NYNJ BOE emphasized interaction between MBEs and corporate members

By Genny Hom-Franzen


“Igniting Business Relationships and Evaluating Supplier Development” is the theme of the annual Business Opportunity Exchange (BOE), organized by the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. (NY&NJ MSDC). The one-day event, connecting minority-owned business entrepreneurs with supplier diversity champions and other corporate partners, will be held Wednesday, April 17, at the Prudential Tower in downtown Newark, New Jersey.


“Spend the day with the Council as we lay out a program jam-packed with sessions designed to expand your business relationships,” said Terrence Clark, president and CEO of the NY&NJ MSDC. “From inspiring discussions to deep insights from leading diversity officers and minority suppliers, we’re giving businesses across our network the chance to explore, build, succeed and celebrate.”


An estimated 275 attendees are expected, mostly from the New York-New Jersey area, along with certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) from the Council’s sister affiliate, the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, which includes Southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.


Clark said that he and his staff are working hard to ensure that this year’s BOE expands upon the interaction between MBEs and corporate members. To that end, a trade fair is a highlight of the day’s events, enabling MBEs to meet with corporate members to share their capabilities, services, and product offerings while corporate executives, in turn, can relay what they are looking for from diverse suppliers.


The lunch session will feature Ras Baraka, Mayor of the City of Newark and U.S. Congressional Rep. Donald Payne, 10th Congressional District, New Jersey. Other confirmed speakers include Michelle Bodden, chief diversity and inclusion officer, New

Jersey Economic Development Authority; and Michael Garner, chief diversity officer for the City of New York. Both will share business opportunities available with their respective organizations. Other sessions will include remarks by the main sponsor, Prudential Financial Inc, and a session on last year’s Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action.


The agenda also includes several workshops geared especially for minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs). These include panels on lending programs from the Business Consortium Fund, the benefits of being certified by the National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. and responsible sourcing.


Despite national news stories warning of a decline in corporate support for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, Clark encourages both minority businesses and corporations to attend.


“I believe that this is a good time for supplier diversity, as more corporations are seeing a diversification of their client base. The need for different ideas and ways to connect with current and potential clients continues to be very important to the continued growth of the United States’ economy and its firms,” he said. “Continuing to connect diverse suppliers to enhance revenue opportunities is key. This has to be part of a corporation’s business plan rather than being seen as a special program. The more people that can provide a particular good or service, the more opportunities that are for better pricing and cost efficiency.


 â€śWe are all in the relationship business. It is important to attend events that allow the business owners to learn about information that can be beneficial to their business, along with meeting other business owners that they have an opportunity to do business with,” he continued. “Visibility is key to the development of business relationships that can lead to new business opportunities. I believe that by attending this event and similar events, it will allow a business to be an eye and ear witness.”


To learn more about the New York & New Jersey MSDC, visit nynjmsdc.org.


“Igniting Business Relationships and Evaluating Supplier Development” Business Opportunity Exchange New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. NY&NJ MSDC Terrence Clark minority suppliers diversity officers Eastern Minority Supplier Development Counci Southern New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware

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