After her recent trip to India leading NMSDC’s first overseas expedition since the relaunch of its Global Link International program, NMSDC CEO and president, Ying McGuire reflects on her experience.
The visionary Harriet Michel created the Global Link international program in 2001 with three key objectives:
- Facilitate global expansion for our MBEs.
- Aid corporate members in their global supplier diversity endeavors.
- Collaborate with international NGOs to share best practices in empowering underserved communities through entrepreneurship and supplier diversity.
This initiative has been instrumental in establishing partner organizations in Australia, Canada, China, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. These global partnerships serve as gateways for U.S.-based MBEs to connect with international counterparts, forging pathways to the global marketplace. Earlier this year, thanks to the work of Global Link consultant and former CEO of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce, Fang Fang, NMSDC relaunched the program and added three new partners – India, Brazil, and Chile.
One of our newest partners in India is the Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI). For centuries, the Dalit minority in India and South Asia, commonly known as the “untouchables”, have been born into a lifetime of discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion.
DICCI, an apex industry body of entrepreneurs belonging to minority communities of India (i.e. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC-ST)) empowers SC-ST youth and aspiring entrepreneurs with business skills and support systems.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the chief architect of India’s Constitution. DICCI, founded on Dr. Ambedkar’s principles of economic self-help and entrepreneurship for an equitable society, draws inspiration from him and the Black American experience, including Black capitalism shaped by figures like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.
Dr. Millind Kamble, the visionary behind DICCI, ascended from humble origins to become a prominent Indian business leader. His tenacity has constructed a unique platform for flourishing Dalit entrepreneurs, instilling newfound hope. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Kamble champions the cause of equal rights with unwavering fervor. Through personal financial commitments, he and DICCI leaders have fostered a network spanning 35 Indian chapters, propelling Dalit entrepreneurs from “job seekers” to “job givers.”
Drawing wisdom from afar, Dr. Kamble and the DICCI team meticulously examined the NMSDC model over the years. Their quest for inspiration culminated in October 2022, when they participated in NMSDC’s 50th Anniversary Conference & Exchange in New Orleans. Here, the symphony of NMSDC’s journey and the triumphs of its MBEs further kindled their pursuit of partnership with NMSDC.
In India, DICCI is inspiring more than 350 million that make up the SC-ST population, paralleling the entire U.S. populace. Envision the economic dynamism that could burgeon if every Dalit were empowered to engage fully in the economic landscape making their members sustainable, and transforming them as national and international champions, and acting as a “change agent in the ceosystem” through policy interventions.
On August 20, an NMSDC delegation embarked on a transformative journey to India, marking our first overseas expedition since relaunching the Global Link program. What an incredible adventure it was! Joined by a dynamic group of MBEs and corporate members, Fang Fang and I were thrilled to be part of the U.S. delegation at the B20 Summit – a pivotal precursor to the upcoming 2023 G20 Summit.
Some of the exhilarating highlights include:
- Diverse Voices, United for Inclusive Growth: Our collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and DICCI led to the co-hosting of the “Diversity & Inclusive for Sustainable Growth” conference. Anju Able from Lancesoft, one of our remarkable MBEs, graced the main stage, showcasing the incredible impact of business diversity in driving sustainable success.
- Global Visionaries United: Imagine several Fortune 100 CEOs and 15 trade ministers from the world’s largest economies converging in one place! They shared a resounding call for inclusive and equitable growth to ensure a sustainable future. The presence of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and CEOs of NMSDC corporate members like Bernard Looney of British Petroleum underscored our shared commitment to these goals.
- Inspiring Words from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the B20 Summit: A moment to remember as the Indian prime minister took the stage to inspire business leaders to look beyond the bottom line. His words resonated deeply, reinforcing the significance of equitable and sustainable business practices.
- Shaping the Future: The B20 task forces are gearing up to present 54 policy recommendations to global political leaders at the G20 Summit next week. These recommendations will echo the collective voice of global business leaders, with inclusive growth and ESG principles at the forefront.
- A Historic Day: During our journey, we celebrated alongside the people of India as the nation achieved a historic feat – becoming the first country to land near the south pole of the moon. A moment that echoed the spirit of exploration and progress.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to our partners DICCI and CII for their unwavering support and warm hospitality. We’re immensely thankful for our 2023 Global Link sponsors, Rose International, Lancesoft, Johnson & Johnson, Barclays, and Bank of America, whose generosity has propelled our mission forward. Special thanks to Kris Mangan, vice president of procurement citizenship at Johnson & Johnson, for leading the Global Link advisory council.
The theme for this year’s G20 is One Earth, One Family, One Future. The Slogan underlines the need for a cooperative and united approach to address the challenges in the world, including the widened wealth gap. As I reflect on this unforgettable voyage, I am reminded that the pursuit of equity and inclusivity knows no bounds. We connected with visionaries, shared ideas, and set the stage for meaningful change. The journey continues, and NMSDC is excited to keep pushing boundaries, fueled by the inspiration we gathered from the vibrant heart of India, and our partner Dr. Millind Kamble and his DICCI team.
To learn more about the Global Link program visit nmsdc.org/programs-events/global-link/.