- Pilot to run through first quarter of 2022
- Thirteen businesses to participate in pilot, representing geographic diversity and a range of disciplines and commodities
- Post pilot, program will develop more than 2.9 million Black businesses for future contracting and procurement opportunities and success in a post-pandemic economy
Stellantis and the National Business League (NBL) today commenced their pilot of the groundbreaking National Black Supplier Development Program.
The pilot, which will run through the first quarter of 2022, is the initial phase of a larger program to develop Black suppliers for future contracting and procurement opportunities in pursuit of greater racial equity in the marketplace.
“The Stellantis-National Business League Black Supplier Development Program is an idea whose time has come,” said Mark Stewart, COO, Stellantis North America, during a kick-off event at the company’s Conner Event Center in Detroit. “An idea that addresses the need to take direct, decisive and intentional action to bring economic opportunity to communities that have been denied equal access to the marketplace for far too long. To confirm, in a very intentional way, that our ability to realize the full promise of our country is to ensure that its economic systems are open to all, equally.”
The Stellantis-NBL National Black Supplier Development Program will support the development of more than 2.9 million Black businesses around the country and internationally for future opportunities within the federal government, and public and private sectors.
The 13 Black-owned businesses selected for the pilot program represent geographic diversity, and a range of disciplines and commodities.
“Equitable access to both international and domestic opportunities by Black businesses is fundamentally important to the future of our economy and opportunities available to Black people and communities,” said Marvin Washington, Director of Electrical & Electronics Purchasing, Stellantis North America, who will also serve as National Co-Lead for the program. “This historic leadership by Stellantis and the National Business League will become a model for other Fortune 500 companies to embrace.”
About 95% of Black-owned businesses today are mainly solopreneurs — home-based, one-employee enterprises — or are considered micro-businesses. Of these, fewer than 3% are minority or agency certified, and most do not have the capacity, scope and scale to meet the demands of future contracting and procurement opportunities with Fortune 500 companies and the federal government.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Black businesses nationally, and an estimated 40% of Black-owned businesses closed permanently in 2020, according to CBS News, while the digital divide has created a systemic barrier to entry into the marketplace among Black businesses.
“As national trade associations pivot toward a post-COVID-19 economy, the National Business League is launching this critical program to achieve economic equity and justice for Black communities and millions of Black businesses, fulfilling the organization’s 121-year-old legacy, founded by Booker T. Washington in 1900,” said Dr. Kenneth Harris, president and CEO, NBL. “It is vital that corporate leaders take decisive and measurable steps outside of empty promises and platitudes to bring about commerce-driven activity in Black communities that have been historically denied access to economic opportunities for far too long.”
The online virtual procurement and contracting marketplace is expected to realize 20-30% of the untapped business potential of Black suppliers. The goal is to create sustainable Black businesses that will impact the local and global economies, creating jobs through entrepreneurship and growing the number of Black businesses of all sizes.