Why sponsoring minority-owned firms strengthens your supply chain

Introducing vendors to new opportunities can help them build real staying power


5 minute read

 

Key takeaways

  • Sponsorship of suppliers from underrepresented groups can take your commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity to a higher level
  • Opening the door to new opportunities and contracts for your suppliers can help them become stronger partners
  • Ultimately, being an active sponsor can help suppliers grow with your company and expand your impact in your local economy

Many companies find that building a more diverse network of suppliers is not only a matter of letting partners know about opportunities to work with you and mentoring them. Sponsoring suppliers, by making connections for them and introducing them to new opportunities, can deepen the relationship, creating a win for both the company and suppliers.

 

“The key difference between mentorship and sponsorship is taking the relationship one step further,” says Mark Bennett, Southeast Region Executive at Bank of America. “Now that you’ve spent time getting to know the business owner and their company’s capabilities, it is taking the additional step of expanding contract opportunities and introducing them to your peers, as well as other companies and customers you work with."

 

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Sponsorship doesn’t have to stop there. Bringing in a contractor from an underrepresented group on a larger contract you’ve won — in what is known as a “second tier” program or outsourcing part of a contract to a smaller supplier — can help your partner grow. “Some companies go as far as forming joint ventures with suppliers to drive success so they can compete on a larger scale,” notes Bennett.

 

Your banking partner can help support your sponsorship efforts, helping you leverage the power of connections by providing your suppliers with needed financing or connecting you to larger companies that are seeking companies like your own, that prioritize supplier diversity. “There is an amazing impact rolled into these programs,” says Bennett.

 

Mark Bennett | Bank of America Business Banking Southeast Region Executive