Nine leaders representing the country’s top minority and diverse business organizations recently gathered at a virtual Synergy Forward panel to discuss key issues on supplier diversity, inclusion and certification.
Mark Madrid, associate administrator, Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), gave the opening remarks, praising the panel’s diversity. He also called for a level playing field and breaking down barriers for small, minority and diverse businesses to grow and prosper, especially those hardest hit by the pandemic and those unable to join in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Hosted by the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC), the Synergy Forward Panel included:
- Jill Houghton, president and CEO, Disability: IN;
- Justin Nelson, co-founder and president, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
- Ying McGuire, president and CEO, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
- Matthew Pavelek, president and CEO, National Veteran-Owned Business Associations (NaVOBA)
- Keith King, founder and CEO, The National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC)
- Ron Busby, president and CEO, US Black Chambers Inc. (USBC)
- Raul Salinas, board member and general counsel of United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), representing Ramiro Cavazos, president and CEO, USHCC
- Susan Au Allen, national president and CEO, U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC)
- Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO, The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
“It can’t get any better than this,” Allen said. “We’re proud to have gathered nine independent organizations for a candid and substantive exchange of views on supplier diversity, the importance of certification and, especially, on how we could all work together, harness the power of synergy, and move forward to help our unique constituents grow and thrive in the post-pandemic marketplace.”
Allen said that certification of minority-owned businesses is more important than ever after President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 instructed all federal agencies to increase their purchase from minority businesses from 5% to 15% in the next five years.
Eight of the nine organizations have an established certification program that validates businesses are at least 51% owned, controlled and managed on a day-to-day basis by one or more Asian American, Black American or Hispanic American (minorities), or a combination of any of them, as well as people with disabilities, LGBT, disabled veterans and women.
While the federal government recognizes certification of minority-, veteran-and women-owned businesses, corporations also recognize certified disability- and LGBT-owned businesses.
The panelists discussed the value to corporations of partnering with their respective organizations, measuring supplier diversity impact, the importance of certification, and creating synergy among the organizations to benefit their constituents.
The panel is part of the second line-up of programs presented at Celebr Asian Business Development Conference, which held its first part in early June.
To learn more about USPAACC or Celebr, visit uspaacc.com or celebrasianconference.com.