National Indigenous Australians Agency Trade Fairs

By 23 | Australia, News, Supply Nation | No Comments

To showcase the vibrant and growing Indigenous business sector, Supply Nation, in partnership with the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), hosted a series of FREE Indigenous Business Trade Fairs across Australia.

These Trade Fairs were an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to showcase their products and services to government and corporate agencies. Indigenous businesses of all sizes came together to promote their capabilities to build networks, relationships and prospects in their local areas.

IMG_7182In the last year, Trade Fairs were held in Karratha, Dubbo, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin and Melbourne, representing over 600 opportunities for Indigenous businesses to exhibit across Australia.

The feedback from both Indigenous business and corporate and government agencies, has been outstanding.

One Indigenous business shared their experience from the Trade Fair in Adelaide: “Excellent Trade Fair, we were inundated with opportunities and enquires.”

One of our corporate members who attended the Trade Fair in Brisbane said: “It was wonderful and hope I can use the connections to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in my work area, increase cultural awareness, cultural safety, specific planning and procurement.”

We wrap up this series with a final Trade Fair in Canberra on Tuesday 11 February 2020 – and look forward to the next series beginning later in 2020.

Bridging the divide for excluded township economies – SASDC and Gauteng Provincial Government Partnership

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The South African Supplier Diversity Council exists to address socio-economic challenges in South Africa through value chain diversity and inclusion in order to improve economic sustainability.  We strive to unlock the competitiveness of diverse SMMEs by creating access to procurement markets for marginalized Black business through the development of a collaborative eco-systems of partners from business and government.

In 2016, the South African Supplier Diversity Council (SASDC) partnered with the Gauteng Provincial Government to target marginalised township communities who systemically remained excluded from the South African main stream economy.

In South Africa, the term “township” refers to the underdeveloped racially segregated urban areas built on the periphery of towns and cities that during apartheid were reserved for non-whites, namely Indians, Africans and Coloureds.

Township communities remain impoverished with high levels of unemployment.   They predominantly do not have access to quality education leaving them with a lack of skills to compete in the mainstream economy.   These communities formed a key focus of the Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province address in June 2014, during which he stated that “the significant participation and meaningful inclusion of the people of the township into mainstream economy of Gauteng through their own township enterprises that are supported by the government and big businesses will be one of the key game changers….The townships must be self-sufficient and vibrant economic centres.”

Township businesses most often started out of necessity as a response to high unemployment rates and the inability to find employment.  The result is that these businesses are often not compliant and need assistance to become procurement ready.

The partnership between the SASDC and the Gauteng Provincial government sought to tackle some of these issues by implementing a holistic intervention built on three development pillars.  The first pillar sought to assess the capability of township businesses in terms of their market readiness, secondly to provide access to capacity building programmes to supplement and/or address skills gaps and, finally, to provide access to procurement opportunities through linkage events.


We bid farewell to our 2018 interns, who were an integral part of the success in achieving the assessments target

An important component of the project was the inclusion of unemployed graduates to provide capacity for the procurement readiness assessment pillar.  Fifty youth, residing in the different townships in which the targeted SMMEs are based, were recruited and employed as interns for the project.  This allowed them to gain valuable work experience and up-skilling, preparing them for the world of work and giving them key insights into the components required for running a competitive business.  The interns played a vital role in meeting the assessment target set for the project. Together, they assessed a total of 2,617 township enterprises, exceeding the original project target by 8%.


Facilitator Gontse Mope and his class who completed the Integrated Safety Systems of Work programme for SMMEs in the construction industry

Building on the knowledge gained through the procurement readiness assessment process, and to address the skills deficit for many township-based SMMEs, the second project pillar offered these business access to training and development programmes in order to improve their capacity and to compete better for opportunities in the market.  Interventions ranged from 1-day workshops to 12 month intensive development programmes.  2491 SMMEs benefited from accessing 1-day workshops with a further 777 on-boarded and completing 3 to 12 month programmes.  These training and development programmes were mainly delivered by experienced development specialist drawn from the SASDC’s diverse pool of more than 700 certified black owned suppliers.

Through linkage events, procurement-ready township businesses met with prospective buyers in the private and public sector, providing them access to potential market opportunities.  The SASDC hosted 10 corporate linkage events and a further 5 supplier engagement events involving the Gauteng Provincial Government Supply Chain representatives.

The SASDC is pleased with progress being made by township-based businesses who seized the opportunity to up-skill themselves and are growing their businesses by applying the knowledge and tools they have accumulated through this intervention.  The SASDC will continue to advocate that this intervention should be replicated in the rest of the country to ensure that all previously disadvantaged communities get the support and attention they need in order to change and better their circumstances.

Global Connections at NMSDC Conference in Austin, Texas

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Report by Mayank Shah, MSDUK

GSDA made its presence felt in a big way at this year’s NMSDC Conference in Austin which featured a well-integrated programme of knowledge transfer, collaboration and celebration. We were delighted to welcome NMSDC to the GSDA family and have committed to work collaboratively  with the newly appointed CEO & President, Adrienne Trimble.

Monday 15th October, the first day of the conference, was for GSDA’s Global Connections Session, moderated by Rondu Vincent, Bristol-Myers Squibb, with the theme: ‘Together-Expanding our Impact’. This extremely well attended seminar started with ‘The Economic Impact of Diversity: Regionally, Nationally and Globally’ , a panel discussion with the Presidents of CAMSC, SASDC, Supply Nation, MSDUK and NMSDC,  moderated by Clifford Bailey, TechSoft Systems and MBEIC Chairman. This was followed by a Fireside Chat with Dean Brody, Managing Director, Accenture, moderated by Nedra Dickson, Accenture. Dean shared Accenture’s approach towards integrating diverse suppliers into global solutions. The closing panel session, moderated by Theresa Harrison, EY, brought the best and the brightest MBEs from the USA, UK and Canada on stage to share the good, the bad and the ugly of expanding their business globally.

2018GSDANMSDC (87 of 259)The NMSDC Conference brings together over 6000 people, including supplier diversity and procurement professionals from Fortune 500 firms, minority business owners from all across the US and global partners; this gives us all a time and opportunity to celebrate our success. The GSDA Reception on the Monday evening was over subscribed and attended by more than 250 guests, celebrating the success of our global partners and inspired corporations and MBEs to think global. Sponsored by Accenture, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and EY, this event was hosted by Will Holmes, Merck.

2018GSDANMSDC (164 of 259) 2018GSDANMSDC (188 of 259)

This year, the conference was attended by CAMSC, MSDUK, SASDC and Supply Nation with more than 20 MBEs from these countries participating, seeking collaboration and opportunities for global partnerships and for the first time, all our global partners exhibited together under the GSDA banner which attracted huge interest from participants and visitors.

We all look forward to attending the NMSDC 2019 conference in Atlanta in 2019 and meeting companies and business owners that want to expand beyond the USA. You can visit the GSDA website – to connect with us.

2018GSDANMSDC (247 of 259) 2018GSDANMSDC (137 of 259)


CAMSC Introduces New Export Platform

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CAMSC Export Business Portal helps businesses maximize international market potential.

On October 29th, 2018, in partnership with Magnet, CAMSC launched an online Export Business Portal to match its Certified Suppliers to the export opportunities around the world.

“This September at the 2018 CAMSC Business Achievement Awards Gala, CAMSC recognized its growing number of Aboriginal and minority-owned businesses that exceeded expectations. These businesses are role models and continue to drive the benchmarks even higher,” says Cassandra Dorrington, President & CEO, CAMSC.

“Today, during the Small Business month,” continued Dorrington, “it couldn’t be more timely to introduce the Export Portal that will contribute to the business growth of our Certified Suppliers. Based on your industry sector, the platform will identify relevant funding events, trade missions and resources that will help your certified businesses export products and services globally. It is another key resource in your toolkit of success.”

The Portal was developed by Magnet, a non-profit, digital business-growth platform co-created by Ryerson University in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in 2014. Through the intelligent matching technology, Magnet Portal is designed to match relevant and timely export events and opportunities to Canadian businesses of all sizes, based on their export-readiness, sector, location and goals.

The CAMSC Export Business Portal is a free service for CAMSC Certified Suppliers and businesses that are in the process of certification. Once it identifies actionable export-related events, programs and resources, it sends you a notification of the business opportunity which is relevant for your business. There are numerous exporting opportunities beyond the Canadian market and their benefits and countless. Learn more about CAMSC Export Business Portal and the ways it can help your business here.


CAMSC (Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council) is a non-profit organization created in 2004 to advance the economic strength of Aboriginal and visible minority communities through business development and employment. CAMSC’s mission is to facilitate business relationships with Canadian corporations and supplier organizations owned by Aboriginals and minorities. Since its inception in 2004, corporate members have spent more than $4 billion with CAMSC certified Aboriginal and minority-owned businesses.



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



By 23 | News, SASDC, South Africa | No Comments


During the 2016 financial year, Cummins partnered with the South African Supplier Diversity Council (SASDC) to implement an Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme that not only complies with the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) regulatory environment, but also supports and delivers value to the overall strategic business objectives of the Company.  The scope of work covered capacity building support being rendered to 10 Supplier Development (SD) and 5 Enterprise Development (ED) beneficiaries.

Cummins SA has aligned and implements its ESD Programme at a country level in line with the Cummins Inc. Corporate Diversity Procurement Strategy.  In lieu thereof, its overall objective is not only to develop local black owned suppliers to meet its South African procurement requirements, but also to ensure that these suppliers are able to access and service the global procurement needs of Cummins Inc.  It is for this reason that the development of suppliers needs to enable them to think and gear themselves up to operate globally by being exposed to international training and development programmes and procurement markets alike.

Gary Joseph, SASDC CEO, stated that “through its membership with the SASDC, Cummins is able to support this global development intent.  The SASDC is one of 6 supplier diversity councils around the world and, through its affiliation with the Global Supplier Diversity Alliance (GSDA), is able to access international best practices as well as tap into this global network (on behalf of our corporate members and certified black owned suppliers) for development and market access opportunities.

About the International Supplier Development Programme

The Minority Supplier Development UK (MSDUK) launched their first international “Building a High Performing Minority Business” Residential Programme in collaboration with US-based Dartmouth University’s Tuck Business School and UK-based Aston University.  This programme was scheduled to complement the MSDUK 2018 Conference and Awards flagship event and packaged accordingly for the participation of a maximum of 30 certified suppliers – 20 MSDUK certified suppliers and 10 certified suppliers from other GSDA international councils.

For more than 38 years, Tuck Business School has created a dedicated platform to share its expertise and knowledge with minority business entrepreneurs looking to build stronger and more profitable companies. Tuck Minority Programs allow diverse business owners and executives the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day stress of running a business and think more strategically about the future. Business owners get a road map to reach their goals and a network for life that will enrich them, both personally and professionally.

Following the successful implementation of interventions during 2016 and 2017 under the Cummins ESD programme, Cummins SA provided the opportunity for 5 of its third year supplier development beneficiaries to partake in the MSDUK Tusk-Aston Residential Programme by sponsoring their programme registration, international travel and accommodation costs.

From Local to Global

Cummins has over the past few years been driving the inclusion of more Black owned businesses into its supply chain, while at the same time focusing on and fostering mutually beneficial commercial relationships with targeted Black owned suppliers that form of its ESD programme.  Through this approach, the support of high growth potential and high performing supplier development beneficiaries were essential criteria applied with the selection of the following 5 suppliers that benefited from the Cummins sponsorship:



Sector / Industry

Recruitment and HR related Services

Company Profile


We work with you to gain an understanding of your organisation and we work with you to identify distinct challenges and opportunities to meet your Recruitment and Human Resources goals. Then we apply our methodology and skills to tailor services, ensuring success. We provide personal yet professional services.

  • Permanent Placements
  • Contract Placements
  • Executive Search
  • HR Consulting – Performance Management, Organisational Development, Labour Relations, Assessment
  • Payroll for Southern Africa and Africa.


Sector / Industry

Engineering Projects / Manufacturing / Retail

Company Profile

Deltron is a multidisciplinary Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) led project development, execution, operations and maintenance company.Deltron serves a diversity of sectors encompassing Infrastructure, Power, Energy, Building Services, Industrial and Mining. Our roots are proudly South African with a nationwide footprint and headquarters that are strategically located in Johannesburg, South Africa – the gateway to Africa. Considering that we also have established operations in other African countries, Deltron is no doubt well on track to fulfill its vision of becoming a truly global business

Deltron has advanced from being a pure EPCM company to becoming a project development and also an operations and maintenance company with a capacity to handle EPC / Turnkey, Build Operate (BOM)/ Public Private Partnership (PPP) as well as Operations & Maintenance which is inclusive of Facilities Management. Our operating model is backed by our ability to execute project preparation coupled with feasibility studies that will get a project to a bankable stage whereby we will be in a position to raise capital for the project Execution.


Sector / Industry

Advertising, Marketing, Communications

Company Profile

Busi Ntuli Communications is a black female owned communications agency based in Johannesburg, South Africa’s financial hub. We offer advertising, marketing and communications solutions to leading government departments, private companies and non-governmental organisations in South Africa. On a daily basis, we design and implement through-the-line (above-the-line and below-the-line) advertising campaigns for clients in various industries.

Our creative processes and implementation are rooted in solid insights derived from research findings and fifteen (15) years of experience. Every project begins with an exhaustive appraisal of the brand we are working on and resultant creative ideas are driven by the desire to fulfil brand expectations and surpass clients’ communication objectives. In addition, our creative and account management teams are synced to always find a balanced mix of creative execution and solid industry efficiency.

We create impactful communication campaigns by utilising the most optimal platforms for each client-specific brand communication objectives. With our extensive industry knowledge and understanding of the South African diverse market, we offer professional, on-the-ground marketing and communications services for both local and international companies with business footprints in Africa.


Sector / Industry

Industrial Supplies

Company Profile

Sandon DHW is an amalgamation between Der Handwerker and Sandon Trading.Derhandwerker was established in 1952 and was always the market leader in specialised and high quality Tools and Consumables. Well known as a Wholesaler and Distributor in the Automotive and Mining Industry for quality brands such as Gedore, Stanley, Brito, Kennedy, Stahlwille, Sykes-Pickavant and other famous brand tools

Sandon Trading, a SASDC certified company was established in 2008 as an Industrial Supplies and Client Specific Procurement company. Specialising in Hand & Power Tools, Consumables, Protective Clothing and Safety Wear, Welding Equipment, Abrasives, Electrical & Plumbing Supplies, Hardware, and so on. Sandon Trading services industries such as Assembly Plants, Manufacturers, Construction & Mining, Engineering, Woodworking, Technical High Schools, Universities and Technical Colleges.


Sector / Industry

Marketing & Communication/ Corporate Branding

Company Profile

Zamanguni specialises in Corporate Branding Services which are mainly made up of:

  • Conceptualisation & Design and Branded Corporate Gifts & Clothing
  • Branded Corporate Flags & Banners and Corporate Signage

We believe that our many years of business service in the industry has made us one of the leaders & experts at what we do. Our experience in working with varied clients in both public and private sector has given us an edge in better understanding & servicing our clients needs. We pride ourselves in the statistic that more than 50% of our business comes from the clients that we have serviced for more than 10 years. Our relentless obsession with service quality is what sets us apart from our competitors.

For this reason we welcome and embrace competition in our space and we see it as an opportunity and a good test as opposed to it being a threat.  As we continue this journey we look forward to breaking new ground as we continue to learn and grow.

Bon Voyage

7     8

The SASDC International Mission delegation of suppliers, accompanied by Brendan Raju, Corporate Indirect Purchasing’s Africa Regional Leader and Supplier Diversity Champion, departed for Birmingham, UK, on the 20th September 2018.  Already from the international departures terminal of OR Tambo International, the excitement of the group became the main ingredient for the strong camaraderie and team spirit that was to be observed and revered by our international partners.  After 15 hours in transit, the group touched down in high spirits and after having a very short time to freshen up, headed straight to class where what was to be an intensive training programme kicked off.

For the next few days, the Programme allowed diverse business owners and executives the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day stress of running a business and think more strategically about the future – accessing a road map to reach their goals and a network for life that will enrich them, both personally and professionally.

The program gave the business owners the tools and skills needed to expand corporate success, covering important strategic topics such as Accounting for Growth, Strategic Growth, Organizational Design and Growth, Acquisitions and Negotiating for Success.  The participants learned the best course of action to take their businesses to the next level of success. During this three-day program, the Cummins ESD beneficiaries joined other successful minority business leaders in assessing their business strategy and exploring how their core competencies can be redirected to provide a growth trajectory.

What some the participants had to say

9   10

“Cummins through this sponsorship of diverse suppliers have set themselves apart from other corporates and provided me with the correct tools and opportunity to substantially grow my business. Cummins have invested in my future and in My Dream called RZ Recruitment and I am eternally grateful and thankful.”

Razeena Ahamanto – CEO, RZ Recruitment

“The programme was invaluable and I am leaving so much richer than when I arrived. The professors were thought provoking and very insightful. They captivated us and left us with so much to implement and consider in our own businesses.”

Anusha Gowriah – Director, Sandon DHW


Leading from the Front


Diversity and inclusion have been part of the Cummins core values and corporate culture for more than 40 years, with the Company receiving recognition in the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity for the 12th consecutive year, ranking 12th overall and 9th for supplier diversity.  This continuous improvement journey is made possible as a direct result of overall leadership commitment and dedication.  This was evidenced by the level of participation of Cummins at the MSDUK Conference and Awards Gala, not just as sponsors of the delegation of South African black owned suppliers, but also by the participation of Cummins representatives on the conference programme.  The support and encouragement provided to the ESD beneficiaries in attendance was evident throughout the conference with the beneficiaries acknowledging that Cummins is serious about supplier diversity.  They all shared the sentiment that it is very rare that they have the opportunity to meet, let alone engage with the global executive leadership of any multinational company.  The presence and support for supplier diversity by Jim Gruwell (Executive Director, Strategic Purchasing), Helena Hutton (Diversity Procurement Director), Denis Ford (International Sourcing Leader EMEA), and Graeme Green (Purchasing Leader EMEA) were truly appreciated and revered by the Cummins ESD beneficiaries.

Our Continued Commitment

The Cummins SA ESD programme has progressed exceptionally well since inception in 2016 and is receiving recognition as a benchmark of best practice for effective Enterprise and Supplier Development interventions.  The participation and commitment displayed by ED and SD beneficiaries to date is testimony to the value that they place on the support provided by Cummins.

“This special intervention is not only aligned to the global supplier diversity objectives of Cummins as a multinational but will also serve as an incentive and reward for beneficiaries to deliver the value that Cummins aims to achieve from the programme

Brendan Raju, Corporate Indirect Purchasing’s Africa Regional Leader and Supplier Diversity Champion.

MSDUK announces supplier diversity award winners at 2018 Awards Dinner

By 23 | MSDUK, News, United Kingdom | No Comments

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

By 23 | MSDUK, News | No Comments

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

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.