BLACK ENTERPRISE | Joset Wright-Lacy Predicts Supplier Diversity Future – Part 2

“The numbers don’t lie.”

by Safon Floyd    Posted: May 21, 2016

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In Part 2 of an enlightening conversation on the supplier diversity landscape with National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) president, Joset Wright-Lacy, learns of the commodity, necessity, and future of diverse suppliers.

Check it out.

How is the NMSDC going about ensuring that they remain impactful on the diversity landscape?

NMSDC’s role is to continue to drive equity and inclusion of minority business enterprises (MBEs) in corporate business opportunities. We are very clear that supplier diversity and minority supplier development is NOT the same thing.

MBEs are not fungible commodities that can be treated like other diverse suppliers. They have unique issues stemming from historical discrimination that must not be overlooked. Lack of access to capital, marketing, and networks often has a disproportionately negative impact on MBEs. While all diverse suppliers are valuable to corporations, MBEs will have a greater role in building up communities of color around the country.

With more diverse suppliers in the marketplace, it is important for corporate America to make a bigger pie. That means that corporate members will have to look beyond traditional supply chain opportunities in order to ensure equal opportunities for all diverse suppliers.

NMSDC is committed to engaging the corporate community around new business opportunities for MBEs; specifically, professional services like legal, treasury, and investment services. We are also looking at opportunities within the marketing and advertising industries.

What steps should minority business owners take to increase their likelihood of becoming suppliers?

Access to the right networks is very important to potential suppliers to NMSDC members. The NMSDC and its regional affiliates provide opportunities for members and certified MBEs to network. Like it or not, people do business with people they know, like, and trust. This is the foundation of building sustainable relationships between members and MBEs.

MBEs must be in the business of delivering products and services that provide valuable solutions to corporations. That means that all minority business owners must understand their potential customers’ pain points. It is not enough to say what you’re selling; the minority business owner must be able to communicate how what he or she is selling solves a problem.

Knowledge of the industry that the MBE is pursuing is absolutely essential. As we experience change at increasing speeds, the successful minority business owner will have to do more than ride the wave—he or she will have to own the wave.

What do you predict will happen to the demand for minority suppliers within the next 10 years?

The numbers don’t lie. As the country’s demographics shift, minorities will constitute more than 50% of the population by the year 2045—most likely, even sooner than that. Minority-owned businesses will be a critical measure of the nation’s economic health.

NMSDC prepared a study that illustrated the economic impact of certified minority business enterprises. MBEs generated more than one billion dollars in economic output EVERY day. Think about one billion dollars in daily economic output; that represents money in the hands of workers and their households. It represents the ability to buy cars, clothes, travel, and education. Most importantly, it represents an opportunity to increase the sustainability of communities of color.

Many of our MBEs provide jobs and job training in at-risk communities. They support schools and social institutions that provide a safety net for lower income communities. Corporations who understand that their future customers are likely to be employed by an MBE are more likely to act in their own economic self-interest.

The NMSDC is hosting the 2016 National Minority Supplier Development Council Leadership Awards. What impact are you looking to make with this ceremony? Why is it important?

The 2016 NMSDC Leadership Awards recognizes the dynamic corporate executives, minority business owners, and NMSDC affiliate council presidents for outstanding leadership that has had a positive impact on their companies and communities. It is important that NMSDC recognize and thank the individuals who have taken on a leadership role to drive the NMSDC mission. The Leadership Awards are about shining a light on some outstanding individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership.

As president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), if you could have more things in terms of minorities in business, what would that look like?

MBEs would have the ability to access capital on the same terms and conditions as their non-minority counterparts; MBEs would embrace the opportunities presented by the digital economy; and corporate members would create a bigger pie for diverse suppliers.