“When women are economically empowered, they become engines of growth for their communities.” So says Adele Gulfo, president of Pfizer. And if yours is a woman-owned business, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) has good news—and benefits—for you.
Marcy LaFond, owner of WBENC member on3 Promotional Partners, answers the most-asked questions:
What are the benefits of working with a WBENC supplier?
There are more than 350,000 US companies that have a Supplier Diversity program that are looking to do business with companies that support women-owned businesses. Partnering with these companies can bring your company new business.
Research shows that companies who embrace diversity are more profitable (some are generating more than 130% greater return, according to the Hackett Group’s research results) than companies that do not embrace diversity in its business suppliers. Members from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives avoid “groupthink,” creating greater solutions and creativity. Also, many companies are mandating that as much as 25% of their purchases are allocated to Women’s Business Enterprises.
One longtime WBENC member is Philadelphia’s Team Clean. Donna Allie founded the company on a shoestring, and it now serves a variety of clients in government, education, industry, professional offices, and sports and entertainment venues and events. Among the highlights of Team Clean, Inc.’s growth are clients such as the landmark National Constitution Center, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Let your clients know that you partner with WBENC companies. Include this in your presentations, quotes and sales conversations. It may give you the competitive advantage in their decision-making process to determine who will get the company’s business. Corporations are seeking suppliers that work with WBE’s; this is referred to as 2nd Tier Sourcing.
The federal government provides tax breaks for companies that utilize minority and women-owned businesses as suppliers. There is also a second tax incentive that reduces tax liabilities for companies that use minority and women-owned businesses that supply labor or services to a project funded with federal or state grants or loans. State tax incentives may be available as well.
A Supplier Diversity commitment benefits a company for many additional reasons:
- Promotes innovation through the entrance of new products, services and solutions
- Provides multiple channels from which to procure goods and services
- Drives competition (on price and service levels) between the company’s existing and potential vendors
- Displays an organization’s commitment to doing business beyond consumerism in diverse markets
- Showcases the company’s interest in and commitment to the economic growth of all communities.
As small businesses grow, so will our nation’s economy. Since most diverse businesses are small businesses, they aid in the economic recovery and sustainability of their communities. In addition, supplier diversity is important because it provides products and services to emerging consumer markets. While traditional products and services remain available to consumers, demographic shifts create opportunities for diverse suppliers to meet the needs of emerging and shifting populations in the US and across the globe.
Thanks to the WBENC, women-owned businesses not only grow their markets, but corporations can now access quality services and products that meet their requirements. In fact, WBE’s are one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy, and a key force behind job growth and job creation in the economic recovery.
This article has been edited from the original.