We know growing a minority business is difficult because we’ve been there. We’ve gone through those days of uncertainty and struggle and have come out on the other side better for it. While all that pressure and hard work led to tremendous success, we would have loved a helping hand during that time. That’s why we strive to mentor those within the minority business community, reaching out to smaller and growing MBEs that are working through the same growing pains we once did while aspiring to reach our current level of success.
In order to connect with the minority business community, we regularly attend and participate in roundtables, luncheons, panels, conferences, forums, meetings, and everything in between. The National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) has been a great avenue for us in this regard, and as a recent NMSDC Supplier of the Year we know it’s our duty to help other MBEs we meet.
In our interactions, we are always encouraging businesses to become a certified MBE and describe the process to them. Our President and CEO, Andrea Brenholz, recently completed a minority business executive program at Stanford and has brought a tremendous amount of knowledge into ATR so that all of us are better able to help other MBEs. Additionally, I conduct interviews with prominent corporate diversity professionals so I can help minority-led businesses develop into suppliers that can provide the necessary level of service for larger corporations.
Outside of events where we meet with other minority business leaders face to face, we create and share useful information for the MBE community and disseminate it through our website. Popular educational articles have included:
- The Must-Have NMSDC Conference Guide for Corporate Professionals
- The Power of Participation as a Minority Business Enterprise
- Why Should Your Company Become a Certified MBE?
- All of Your Employees Need to Understand the Value of Being an MBE
- As an MBE, There's More to Networking Than You Think
Our Supplier Diversity Support Policy and Program
The way we stay committed to mentoring the minority business community is through a strong supplier diversity support policy and program. It ensures we don’t lose focus and keeps these important efforts continuously on our mind.
This policy states, “ATR is committed to the ultimate goal of Supplier Diversity and is focused on providing minority, women, and service-disabled veteran owned businesses with opportunities.” Clear objectives of this include seeking out certified diverse suppliers that can provide competitive, high-quality goods and services, including diverse suppliers as a part of our strategic sourcing and procurement process, and communicating the value of suppler diversity. Our efforts don’t stop there, as we’ve implemented a program centered around five parts:
- Tracking and Reporting: We monitor and report our progress toward achieving our supplier diversity goals and objectives
- Mentoring MBEs and Introductions: We develop relationships with other MBEs and share our experiences in an effort to assist their growth
- Training and Education: We ensure associates in decision-making positions throughout our organization understand ATR’s supplier diversity principles and commitment
- External Outreach Activities: We seek diverse suppliers through active involvement with the NMSDC, other minority development organizations, and trade shows
- Communications: We educate employees, management, diverse suppliers, and the community-at-large on our supplier diversity program, policies, and achievements
Sharing the Wealth
While mentorship is important and sharing our knowledge with other MBEs is rewarding, we know it’s necessary to put our money where our mouth is. That’s why when we need outside services or supplies (like shirts for a golf tournament, mugs with our logo on them, or a new tradeshow booth), we first look at minority-owned businesses.
Also, on an ongoing basis, we rely on partner MBE staffing firms to help us supply technical talent to our clients. This grants us a larger talent pool and increases our fill rates, but more importantly, provides smaller MBEs with a foot in the door of the industry, granting them higher revenue. In fact, our unique strategy has resulted in over $3.2 million in revenue for our MBE partners over a recent three-year period. In other words, we’re sharing the wealth.
The Ways ATR Gives Back to the Minority Business Community
While any company can boast about their intention to give back, not every company can follow through. For us, nothing is more rewarding than receiving positive feedback from those we’ve worked with. Hearing direct quotes like “ATR International has raised the standards as to what an MBE should strive to become” and “ATR is an excellent example of how larger MBEs can make a positive difference in a region” is why we do this in the first place.
If you’re a minority business leader or simply someone who wishes to continue this important conversation, reach out to us today.