Major Companies Investing Big In Minority Businesses
By Ryan Velez
AT&T. Microsoft. Wal-Mart. What one trend brings these and other mega-companies together? These comprise the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a 21-strong list of companies that spend at least $1 billion dollars with tier one minority and women-owned businesses and enterprises. While minority-owned businesses have long been an essential part of the economy, the Billion Dollar Roundtable businesses stand out not only because of their prominence but the sheer amount of money they put into minority-owned companies. Black Enterprise has brought this group to the fore to make their contributions known.
In a statement to BlackEnterprise.com, Billion Dollar Roundtable president and CEO Sharon Patterson explained that the organization wanted to highlight companies that saw supplier diversity as a “strategic imperative.” Several common factors that qualifying companies share are commitment via the C-suite, fully implemented inclusion throughout the supply chain, and willingness of corporations to take risks to advance competitiveness through their development and joint ventures.
“We celebrate those companies because having a billion or more in spend says you have a world class program. We audit members and document their best practices, so we can share them with other companies,” Patterson explained.
Since its 2001 inception, the aim of the BDR was to celebrate those companies spending big with minority and women-owned suppliers. In 2005, it consisted of 12 companies, before growing to 15 in 2008 and expanding to its current number of 21. New members are inducted bi-annually. According to date from the BDR website, here are some of the essential criteria.
- Having an established supplier diversity program with significant resources to manage outreach efforts and influence both internal and external customers.
- Possessing audited and verified allocation of dollars sourced to MWBE suppliers.
- Having corporate membership with the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, along with suppliers with NMSDC certification.
Here is the current list of BDR members:
- Ford Motor Company
- General Motors
- Johnson Controls
- Johnson & Johnson
- Lockheed Martin
- Bank of America
- Kaiser Permanente