The power businesses have when they come together is vast. When companies with different backgrounds and experience work together, they can provide each other with great knowledge, which each can then apply to future business endeavors. Collaborating with businesses outside of your own is a key part of running a successful company. In particular, there are many benefits companies can receive from working with diverse businesses. Diverse businesses can include women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, or LGBTQ+-owned firms. Partnering with diverse businesses can provide economic incentives to both parties, strengthen brand recognition, and bring a fresh point of view to your company.
The country’s most powerful companies have begun to create supplier diversity programs that strive to provide unique opportunities to diverse businesses. For example, Coca-Cola has committed to spending $1 billion with diverse suppliers by 2020 and spent $631 million in 2016 alone.
In addition, cities all over the country are making efforts to support diverse businesses. For instance, in Boston, there is work being done by Eastern Bank and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce to stimulate minority-owned business ventures and diversify the city’s business community. Chamber chief James Rooney is launching a program called “Pacesetters.” Modeled after a minority business accelerator in Cincinnati, the program will encourage large employers in Boston to work together to set goals for buying a certain amount of goods and services from minority-owned businesses.
In an effort to support collaboration and diversity, the University of Pittsburgh and the Small Business Development Center at Pitt hold educational and networking opportunities throughout the year to help bridge the gap, creating a collaborative environment that helps us all thrive.