Chamber creates minority, women-owned business strategy

In an effort to stimulate minority and women-owned business activity in Memphis, the Greater Memphis Chamber and the Supplier Diversity Collaborative have released a plan to meet the issue head on.
The strategy will stimulate business with locally owned small minority and women-owned businesses and will address the low percentage of receipts those businesses receive in Shelby County. The chamber estimates that African-American businesses receive 0.84 percent and women businesses receive 2.8 percent.
A goal this year for the chamber is to increase the number of certified Minority and Women-Owned Businesses by 10 percent.
The Supplier Diversity Collaboration Plan includes supplier diversity efforts, a mentorship program and MWBE Portal that will provide those businesses with automatic bid notification, among other information.
The chamber’s Chairman’s Circle companies will have the opportunity to share their respective Supplier Diversity policies. Companies without a policy will receive assistance in enacting one. This effort will start immediately.
The mentor program will establish relationships to utilize mentoring and training to increase capacity. The program will launch in July.
“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,” said Carolyn Hardy, Chairwoman of the Greater Memphis Chamber, in a statement. “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.”
Recent U.S. Census estimates show that African-Americans make up 53 percent of Shelby County’s population and own 49 percent of the businesses while only receiving 0.84 percent of all business receipts. Women-owned businesses make up 47.1 percent but receive just 2.8 percent of business receipts.
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Read more articles by Lance Wiedower.

Lance is a veteran journalist with more than 16 years of experience in newsrooms in the Memphis area as a reporter and editor, including most recently as managing editor of The Daily News. He regularly contributes to The Daily News, including a biweekly travel column, The Daily Traveler. 

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