NMSDC's forum focused on building generational wealth

By National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. Communications

Recently, some of the country’s top corporations, government organizations, minority businesses, capital providers and thought leaders came together in Miami, Florida, for the National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc.’s Second Annual Minority Business Economic Forum.

Co-chaired by Mastec Inc. CEO José R. Mas and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the event focused on the systemic barriers many minority business enterprises (MBEs) face, developing solutions to overcome them to build a more inclusive economy that works for all.

The event kicked off with a welcome reception at the beautiful W South Beach. After the reception, attendees attended one of two dinners, the first hosted by Mas at his home and another at the Red Rooster in historic Overtown, a community that has a rich and storied history of Miami’s Black community. These opening events set the tone for what was to be a productive and meaningful event of relationship-building for attendees.

Promise of the American dream

The next morning, the main programming started in earnest with opening remarks that included the official announcement by NMSDC CEO and President Ying McGuire that the 2022 NMSDC Minority Businesses Economic Impact Report was being released that day (see related story on page 154). Following the announcement, she held a brief fireside chat with Forum Co-Chairs Mas and Suarez.

Building on their insightful conversation, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a keynote speech that emphasized the promise of the American dream for minority-owned businesses.

After the senator’s inspirational call to action, an impressive panel of minority business owners who have built multibillion-dollar MBEs shared their stories with attendees and emphasized how they leverage their successes to give back to — and build generational wealth for — their communities. Speakers on the panel included James H. Lowry, founder, president and CEO, James H. Lowry and Associates Inc.; Soo Kim, chairman, Bally’s Corp.; Firoz Lalji, co-founder, chairman and CEO, Zones LLC; and Mas.

Following an induction ceremony for the newest Corporate Plus® members, Republica Havas LLC Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Jorge Plasencia moderated a timely panel featuring C-suite leaders from Flagstar Bank NA and Denny’s Corp. who shared solutions for MBEs wanting to weather the uncertain business tides presented by COVID-19, inflation, recession and other unprecedented geopolitical issues.

All is good

Not to be outdone, the last main stage session of the day featured former NFL players turned successful entrepreneurs — Cris Carter, chairman, CB Tech and Adam Walker, CEO, Summit Packaging Solutions  — whose mix of humorous anecdotes and emotionally poignant life stories captured the imaginations and attentions of both the MBEs in the audience wanting to emulate their successes and the corporate leaders wanting to build stronger business relationships with those MBEs.

Before breaking for the day, NMSDC had one more surprise for attendees — a special live satellite appearance from the executive director of [global entertainer] Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD Foundation, Ivy McGregor, who announced a partnership between BeyGOOD and NMSDC focused on recruiting Black entrepreneurs to the Black Parade Route luncheons.

After a brief break, attendees came together at the impressive 1111 Lincoln Road, to recognize this year’s Equity Honors awardees (see related story on PAGE 156). Emceed by MSNBC’s Katie Phang, the ceremony and dinner were full of entertainment (including a performance from Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer students), great conversation, and the celebration of the top corporate leaders at the vanguard of economic equity and minority business integration.

The final day of the Forum kicked off with programming focused on three main themes: increasing access to capital, enabling MBEs to leverage recent investments by the federal government and building generational wealth for communities of color.

After brief opening remarks from McGuire, attendees heard from two amazing panels focused on capital. The first featured leaders from Kapor Capital, Apis Holdings, Avance Investment Management and Loop Capital Holdings sharing their visions for reimagining the capital ecosystem to better support MBEs.

Following their words of wisdom, representatives of Barclays Group US Inc. and NMSDC Entrepreneur-in-Residence Kurt Trevan took the stage to announce the official launch of NMSDC’s Capital Manager’s Program, an effort aimed at assisting capital providers and related service companies to more easily connect with MBEs to provide the funds needed to grow and scale their businesses.

Building generational wealth

In the wake of this groundbreaking announcement, corporate leaders from NBCUniversal, Ariel Investments, Target., Lincoln National and Lenovo Group engaged in an equally robust discussion about how building generational wealth for communities of color requires going beyond supplier diversity and shared how their companies are leading the way in the movement to more holistic business diversity.

Up next was an impactful panel led by Don Cravins Jr., under secretary of commerce for minority business development, U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency. The panel featured former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros and White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. The session focused on how recent unprecedented federal investments have created an opportunity for MBEs to help build the industries of tomorrow.

The main stage concluded its panel discussions with a conversation of chief procurement officers from some of the nation’s leading companies in supplier diversity including Ampcus, JPMorgan Chase, Truist, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Accenture on the core purpose of the Minority Business Economic Forum — building generational wealth for communities of color through increased opportunities for MBEs.

The Forum ended with one final surprise when McGuire and a representative from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation took the stage to announce a multiyear, $500,000 grant aimed at connecting more MBEs with major employers through NMSDC’s Corporate Plus® program.

“NMSDC is grateful to all the speakers, sponsors and attendees who made this year’s Minority Business Economic Forum a success, and we can’t wait to see you all again this fall at the NMSDC Annual Conference & Exchange in Baltimore to continue these important conversations,” she said.

To learn more about NMSDC, visit nmsdc.org.

To view opening remarks, visit youtu.be/kmHcAfMNBxM.


National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. Minority Business Economic Forum Mastec Inc. José R. Mas Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Ying McGuire U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio James H. Lowry James H. Lowry and Associates Inc. Soo Kim Bally’s Corp. Firoz Lalji Zones LLC Mas Corporate Plus® Republica Havas LLC Jorge Plasencia Flagstar Bank NA Denny’s Corp Cris Carter CB Tech Adam Walker Summit Packaging Solutions BeyGOOD Foundation Ivy McGregor Katie Phang Kapor Capital Apis Holdings Avance Investment Management Loop Capital Holdings Barclays Group US Inc. Kurt Trevan Don Cravins Jr. U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros White House Senior Advisor Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu Ampcus JPMorgan Chase Truist Bristol-Meyers Squibb Accenture Blackstone Charitable Foundation

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