By Bobby McDonald, President, OC Black Chamber
The Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce, for over 36 years, has prided itself for providing Access to Information. Our mission has strongly supported our minority and diverse communities.
We at the Black Chamber are always looking for ways to help our business community improve, enhance and grow their business.
In 2001, Supplier Diversity became an integral part of the Orange County Black Chamber and its membership.
Southern California Edison created a supplier diversity and development team that outreached with events that identified diverse suppliers for potential business opportunities.
It was easy to follow their new innovative playbook because they understood it wasn’t just the idea of doing the right thing, but supplier diversity made good business sense.
Networking, matchmaking events, business forums, “how to do business” workshops and now, the Edison Entrepreneurial, Development, Growth and Education (EDGE) Programs, offer potential members to learn how to participate, gain experience, learn the nomenclature and variance of degrees of supplier diversity, and how to prepare to do business effectively.
As far as certification goes, we at the Black Chamber have partnered with Department of General Service, who offers training and certification for small business to businesses in California. A small business certification supports the pursuit of contract opportunities with the state and helps the state meet its 25 percent goal.
The Dept. of General Services also offers certification for Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises. The chamber offers a yearly certification training event for veterans in conjunction with the California Employment Development Department.
One our biggest success was to have a two-session certification with the DGS, where 33 individuals came to get their business SB and DVBE certification. After the training, we were informed that DGS confirmed seven individuals had garnered successful certification.
The chamber has found and truly believes that corporations that set minority procurement goals that are supported by top management can achieve substantial progress in narrowing the opportunity gap between minority- and white-owned businesses.
We are now currently involved with supplier diversity programs with Southern California Gas Company, Semper Energy Utilities along with AT&T, to name a few. It’s now part of our chamber DNA.
We totally realize and understand the value of supplier diversity and how it enhances and creates proactive business and encourages the use of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, service-disabled-veteran-owned, historically underutilized business, and Small Business Administration (SBA)-defined small business concerns as suppliers.