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The economic landscape of America is following in the footsteps of the cultural landscape, becoming more diverse, with people from all ethnicities and genders taking on lead roles. But minority and women business owners still encounter challenges posed by centuries-old social stigmas as they steer their enterprises toward stability and success.
To help level the playing field for minority and women business owners, agencies such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council (www.nmsdc.org) and Women’s Business Enterprise Council (www.wbenc.org) serve to connect minority and female business owners with large corporations committed to contracting with diverse suppliers.
NLA board member Laura Canady, MLOA board member Darrell Anderson and MLOA board member Ana Regina Goff networked and gained insights at the 1st Annual MLOA Conference on Oct. 3 near the Atlanta airport.
“Because of corporate connections with local, state or the federal government, there is a requirement for these big Fortune 500 companies to do business with diversity or minority owned suppliers. They have to find qualified and vetted minority or woman-owned businesses, and they look at the companies certified by WBENC or NMSDC,” says Maurice Brewster, president of the Minority Limousine Operators of America. Brewster is also president and founder of Mosaic Global Transportation, based in Redwood City, Calif. and serving Silicon Valley.
This doesn’t mean, however, that a minority- or woman-owned business will receive preferential treatment in the RFP process when going against a non-minority-owned or non-female-owned business. It just means that minority and women business owners will receive an equal opportunity at the starting block to propose their services.
“The certification serves as an advocate for the company to get a shot at a corporate contract. Beyond access, there is no preferential treatment,” Brewster says.
‘[M]ore than two-thirds of certified MBE businesses confirmed an increase in revenue by partnering with corporate members,’ according to the Minority Limousine Operators of America website.