CAMSC Drives Momentum and Highlights Economic Leadership at 14th Annual Business Achievement Awards Gala

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The Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council Recognizes Partners and Sustains Greater Representation for Aboriginal and Diverse Communities.

On September 27th, 2018, at its 14th annual Business Achievement Awards Gala, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) recognized North American corporate leaders in supplier diversity and awarded the growing number of successful Canadian Aboriginal and minority business owners who work with them. The event celebrated this year’s triumphs in advancing and advocating for greater diversity and representation in corporate supply chains.

This year’s winners represent first, second and third generation entrepreneurship in diverse owned businesses and corporate leaders across sectors and industries committed to supplier diversity. From leading multinational corporations to local start-up businesses, the evening’s celebration of minority business success had a clear message: diversity is our future.

The Gala event was hosted by Master of Ceremonies Brandon Gomez from CTV’s Your Morning and was highlighted by a keynote speech from Mr. Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods. Mr. Fakih’s success journey as a minority-owned business leader who built a successful global chain of restaurants to become a multimillion-dollar success exemplified attainable possibilities when passion, commitment and opportunity work together. Mr. Fakih emphasized: “Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice.”

MP Jean Yip, from the riding of Scarborough—Agincourt brought greetings from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who commended CAMSC’s ongoing dedication to building strong and inclusive business communities.

CAMSC President and CEO, Cassandra Dorrington reminded all: “We are honoured to recognize these leaders who represent the core foundation of greater representation that is behind CAMSC’s mission. This year’s winners are an impressive group of first, second and third generation Canadians who exemplify the abilities found in so many diverse and minority-owned businesses in the country.”

“We’re living in a rapidly-changing economic landscape where policy changes both in Canada and beyond its borders are having immediate effects on the business community,” continued Dorrington. “Tonight’s awards highlight the resiliency of minority business leaders who are able to rise to any challenges that come their way and to exceed expectations regarding their collective successes.”

2018 Winners and Highlights:

Supplier of the Year was awarded to emergiTEL Inc., a prolific Staffing Agency with a specialization in the placement of Technology and Business Professionals. The company promotes inclusion and diversity within the staffing industry, in the hopes of giving newcomers to Canada a fighting chance to find great employment.

Procurement Business Advocate of Year was awarded to Reggie Humphrey, Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity, GM. Humphrey has been Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity at General Motors (GM) since 2012 and has been with the company for over two decades. Reggie is a key player in ensuring supplier diversity is front and centre at GM.

Small Business of the Year was awarded to AceTronic Industrial Controls Inc. Since 1983, AceTronic has manufactured, distributed and serviced products that plastic manufacturers in Canada, U.S. and Mexico use to create their own products. With $1.5 million in sales over the past year, the company is poised for increased growth in the coming years.

The Technology Innovation Award was awarded LA Metal Stamping. Founded in 1976, LA Metal Stamping Co. is a business that designs, patents and manufactures metal stamped parts. The company has continued to grow with Fortune 500 companies such as GE (General Electric) and auto industry leaders like GM, Toyota and Chrysler (FCA).

The Collaboration Award was awarded to City of Toronto. In 2017, the City of Toronto implemented the Social Procurement Program, which uses the organization’s procurement to create positive social and economic outcomes. On average, the City of Toronto spends approximately $1.8 billion in procurement contracts annually. Social procurement is about leveraging a proportion of the City’s procurement spend to create economic opportunities for people from equity-seeking groups.

The Tier 1 Champion of Supplier Diversity Award was awarded to Dana Incorporated. Dana Incorporated provides engineered solutions for improving the efficiency and sustainability of powered vehicles and machinery. Since 2010, Dana Incorporated has been actively supporting diverse suppliers and in the last four years, the development of diverse suppliers has expanded by 76% (57% increase in spend).

Corporation of the Year Award was presented to Toyota. At TOYOTA, their long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion is driven by their founding principles of Respect for People and Continuous Improvement. Their process of diversity and inclusion is ingrained throughout TOYOTA’s business functions and is illustrated every day by their team members, supplier partners and community advocates.

For more information about CAMSC and the awards gala, visit


MSDUK announces supplier diversity award winners at 2018 Awards Dinner

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Cassandra Rennie, winner of MSDUK Supplier Diversity Advocate award

The winners of the UK’s most prestigious supplier diversity awards were revealed last week (Wednesday 26th September) at a glittering ceremony at Birmingham’s Vox Conference Centre.

The annual MSDUK Conference and Awards is a must-attend event for Ethnic Minority Businesses looking to drive inclusive procurement and connect with diverse like-minded businessmen and women. This year’s event saw over 1,000 entrepreneurs, exhibitors and supplier diversity leaders gather to honour the efforts of both large corporations and ethnic minority owned businesses in making supply chains both inclusive and competitive.

The MSDUK Awards 2018 were split into six categories:

–          Scale Up Business (sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company)

–          Inclusive Procurement

–          Supplier Diversity Advocate (sponsored by AgileOne)

–          Supplier Diversity Excellence (sponsored by Gibbs Hybrid)

–          Businesswoman of the Year (sponsored by EY)

–          Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by EY)

Blue-collar recruitment agency Fortel Services and Clinical Research Organisation (CRO) Clintec International were named joint winners of the Scale Up Business Award, an award which recognises businesses that have shown significant demonstrable growth over the last two financial years within their specific marketplace.

The Inclusive Procurement Award, awarded to a British public or private sector purchasing organisation outside of the MSDUK network that demonstrates the strongest commitment to supply chain diversity, was handed to HS2 – the UK’s imminent high-speed railway and the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

Paul Harvey, Head of Procurement at Marsh & McLennan Companies, and Cassandra Rennie, UKI Operations and Sustainability Senior Analyst at Accenture, were named joint winners of the Supplier Diversity Advocate Award for their commitment, passion and hard work to promote diversity and inclusion within their organisation’s supply chain; while national energy supplier EDF Energy picked up the Supplier Diversity Excellence Award in recognition of its exceptional leadership in supplier diversity.

Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Interim Management and Executive Search firm Green Park was crowned Entrepreneur of the Year in celebration of his longstanding commitment to supplier diversity and for “setting a new benchmark for the recruitment industry that widens the gate without lowering the bar”.

Concluding the dazzling awards ceremony, Farida Gibbs, CEO of Gibbs Hybrid, which provides single-source integrated Talent Management Services, Programme Consultancy and Outsourcing Solutions to mid-market and FORTUNE 500 companies, received the prestigious accolade of Businesswoman of the Year in recognition of her “dynamic, creative and visionary” leadership.

Delegates enjoyed a stellar line-up of speakers including Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to build a $1bn business; Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy; stand-up comedian Ava Vidal; Ebookers founder Dinesh Dhamija and Accenture CPO Kai Nowosel, before being treated to a sumptuous Awards Dinner sponsored by Barclays.

The two-day event (25th-26th September) concluded with the hotly anticipated Awards Reception sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline.

Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK, said: “This year’s awards were driven by the idea that innovation through diversity will be what powers the UK economy over the next decade. All of our award finalists are living proof of this principle, and long may their commitment to supply chain diversity continue.

“Our warmest congratulations go to the winners of the MSDUK Awards 2018. They deserve these awards for the outstanding and important work they do”.

Farida Gibbs, MSDUK Businesswoman of the Year and CEO of Gibbs Hybrid, said: “I am thrilled to be named MSDUK Businesswoman of the Year. I’ve never considered myself to be an ‘entrepreneur’ – I am someone who loves what they do with great passion. I didn’t do well at school, an illness at the age of 15 saw me in and out of hospitals and I left school with 2 GCSE’s. I felt like a failure. I truly believe this is one of the reasons why I push the boundaries, am tenacious, never give up, take a leap of faith (self-belief) to prove that I am successful and can be successful if I put my mind to it”.

She added: “My upbringing has taught me to be a great leader for my team, to lead by example, build a team who share the same common purpose and outlook on life. Whatever I set my mind to do, I do. Whatever we dream, our vision is all within our reach”.

The 2018 MSDUK Award Winners in full:

Scale Up Business


Fortel Services

Clintec International

Inclusive Procurement



Supplier Diversity Advocate


Paul Harvey, Marsh & McLennan Companies

Cassandra Rennie, Accenture

Supplier Diversity Excellence


EDF Energy

Businesswoman of the Year


Farida Gibbs, Gibbs Hybrid

Entrepreneur of the Year


Raj Tulsiani, Green Park





Flushable and biodegradable sanitary products take MSDUK Innovation Challenge title

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A start-up business that makes the world’s first safely-flushable and biodegradable sanitary products has been crowned as the winner of the MSDUK Innovation Challenge.

Polipop received the accolade at a glittering awards ceremony in Birmingham last week as part of a two-day conference celebrating supply chain diversity – MSDUK 2018.

Over 600 delegates, 200 entrepreneurs, 100 buyers, 60 exhibitors, 40 global brands and 50 supplier diversity leaders attended the event, whilst a select panel of investors and supply chain experts heard pitches from 12 exciting new businesses aiming impress them with their innovative ideas and win the MSDUK Innovation Challenge.

This year’s prizes include scholarships worth $10,000 to the prestigious Ivy League Tuck School of Business in the USA, funding opportunities, a place on Accenture’s Development programme and mentoring pitch workshops with international motivational speaker David McQueen.

Polipop have developed pads that break apart down any toilet within minutes. They are 100% biodegradable and body-safe, are plant-based and contain zero parabens or perfumes.

Olivia Ahn, Co-Founder at Polipop said;

‘We are thrilled to have won and to now be able to go to Tuck Business School next year along with RAB Microfludics and Twipes. This prize is unique amongst innovation challenges, in that the business course based in New Hampshire will enable us to not only further the start-up but also to explore the American approach to entrepreneurship.

‘’Being a London-based start-up, we have worked with many British and European mentors and advisers. We look forward to exploring the American market and audience whilst in America, and of course, putting into practice what we learn at Tuck Business School.

‘’Working with the other finalists throughout the innovation challenge showed us the calibre, talent and passion in the teams behind the start-ups. It was inspiring to learn from each other and to be announced as the winner was an incredible honour.’’

Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK said:

“Innovation through diversity is set to power the UK economy over the next decade and this was the mantra behind this year’s Conference and Awards. For over 10 years, MSDUK have been dedicated to improving diversity in entrepreneurship and driving inclusive procurement.

‘’We believe that supplier diversity is an economic and moral imperative. Innovation comes from a diversity of perspectives, so when we limit who can contribute, we in turn limit what problems we can solve. The calibre of the finalists this year was incredibly high and I am sure we will be hearing about all of them in the very near future but for the judges this year, Polipop was the outstanding business, along with the runners up, RAB Microfludics and Twipes.’’

This year’s finalists in full were:

– Polipop. The first safely-flushable and biodegradable sanitary products

– Twipes, which manufactures the world’s only truly flushable wipes

– RAB-Microfluidics, the company which downscales whole laboratory protocols onto a glass microchip

– ThingTtrax, which specialises in Internet of Things manufacturing machines and brings disconnected machines online

– Hello Daisy Life, which provides set top boxes and networks for the elderly

– The Cheeky Panda, which connects carbon neutral, ultra-sensitive healthy bamboo tissue products

– Medixus, a company which connects healthcare workers across Africa

– Zingr, which provides financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked in developing countries;

– Audiowings, the specialist in smart headphones for workouts

– Envirup, a company which provides insulated sidings systems for difficult-to-insulate homes

– Mother Nature’s making refreshing drinks that are inspired by flavours from a diverse range of cultures

conference round up picture

The 10th Supplier Diversity China Summit-2018 MSD China & WEConnect International Conference

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The 10th Supplier Diversity China Summit-2018 MSD China & WEConnect International Conference was concluded in Beijing on August 30th 2018.

This is the first timee MSD China and WEConnect International have worked together to host a joint conference in China; 16 purchasing corporations and 37 diverse suppliers from home and abroad participated in this grand event.

Click here to read the Conference Newsletter

The Contribution Of Supplier Diversity To Competitive Advantage

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By Leonard Greenhalgh, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and Michael Robinson, IBM Corp.


Many leading corporations have sophisticated supplier diversity programs. These exist when there is strong support from visionary senior managers who see the strategic advantage of ensuring long-term supply chain excellence. In the absence of such vision, the focus is on the next quarterly accounting report. In that context, the procurement function is judged on achievement of short-term savings, and the supplier diversity function is dismissed as superfluous and a target for budget cuts. In this article, we show that the proper role of supplier diversity professionals is to increase the competitive advantage that results from cogent outsourcing.

The procurement function has grown in importance during the past decades. For most of the 20th century, major corporations were vertically integrated. They were structured to perform value-chain activities in-house whenever possible, so as to maintain control of supply safeguard intellectual property and maximize profits by owning all the value-added revenue streams. That approach had benefits, but it also led to inefficiencies. No corporation can be at peak efficiency and at the cutting-edge of innovation in everything it does. So, the conventional wisdom in management evolved from insourcing to outsourcing. Corporations retained in-house the functions that had strategic importance, depended on corporations’ distinctive competencies or created particular economic efficiencies. Other functions were outsourced. Reflecting this shift, supply chain managers replaced purchasing agents in the procurement function.

This evolution is perhaps most obvious in the transformation of the U.S. “Big Three” auto companies. Henry Ford, for example, once owned almost the entire value chain — including steel mills in the Ford River Rouge Complex and dealerships. His successors reconsidered the wisdom of his approach and began outsourcing to suppliers that could do a better job. Today, approximately two-thirds of the value of a vehicle comes from the supply chain; downstream in the value chain, dealerships are independently owned. And, the outsourcing phenomenon is not unique to the auto industry. Indeed, some pharmaceutical companies outsource as much as 90 percent of the value added.

In this new economy, supplier diversity professionals who do their jobs well are talent scouts. Their job is to understand their corporate strategies, know the supply bases and bring new outsourcing opportunities to the procurement function. They are looking for innovation, technical excellence, lower total costs, compliance with mandates and — in some cases — enhancement of the marketing message. They bring opportunities of which procurement professionals may not be aware.

The “business case” for supplier diversity

The supplier diversity professionals’ job is challenging when their roles are misunderstood by upper level managers. Supplier diversity professionals are neither civil rights advocates nor agents of corporate philanthropy. They are not human resource specialists charged with extending workforce diversity into the value chain. They are outsourcing specialists who should be contributing to the strategic conversation about how to enhance their corporations’ competitive advantages. They have a voice when they bring value; when they bring no value, they lament not being listened to and complain about how their corporations don’t understand the value of supplier diversity.

Supplier diversity professionals who don’t create value strive to justify their existences by seeking out the “business case” for supplier diversity, as if there are some magical words that can be spoken to justify their shares of management budgets. There are no magic words, but the fact that they feel the need to make the “business case” for their roles reveals a misunderstanding within the supply chain profession. Procurement professionals aren’t asked to make the “business case” for outsourcing to majority-owned suppliers. Everyone in procurement is expected to bring optimum value to corporations through outsourcing.

So, we need to focus on what opportunities supplier diversity professionals bring to their colleagues in procurement and how doing so contributes unique values to corporations. We will see that the contribution is different in different industries.

The strategic value of supplier diversity professionals

The most important contribution of supplier diversity professionals is to identify resources that other procurement professionals might overlook. Because competition is relentless and global, major corporations need to innovate and refine their operations in order to stay ahead of marketplace rivals. The majority of new ideas come from suppliers who are outside the mainstream businesses that typically serve corporations’ procurement functions — particularly small businesses, immigrants and diverse businesses. It is in this sense that supplier diversity professionals are talent scouts, scouring unfamiliar marketplaces domestically and globally to discover technical excellence and innovative ideas that will bolster the competitive advantages of their corporations.

Another contribution is to realign supply bases with corporations’ changing customer bases. Customers of the last century are different from the customers of the new millennium, due to rapidly changing demographics. Immigration, differential birthrates and the changing role of women have transformed the homogeneous marketplace of past generations. Major corporations must adapt to the different tastes, cultures and languages of today’s and tomorrow’s customers or lose competitive advantage. They need the input of suppliers and go-to-market partners that are as diverse as their customer bases.

Another demographic shift is important: Women and minorities are joining the entrepreneurial economy in increasing proportions. In the near future, diverse companies will outnumber majority-owned and -controlled businesses. Thus, supply bases are changing, and corporations need to keep abreast of these trends and the opportunities they present, if they are to maintain competitive advantages. Supplier diversity professionals are the link between outsourcing professionals and the evolving supply bases.

Major corporations have recently focused largely on the global economy and have tended to overlook their impact on local economies. This inattention is strategically shortsighted. When jobs are eliminated in local economies, the aggregate wealth of the locales diminishes. Obvious symptoms of this decline include shuttered-up businesses, crumbling infrastructures and higher local unemployment with its attendant increase in crime and social instability. Less obvious are the effects on the local workforces, whose educations suffer when the shrunken tax bases result in reduced funding for education and in tax revenues being diverted to increase police presence, build and staff larger jails, operate drug rehabilitation programs and pay unemployment compensation in all its various forms. Some of the corporations’ work forces are necessarily local — even when much of the value added is largely from global outsourcing. Higher local costs, underfunded local infrastructures and less-able workforces diminish corporations’ competitive advantages.

Note that in some industries, supplier diversity professionals create economic — as well as strategic — advantages. Utilities are a case in point. It makes economic sense to outsource to local diverse companies because the multiplier effect works to the utilities’ advantage. Who struggles the most to pay their utility bills on time? Diverse customers with limited earning power. Who votes on public utility commission price increases? Local customers, an increasing number of whom are minorities and women. Where are new power plants usually located? In low-income, minority-dominated communities. For these reasons, outsourcing to local diverse businesses creates public goodwill at the same time that it helps the bottom line.

Sometimes the value of a strong supplier diversity function is to facilitate compliance with mandates. An example is publicly funded construction of sports stadiums, convention centers and schools. Local taxpayers help pay for the projects, so it makes economic sense for local taxpaying companies to participate in the construction and operations. By putting money back into communities and letting the multiplier effect expand local wealth, public officials bolster the tax bases and make local economies more robust.

The effect is more diffuse — but just as logical — in the case of federal mandates. Job and wealth creation are antidotes to urban decay, so it makes sense to allocate some proportion of federal spending to alleviate poverty in poor communities. Supplier diversity professionals in this context are not agents of corporate social responsibility. They facilitate linkage of a public good — such as strong defenses or good highway systems — with targeted federal spending. When there is a public mandate, competitive advantage accrues to corporations that comply and produce real economic impact.

A final — and largely untapped — strategic advantage that comes from an effective supplier diversity function is increased consumer loyalty. We have seen “Made in USA” and “Buy Local” campaigns drive sales. Similarly, many women like to buy products and services from women-owned businesses, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council is having increasing success in promoting this marketing initiative. Given that the fastest-growing sectors of the consumer market are minorities and women, when supplier diversity professionals do their jobs well, there is an opportunity to connect their successes to the marketing messages. General Motors, for example, is adamant about outsourcing to minorities; minorities, in turn, show disproportionate preference for Cadillacs, which have a large proportion of minority-sourced content. Thus, supplier diversity can be a source of competitive advantage in the consumer marketplace — if the fruits of these efforts are publicized.

Developing the supply base

It should be obvious from the foregoing that the supplier diversity function is important to major corporations when it is thoughtfully integrated into the outsourcing operations. But, being a talent scout is only half the job of the supplier diversity professional. It is not sufficient in any context to engage high-potential participants and then “hope for the best.” Recruiters for professional sports, for example, find people who have the potential to be excellent players, but that’s only Step No. 1. The talented players need to trained to be as good as they are capable of becoming, and they need to be successfully integrated into the team. Suppliers are no different. They need to be developed from high-potential suppliers into high-performing suppliers.

Supply chain managers need to be aware that the paradigm shift in sourcing, from insourcing to outsourcing, omitted an important principle. Vertically integrated corporations of the mid-20th century strove to make every functional unit as effective and efficient as possible — because corporate success depended on having no weak links in the internal value chains that would create competitive disadvantages. So if departments were underperforming, corrective action in the form of training or consulting would be prescribed. During the shift from insourcing to outsourcing, the locus of corrective action shifted from upper-level managers to purchasing agents, and the emphasis shifted from business unit development to supplier replacement.

Supplier replacement is seldom as good a solution as supplier development because of the learning curve effects. No new supplier is a perfect outsource partner at the outset. Suppliers need to learn corporations’ systems and processes, cultures and procurement decision structures. Then suppliers have to adjust their own operations to the corporations’ priorities regarding cost, quality, delivery, innovation and flexibility. Good suppliers engage in continuous improvement and relationship-building. Whatever progress has been made is lost when suppliers are replaced, generating real transaction costs that are not recorded in accounting reports.

In an outsourcing context, efficiency and effectiveness are system-level challenges. The supplier diversity professional brings in high-potential supply candidates, then it is up to supply chain managers to make them as good as they can be. Here are four examples of actions forward-thinking corporations can take:

Focus consultants on value chain success. When outsourcing shifts the locus of competitive advantage to the value chain level, consultants need to pay attention to the efficacy and integration of the supply chain and the go-to-market partners. The strategies of many large corporations have been stymied by the combination of high dependence on outsourcing and weaknesses in the supply chain. The Boeing Co., for example, has a large backlog of orders for its 787 commercial airliners, and has the factory capacity to ramp up production. But, planes cannot move through the complex assembly process without critical outsourced components. That bottleneck has led to rethinking the issue of when to outsource and when to insource. Today, consultants need to span the boundary between corporations and their suppliers.

Allow suppliers to sit in on corporate training sessions. In the days of vertical integration, managers and employees of the various divisions were expected to learn how to do their jobs best, and corporations would engage trainers to teach them. Most corporations that outsource a large proportion of the value added give access to these training programs only to their own employees. This type of thinking is myopic. Suppliers need training too, and the variable cost of allowing suppliers to sit in on corporate programs is negligible. The strengthening of interorganizational relationships is a bonus. Clark Construction Group LLC has an exemplary program of sharing corporate training resources with diverse suppliers — the better the suppliers function, the better off is Clark Construction.

Pay suppliers on time. Accountants think like accountants. They know that if they stretch out payment terms, they will get free use of working capital that is owed to suppliers, improving the corporation’s bottom line. The issue of fairness and bullying aside, this is an unwise business practice. Good suppliers are often cash-poor, especially when they are succeeding in the marketplace and growing. Corporations’ costs of capital are usually lower than suppliers’, so the practice of stretching out payment terms creates value-chain inefficiencies, and is, therefore, self-defeating for corporations. Google Inc. is an example of a company that has figured out and pays its suppliers — if necessary — on 15-day terms.

Mentor suppliers that need mentoring. Corporations are strategically wise to make an investment in the success of their highest-potential suppliers. Entrepreneurs tend not to be business school graduates. They tend to be more motivated to start a business and face the challenges of newness than to sit in class and learn about what they might do if they ever started a business. The result is that most entrepreneurs are better at performing tasks —manufacturing products or delivering services — than they are at running their businesses. It is in corporations’ self-interest to help these suppliers succeed. Some of the supplier development can come from intensive learning experiences. However, it is hard to get entrepreneurs to leave their businesses for more than a week! But, they also need coaching. IBM Corp. has led the way in establishing the optimum balance between being taught and being mentored. It provides a strategic retreat for its diverse protégé companies, then invites the mentors to join the entrepreneurs’ top management teams to plan and then help the suppliers implement their strategies for greater success.


If supplier diversity professionals focus on increasing corporations’ competitive advantages, there is no need to justify the business case. They are allies to supply chain managers, providing novel opportunities from outside the mainstream of traditional procurement. If they want to be taken seriously, supplier diversity professionals must speak the language of the C-suite — particularly the language of the chief procurement officer and the vice president of procurement. The proportion or total value of corporations’ diverse spending is irrelevant; honors at diversity-oriented conventions are irrelevant. Publicity from sponsoring a golf outing or a “power breakfast” is irrelevant. Contributing to competitive advantage and fostering economic self-interest are persuasive and earn the supplier diversity professional a seat at the table.

Global Supplier Diversity Story - L to R - Fernando Hernandez, Cassandra Dorrington, Mayank Shah_preview

Supplier diversity leaders attend Supply Nation’s Connect in Australia

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Supply Nation’s annual flagship event, Connect, is the largest supplier diversity event in Australia.

The three events over two days are considered a must-attend by the Australian supplier diversity community. The Knowledge Forum on the first day is designed to bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners with buyers from government, corporate and not-for-profit organisations to share stories and learnings; hear about global and Australian best practice; and to provide practical strategies that can be implemented post-event. Day two sees Supply Nation host the largest Indigenous Business Tradeshow in Australia – with over 165 businesses showcasing their products and services at this year’s event. The Tradeshow is followed by the Gala Awards Dinner – this year sold out with 860 guests attending to celebrate the announcement of the 2018 Supplier Diversity Awards.

This year, over 2,300 people joined the two-day event held on 22 and 23 May with the common aim of building a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable Indigenous business sector.

Laura Berry, CEO of Supply Nation, welcomed guests to the first day of Connect, at the Knowledge Forum and in doing so launched Supply Nation’s new brandmark and livery with reference to this year’s Connect theme: ‘shaping an inclusive economy’.

“The new brandmark tells the story of our members, partners and Indigenous businesses coming together to shape a more inclusive economy, where all Australians have an equal opportunity to grow a business, support their families and achieve their dreams.” Ms Berry said.

Ms Berry continued “An inclusive economy is a strong economy and each and every one of you here today has a role to play in shaping that Australia.”

The keynote addresses were delivered by the Chair of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Clifford A. Bailey who encouraged delegates to embrace inclusion not only within their organisation but at every opportunity and Jamila Gordon, who captivated the audience with her personal story of traversing Australia’s business sector as a refugee: from washing dishes to becoming the Group CIO of Qantas, and now running her own start-up supporting other businesses.


The Global Supplier Diversity Story

Global Supplier Diversity Story - session_preview

A highlight of the program for many attendees was the ‘Global Supplier Diversity Story’ session where delegates heard from thought leaders and practitioners from around the globe including Cassandra Dorrington, President of the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Diversity Council; Fernando Hernandez, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Director of Microsoft Corporation and Mayank Shah, Founder and CEO of Minority Supplier Development UK Ltd.

The panel shared their experience and insights into inclusive procurement: how to empower decision makers within an organisation to prioritise supplier diversity and the strategies and tactics that have worked to drive change and social inclusion for minority owned businesses in the US, Canada, South Africa and the UK and how these may apply in the Australian context.

Federal Government support

The Federal Government’s support for supplier diversity and Supply Nation was clearly displayed at Connect 2018. At the Indigenous Business Tradeshow, the Federal Government sponsored and staffed the “Australian Government Link” where five departments and agencies were available for Indigenous businesses to discuss how to better engage with and navigate through government procurement processes.

Senator the Honourable Nigel Scullion, Senator for the Northern Territory and Minister for Indigenous Affairs attended, and spent time visiting the exhibitor booths and talking to business owners. He also addressed the Tradeshow and reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to growing the Indigenous business sector.

At the Gala Awards Dinner, the 860 guest were thrilled by a live cross from Canberra where the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull congratulated Supply Nation, the awards finalists and winners, and the whole sector for the achievements of the past few years. He mentioned the recent government announcement that since the launch of the Indigenous Procurement Policy in July 2015, over AUD$1 billion has been spent with Indigenous businesses.


2018 Supplier Diversity Awards

Laura Berry, CEO Supply Nation, opening the Gala Awards Dinner_previewOn the final night of Connect, the prestigious Supplier Diversity Awards were announced. This year over 860 guests attended the event and celebrated as the winners were revealed. From the most successful organisations to the individuals who are creating change through their own advocacy or business acumen, the Supplier Diversity Awards are the highest recognition of achievement in Australian supplier diversity.

Ten awards were presented, including Corporate Member of the Year, Government Member of the Year, Certified Supplier of the Year, Registered Supplier of the Year, Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year, Supplier Diversity Partnership of the Year, Procurement Professional of the Year, Indigenous Businesswoman of the Year, Young Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year and the most prestigious Outstanding Impact of the Year award. Finalists and winners are available here.

Connect has once again brought together the entire supplier diversity community from Australia and the globe, with record numbers attending Next year is Supply Nation’s 10th birthday and Connect 2019 will be a real celebration.

For further information about Supply Nation’s annual Connect conference, visit



Unlocking Innovation Through Diversity: Nominations Open For The MSDUK Innovation Challenge

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Nominations have opened for the MSDUK Innovation Challenge 2018, a pitching competition that aims to provide opportunities for ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the UK with an innovative idea, product or technology. The Innovation Challenge which is open to individual entrepreneurs and businesses, is sponsored by Cummins and will take place on 26th September 2018 at the Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham, during the MSDUK Conference & Awards.

On offer are three scholarships to the weeklong residential Executive Business Programme at the Ivy League’s Tuck School of Business in Dartmouth, USA, worth $10,000 each.

The purpose of this year’s Innovation Challenge is to ‘Unlock Innovation Through Diversity’ by highlighting the ground-breaking ideas, business models and products developed by ethnic minority entrepreneurs and providing a platform for them to obtain investment, access to market and expert support.

The ethos behind the Innovation Challenge is to eradicate barriers for aspiring entrepreneurs to spurn new enterprises and provide support for existing ones. The goal is to make innovation and entrepreneurship accessible to all and showcase diversity as key part to achieving this result. In an era where talks around diversity & inclusion are at its zenith, and yet data shows that much more is to be done, this country-wide competition is a unique program actively engaging the diversity agenda & supporting minority-led businesses.

Mayank Shah Founder & CEO of MSDUK commented: “Britain is home to some exceptional ethnic minority entrepreneurs, professionals and individuals that are at the forefront of introducing breakthrough technologies, innovative ideas and new products. However, very little attention is given to diversity within the UK start up community and the difficulties ethnic minority entrepreneurs face in bringing innovative ideas and products to the market. At MSDUK we aim to change that by supporting innovative ethnic minority entrepreneurs and businesses.”

This event will see a panel of judges selecting a winner from the categories below:

*Disruptive Businesses – New Business Models & Solutions Emerging Tech: AI, IoT, 3D Printing, Blockchain, Robotics and more.
*Tech for Good – Healthcare, Education, Future Workforce, Financial Services, Security, Citizen Identity and more.
*Sustainable Futures – Smart Cities, Built Environment, Energy, Renewables, Transport.
*Innovation Wildcard – Creative Industries, Leisure, Entertainment, an innovative idea don’t need to fit a box or category

To apply for the 2018 Innovation Challenge, click here

Closing date for MSDUK Innovation Challenge applications is 20th June 2018.

Click here for more information on the Innovation Challenge

Click here for further information on exhibiting or attending the MSDUK 2018 Conference & Awards

For more information, please contact Ervin Picari: [email protected]

Supplier Diversity Leaders Shine at the 12th CAMSC Business Achievement Awards

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TORONTO, September 29, 2016 – BMO Financial Group was recognized as the Corporation of the Year at the 12th annual Business Achievement Awards hosted by the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC).  Annually, this awards ceremony celebrates diverse suppliers and the corporations they work with, who are leading the way in supplier diversity.  The awards were presented, including Supplier of the Year, Small Business of the Year, and Procurement Business Advocate of the Year.

“While we celebrate the achievements of our nominees and winners, we know that every one of our certified members are leaders in supplier diversity,” explained Cassandra Dorrington, President and CEO, CAMSC.  “Their effort to drive inclusive procurement opportunities is the reason why over $2 billion has been spent by our corporate members on these suppliers. As this momentum grows, we are committed to supporting each of these leaders every step of the way.”


The keynote this year was David Chartrand, the longest serving President of the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF).  For over two decades, he has advanced the cause of the Métis Nation provincially and nationally, while improving opportunities for all Manitobans.  Under his leadership, the MMF has experienced tremendous growth in self-government capacity, programs and services for the Métis Nation and the Manitoba Métis Community.

List of Awards Winners:

  • Supplier of the Year – mobileLIVE
  • Small Business of the Year – Stratus Plastics International
  • CATA Technology Innovation Award – Triplewell Products Ltd.
  • Corporation of the Year – BMO Financial Group
  • Tier 1 Champion of Supplier Diversity – Sodexo Canada
  • Procurement Business Advocate of Year – Lori Benson, EY
  • Collaboration Award – RBC


Supplier of the Year – mobileLIVE

Awarded to an Aboriginal or Minority-owned business based on growth and development, export sales growth, and major accomplishments during the previous year, the winner is mobileLIVE, a one-stop shop for digital transformation of businesses. Their customized approach of user driven and omni channel experience creation coupled with specialized focus on mobile, cloud, web applications, and automation tools ensure accelerated delivery with enhanced customer experience. They serve some of Canada’s most iconic enterprises, smartphone manufacturers, global network vendors, software houses, and a major hospital. As a Canadian-owned-and-operated company, mobileLIVE has gathered tremendous momentum in a short span of five years with a year-over-year revenue growth of 400% along-with 100% customer retention. Today mobileLIVE has more than 250 team members, serving customers across Canada. mobileLIVE was awarded “Ontario Business Achievement Award” by Ontario Chambers of Commerce in 2015 and “Momentum Company of the Year” by TechConnex Technology Leadership Award for their forward thinking, innovation and service excellence.

CATA Technology Innovation Award – Triplewell Products Ltd.

Awarded to an Aboriginal or Minority-owned business for the most innovative technology-based product or service, the winner is Triplewell Products Ltd. The company is an automotive interior manufacturer of trims, and component parts and producer of apparel and technical outerwear. An end-to-end solution provider, services include product design, prototyping and to plastics extrusion, sub-assembly and welding. Technological capabilities include: conceptualization, design, CNC machining, fabrication, machine assembly, and PLC programming. They have created an innovative foam-injection carousal machine capable of injecting different chemical systems via touch-screen selection and self-locking precision aluminum molds used in the foam injection process of auto head and arm rests. This machine enables standardized settings to ensure product quality consistency. It is a fully scalable machine – all future models can be manufactured using the backbone. Head rest molds developed for each new model program can be designed to encompass many different shapes and contours of head and arm rests. They are one of their clients’ key OEMs of choice.

Procurement Business Advocate of the Year – Lori Benson, EY

Presented to an individual who strongly promotes supplier diversity through outreach efforts/activities and is respected by their peers for advocating supplier diversity in Canada. Lori Benson is dedicated to broadening her organization’s supplier diversity (SD) efforts across North America. Lori networks and develops relationships with diverse suppliers to constantly improve, segment and enhance EY’s SD program. She builds internal relationships across various business units and is able to fully utilize the support of the D&I teams, talent, marketing and executive leadership to drive the value of SD internally and externally. In addition to her work with CAMSC, Lori has advocated for EY to become founding members of WeConnect Canada and CGLCC (Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce). Lori has led a multitude of training sessions for suppliers on how to respond to RFPs, make cold calls and perfect their elevator speech. A regular corporate table host for marketplace meetings, Lori is an ardent promoter of EY’s SD program to expand opportunities for diverse suppliers.

Tier 1 Champion of Supplier Diversity – Sodexo Canada

This award is presented to a business-to-business Tier 1 corporation that actively supports its client’s economic inclusion goals by including certified Aboriginal and minority suppliers in their procurement opportunities.  The winner, Sodexo is a global food service and facilities management company. Its services include foodservices, reception, maintenance and facilities and equipment management. Sodexo has educated current vendors on Tier 1 and Tier 2 spends. Their procurement department has established goals to include diverse suppliers and work regularly with organizations to identify diverse vendors to participate in their RFI/RFPs. Sodexo regularly identifies, mentors and coaches diverse vendors and provides them opportunities to grow. Sodexo has mentored CAMSC suppliers towards becoming Sodexo partners. There has been an equal focus on corporates as well, with introductions to certifying bodies and Supplier Diversity education/mentoring and exposure. Their Supply Chain Inclusion Program leverages best practices from Sodexo operations around the world to develop sustainable relationships with suppliers (SMEs, Aboriginal, women-owned, and minority-owned). Most recently, Sodexo has pledged to spend $1 billion (US) with 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises.

Collaboration Award – RBC

This award is presented to a company that works collaboratively with CAMSC members, suppliers or other organizations to strengthen Aboriginal and minority business growth and facilitate supplier diversity.  The winner, RBC’s has a value of “Diversity and Inclusion” which is evident in the leadership role it has taken in engaging corporations, government and stakeholders to implement inclusive procurement processes. RBC’s goal is to achieve a truly inclusive supply chain that provides procurement opportunities to qualified suppliers. Their flagship Supplier Diversity Mentorship program launched in 2012 supporting supplier diversity activities. They participate in supplier diversity events and work with other Canadian corporations to cultivate relationships. As a founding member of CAMSC, RBC works closely with stakeholder organizations to promote supplier diversity and support certified suppliers. RBC articulates the benefits and value of utilizing certified suppliers and encourages their Tier 1 suppliers to do the same. The value of Collaboration is also demonstrated as internal teams work together to share insights on building a holistic approach of diversity and their associated impact. This collaboration and partnership approach has led not only to aligned relationships with diverse organizations but also to increased involvement from a number of RBC’s Tier 1 suppliers.

Small Business of the Year – Stratus Plastics International

Awarded to an Aboriginal or Minority-owned business with 50 or fewer employees, based on business growth and development, export sales growth, and major accomplishments during the previous year. The winner, Stratus Plastics International is dedicated to providing high quality injection molded products. This company continues to grow and in the past three years, has achieved ongoing financial and operational growth. A significant investment was made in 2015 on capital equipment. This year, Stratus purchased a 2750 injection moulding press, added four indoor silos and expanded their current facility to 8,400 square feet. Additional commitment for growth includes purchases of two robots, and five machines to help increase capacity for current customers. The addition of a 2750 HPM is an investment towards Stratus’ minority partnership with Flex-N-Gate, which helps with production and overflow. Since 2006, Stratus Plastics has morphed a unique relationship with Flex-N-Gate while maintaining a substantial footprint in the Canadian region. The success with Flex-N-Gate was instrumental in Stratus attaining work from Magna and AP Plasman. Stratus is a company that has worked with many Tier 1 and non-automotive companies to provide excellent services and products.

Corporation of the Year – BMO Financial Group

This award is presented to an organization that actively includes certified Aboriginal and minority suppliers in procurement opportunities and continues to develop and promote these suppliers internally and externally.

The winner, BMO Financial Group goes beyond their comfort zone to draw from the wide range of experiences of their colleagues, customers and suppliers. BMO is a pioneer and leader in diversity. They demonstrate progressive commitment to improving the diversity of their workforce and suppliers. Supplier Diversity has become a key component of the bank’s overall diversity strategy. Using diverse suppliers is an integral part of BMO’s commitment to meeting the needs of its customers and the communities it serves. Internally, BMO’s Supplier Diversity Team works closely with colleagues to foster an inclusive procurement process. Externally, BMO’s Supplier Diversity Program has a focus on expanding the program to include more Tier II suppliers.  BMO is looking to formalize its commitment to supplier diversity by introducing a supplier diversity commitment statement this year.  BMO’s participation in CAMSC’s business value case studies is aimed to engage and inspire Canadian organizations to develop and implement inclusive procurement programs is authentication of BMO’s commitment to advancing supplier diversity in Canada.

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By 2 | MSDUK, News, United Kingdom | No Comments

MSDUK launches MSD – Europe in an effort to expand opportunity for minority businesses across the continent

The launch of MSD – Europe during the MSDUK 2016 Conference provided one of the many highlights of the three day Conference held in London this September. However, its importance is even greater when taking into consideration what this project aims to achieve and the challenges it has to overcome to become a success. MSD – Europe has often been discussed by various stakeholders that are part of the MSDUK network, the leading non-profit membership organisation driving inclusive procurement in the UK, and has been has been a lifelong ambition of MSDUK Founder and CEO Mayank Shah: ‘Since the inception of MSDUK I have always looked towards Europe with the hope of extending more opportunities to those minority/migrant businesses operating in various European countries and advocating the benefits of inclusive procurement supply chains’.

As Mayank points out, the challenge for expanding into Europe has always been in identifying the right country to start the process. This is because different EU countries compared to the UK have different definitions on ethnicity, and in some, ethnic minorities are not recognised as existing groups. A clear example of this is France which under its egalitarian beliefs treats all citizens the same, refusing to group them into ethnic categories.

For MSD – Europe to become successful in its support of minority businesses it was important that it operated in a country that has embraced multiculturalism and recognises the existence and contribution of its ethnic minority/migrant population and the obvious place to start was Germany. Not only is Germany Europe’s economic powerhouse but it also has a large migrant population that is still growing as a result of the latest wave of immigrants coming into Germany over the last 18 months. Furthermore the country has had a substantial increase in migrant enterprises from 200,000 in the 1990s to 760,000 in 2013. In 2015, of the total number of new businesses, 20% were created by migrants. We believe that MSD – Europe will drive the way for economic and social integration of migrant communities in the country.

MSD – Europe will replicate the work done by MSDUK in Britain in supporting the development of ethnic minority/migrant businesses and entrepreneurs by opening new opportunities and connecting them to large purchasing organisations thus promoting supply chain inclusiveness and diversity. Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK says that ‘Germany is only the starting point and our aim is to expand into other European countries within a number of years. We have already started to look towards Ireland and the Nordic countries’.

As population demographics change, EU countries will become more ethnically diverse in the future and today’s majority ethnic groups will no longer comprise a numerical superiority thus is important that ethnic minorities have a stake in the societies they settle. This can be achieved through economic empowerment by providing opportunities for minority/ migrant businesses across the continent and this is what MSD – Europe aims to achieve.


Announcing the MSDUK 2016 Award Winners

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Over 300 guests and hundreds of purchasing organisations from across the world came together to represent and promote the ethnic minority business community at the MSDUK 2016 Awards.

Overlooking the iconic Tower Bridge, the gala ceremony took place at the Grange Tower Bridge with a global audience who reflected how societies, countries and economies around the world are built by people from different backgrounds, cultures and origins working together.

The MSDUK awards honoured and recognised individuals who have shown great passion and belief in ethnic minority businesses by becoming true partners in their success and growth. The awards also celebrated the best of British ethnic minority entrepreneurs who have embraced innovation, achieved consistent growth and are doing this with a responsibility towards society and the environment.

The MSDUK Awards were divided into 5 categories and the winners were

Corporation of the Year sponsored by Gibbs S3


Inclusive Procurement sponsored by IBM 

Skanska UK PLC

Scale up Business sponsored by EY

ClinTec International

Innovation sponsored by Capital One

Bri-Tek Technologies Ltd

Entrepreneur of the Year

Shahid Sheikh of Clifton Packaging Group

We would like to congratulate all our winners!