There’s a lot of support awaiting veterans taking the plunge into business. Far too few veterans are aware that everyday Americans are eager to show their gratitude by buying from veterans, that the federal government is required by law to buy from veteran-owned firms, that more than 150 of the nation’s top corporations have special programs dedicated to buying products and services from veteran-owned small businesses, and that state and local governments have passed laws to buy veteran.
Take Johnson & Johnson, Comcast NBCUniversal, AT&T Services, Bank of America, and American Airlines, which were named among this year’s list of the Top 25 Military Friendly Supplier Diversity Programs by The National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) NaVOBA, a military vetpreneur advocacy group. Using data and responses from the 2015 Military Friendly Supplier Diversity survey, the list honors those large corporations that most successfully engage the nation’s 3 million veteran-owned businesses (VOBs) as suppliers.
Comcast has spent more than $50 million annually with veteran-owned suppliers, typically purchasing furniture, product installations, logistics services, and construction. “In addition to our long-standing supplier diversity program and commitment to cultivating partnerships with veteran contractors,â€ Ajamu Johnson, executive director, Supplier Diversity and Strategic Procurement at Comcast Cable, told Black Enterprise, “we support veterans in our workforce, programming, and community investment initiatives.â€ A Joint Diversity Advisory Council of about 40 leading business and community leaders advises senior executive teams at Comcast regarding diversity efforts and initiatives, including enhancing relationships with service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.
Companies like Johnson & Johnson have improved their business analytics to provide better identification of veteran-owned businesses, and continually seeks specific areas where small and veteran-owned businesses can participate. J&J has a top-down emphasis on improving the company’s supplier diversity program only makes the future look brighter for veteran-owned businesses.
The top 25 companies are featured in the cover story of the June issue of NaVOBA’s national magazine Vetrepreneur. They are AECOM, AIG, Alcatel-Lucent, American Airlines, Anthem, Inc., AT&T Services, Inc., BAE Systems, Bank of America, Comcast NBCUniversal, ConAgra Foods, CSC, Cummins Inc., Duke Energy, DynCorp International, Ford Motor Company, The Hartford, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Inc., PNC, Procter & Gamble, and Rockwell Collins.
“NaVOBA’ s efforts to identify the best corporations working with veteran-owned businesses has grown dramatically,â€ notes NaVOBA President Chris Hale. “We’re honored to recognize these companies for the exceptional job they do in working with America’s vetrepreneurs.â€
“At AECOM, we are committed to fostering diversity throughout all aspects of our business – from the services we provide to the people we employ,â€ adds Michael S. Burke, AECOM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in a released statement. “Veteran-owned businesses are an important part of our supplier diversity program and add tremendous value to the work we conduct across multiple sectors in our industry. We are proud to support veterans in every way that we can, and are honored to be recognized as a top employer of veterans.â€