More than 30 blue-chip companies—including the likes of Capital One, ExxonMobil, Nissan North America Inc., and Procter & Gamble Co.—have pledged to support Black businesses and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The companies will provide funding as partakers “In This Together Campaign,” a new drive by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) to help its certified minority firms and other minority businesses overcome the dire blows of COVID-19.
NMSDC President and CEO Adrienne Trimble told Black Enterprise that the campaign hopes to raise $1 billion over the next 12 to 18 months from corporate donors to support minority business development, economic inclusion, and growth. NMSDC has raised about $600,000 in the opening weeks of the campaign. Trimble elaborated on why additional support is needed.
“Prior to the pandemic and social injustice events, NMSDC was working strategically to close the economic gap between Black and minority businesses; now, the gap has widened due to the unprecedented activities that changed the trajectory globally,” she says. “This is not a social call to action but one that will position Black and minority businesses to sustain throughout and propel beyond this pandemic as well as continue to recreate job opportunities for the communities they serve.”
The corporations responded to a recent challenge from Trimble to “not only lend a hand to our Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), but to take definitive action and stand up against the systemic racial barriers plaguing our society.” She made the remarks at the NMSDC’s 2020 Virtual Leadership Awards Ceremony and on its website.
The NMSDC matches over 12,000 certified MBEs with roughly 1,450 corporate members who boost their supplier diversity efforts by buying goods and services from the MBEs. The firms can range from small businesses to companies with over $1 billion in sales. NMSDC reports its corporate membership includes many of the country’s biggest public and privately-owned companies, along with healthcare firms, colleges and universities. The NMSDC claims it was initiated as a result of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s and continues to be the nation’s leading minority business development organization.
The council’s latest campaign comes as the economic disruption caused by COVID-19 shutdowns—combined with closures as civil protests erupted in many communities–is particularly devastating to black businesses, Trimble says. The group added the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped some Black businesses.
However, NMSDC reports its surveys have identified that many of the smaller firms still need extra support. The council maintains many Black-owned businesses in America are now at risk of having to close permanently. Already, 41% of Black-owned businesses had closures due to COVID-19 as of May 2020, according to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The campaign includes initiatives and programs to help expedite recovery efforts within the Black business community. Initiatives The NMSDC is asking corporate members to show their commitment by supporting initiatives that include:
1. The REBUILDING Fund
NMSDC has established “The REBUILDING Fund” to invest in minority businesses struggling to recover from the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as those sustaining damage and vandalism during protests.
2. The Minority Business Advocacy Initiative
NMSDC established an inter-organization coalition focused on eradicating the racial wealth gap and startup capital gap to build and scale minority businesses.
3. The Business Consortium Fund
The NMSDC Business Consortium Fund has accelerated its work with its Business Consortium Fund, the only U.S. non-profit CDFI focused exclusively on financing the growth and development of NMSDC certified MBEs throughout the United States operating in corporate and government supply chains and helping raise capital for low-interest loans to MBEs.
The NMSDC established a partnership between its Business Consortium Fund and Midwest BankCentre to provide MBEs direct access to PPP funds here. The website provides step-by-step instructions for completing a PPP loan application. There was over $132 billion in PPP funds unclaimed as of July 10.
4. The NMSDC Academy
NMSDC Academy provides a range of immersive professional development and learning opportunities for MBEs and our Corporate Partners including: Emerging Young Entrepreneurs; Minority Business Leadership Academy; Centers of Excellence Certificate Program; and Women of Color initiatives.
Additionally, several of NMSDC’s certified MBEs stepped up with funding to support the campaign, including Blue Springs Metals, LLC; Chemico, LLC ); Cloudtrack, LLC, Diversity-Vuteq, LLC; James Group International, Inc., MCL JASCO, Inc.; Mitchell Black, LLC; Superior Maintenance Co.; and Zephon, LLC.
Trimble says NMSCD’s corporate partners are looking for MBEs who have capacity and offerings to strengthen their supply chains; they need access to more certified MBEs within various industries.
Current non-certified MBEs can learn more about the council’s certification process at https://nmsdc.org/mbes/.