid notification (public & private), links to business development service providers, universal acceptance application. Will also serve economic development agencies as a comprehensive database of certified local MWBE companies. Beta Launch July 1, 2016
View the PowerPoint presented at the EDGE meeting. 

For more than 175 years, the Greater Memphis Chamber has been the lead economic development organization for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,100 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals.