Diverse Suppliers Provide Corporations with Competitive Advantage - New Canadian Media

Diverse Suppliers Provide Corporations with Competitive Advantage

by Shan Qiao (@dmaomao) in Toronto   Diverse suppliers are winning Toronto Pan Am Games’ business, making up 20 per cent of the total supplier base. Barbara…

by Shan Qiao (@dmaomao) in Toronto  

Diverse suppliers are winning Toronto Pan Am Games’ business, making up 20 per cent of the total supplier base. Barbara Anderson, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games announced this at the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) 2015 Diversity Procurement Fair, a marketplace and matchmaking process for corporations and diversity suppliers.

Currently, there are about 226 diverse suppliers used at the Pan Am Games, making up the 20 per cent of all supplier bases. Among them, 34 per cent of the suppliers are visible minority owned businesses, while 7.5 per cent are Aboriginal owned, according to the Pan Am Games organizing committee.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]We’re known as ‘the People’s Games,’ and that means striving to engage as many people and communities as possible.” – Barbara Anderson, Pan Am Games[/quote]

“Aiming high and diversity are both certainly applicable to our athletes,” said Anderson at the fair. “Our participants are coming from 41 countries across the Americas and our organizing committee has effectively utilized the value of diversity across the Ontario business and community landscape to make the games a reality.”

We’re known as ‘the People’s Games,’ and that means striving to engage as many people and communities as possible,” stated Anderson during her keynote speech presentation.

CAMSC builds partnerships among government, major corporations and small businesses, specifically Aboriginal and ethnic-owned ones. It provides information from government and corporations’ procurement departments, builds up a referral network and links major corporations and institutions with Aboriginal and minority businesses.

Opening Doors for Diverse Suppliers

The increased amount of diverse suppliers is something Aaron Madar, Marketing Manager of Forward Signs, a Scarborough-based Chinese company, is excited about.

“Our company has won a contract worth $750,000 to create signs and banners for the upcoming Pan Am Games all over South Ontario. We have won the largest business contract ever among diversity suppliers,” he said.

Asked about the winning tips, Madar credited joining CAMSC and becoming its certified supplier. “Without CAMSC’s channel, I think it would be very difficult for us to get recognized by Pan Am Games,” he continued.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]This fair is about supplier diversity from both sides of the table – corporate and supplier. It’s about making that business connection to benefit both sides.” – Cassandra Dorrington, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council[/quote]

Other than Forward Signs, a number of CAMSC certified suppliers have also been contracted by the Games, including Hispanic-owned UNIKRON multimedia company and Aboriginal Printing.

“I have been a CAMSC supplier member for almost a decade,” explained Steven Bolduc, Managing Director, Aboriginal Printing. “The opportunities that I have been provided with events such as the Diversity Procurement Fair have been tremendous. I will be providing printing services for the upcoming Games and CAMSC helped to make that a possibility.”

Salvadorian immigrant Manuel Rodriquez, the CEO of UNIKRON, a cutting edge video production company located in Toronto’s Liberty Village, has served big clients including LCBO and Scotiabank and is also the President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

“Video production is a competitive environment at the best of times and CAMSC has really helped us make connections with leading North American corporations we have not considered,” said Rodriquez. “For the Pan Am Games, we will be providing our services in both Spanish and English. This diversity is a win-win for both sides.”

Benefits for Corporations

Talking about money and numbers, under CAMSC’s facilitation, corporate members have spent more than $1.2 billion with CAMSC certified Aboriginal and minority-owned businesses. Half a billion dollars’ worth of business opportunities are available annually and it starts with at the fair, according to Cassandra Dorrington, the President and CEO of CAMSC.

This fair is about supplier diversity from both sides of the table – corporate and supplier. It’s about making that business connection to benefit both sides. ‘Aim high’ was our theme and we kicked it off today, with expectations for continued growth moving forward,” concluded Dorrington.

Supplier diversity is a strategic business process aimed at providing companies owned by Aboriginal peoples and minorities equal opportunities to become suppliers to major corporations across Canada.

It is an initiative by corporations to ensure they are being inclusive in their supply chain practices to suppliers of diverse backgrounds, while at the same time capitalizing on the opportunity for competitive advantage and community engagement that comes from working more closely with a broader range of Aboriginal and minority suppliers.  

Supplier diversity also offers important opportunities to create wealth and employment in the Aboriginal and minority communities. Big corporations that already have diversity procurement departments such as the Bank of Montreal and General Motors (GM) sent their senior buyers to the fair looking for its suppliers.

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Shan is a photojournalist and event photographer based in Toronto and member of the NCM Collective.