Major Company Helps Minority Women Businesses Become Corporate Suppliers

Big companies are stepping up to the plate to help minority businesses become corporate suppliers. Recently Cintas Corporation hosted an event that joined together procurement leaders from major corporations as well as minority and women-owned businesses. Cintas is continually focused on networking and partnering with diverse suppliers and spent more than $180 million with diverse suppliers in fiscal year 2014.

[Related: Walmart Promotes Products from ‘Women Owned’ Businesses with Special Logo]

Cincinnati-based Cintas provides uniforms and apparel to such clients as McDonald’s, restroom supplies, and specialized business services. The company hosted the three-day event so that other organizations could connect with MWBEs on a deeper level and in a more relaxed environment. Guest speaker presentations focused on relevant business topics such as human capital, innovation, and operational excellence. Cintas seeks to prepare MWBEs for future opportunities by creating 6-12 month action plans.

“Getting diverse suppliers and procurement leaders in the same room is critical for developing and sustaining economic inclusion,” said Pamela Brailsford, Senior Director of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability, Cintas Corporation, in a statement. “With our business retreat, we aimed to offer an intimate setting to encourage meaningful conversations between organizations and MWBEs. We’re already identifying companies for next year’s event.”

Attendees included MWBE Partners, d.e. Foxx & Associates, CB Tech, and Hightowers Petroleum along with Marriott, Jones Lang LaSalle, Johnson Controls, Brown-Forman, Kellogg’s, National Roofing Partners, Skanska USA Building, University of Cincinnati and World Emblem.

“As an MBE, I found it extremely helpful to conduct one-on-one discussions with corporations,” noted Ken Cartwright, Vice President of Operations, XLC Services.  “The retreat gave us better interactions than we’ve experienced at traditional tradeshows.”

“The retreat created an engaging and relaxed environment that supported relationship-building with qualified MWBEs,” added Bill Miller, Chief Operating Officer, Supply Chain Management & Procurement, Jones Lang LaSalle. “We’re continually focused on economic inclusion and enjoyed being able to connect with these businesses on a deeper level.”

For more information about supplier diversity at Cintas, click here.