September 25, 2016 (Baltimore, Maryland) ---Ten successful local minority business owners (MBEs) flew to Nashville Tennesee, courtesy of Southwest Airlines, last week, to explore new business opportunities.
This was the inaugural trip of the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council’s first Get on the Plane Business Tour, a program designed to help make minority businesses more profitable through introductions to corporate decisionmakers and MBEs in other parts of the country.
“Relationships and access to decisionmakers are key to business success.” says Sharon R. Pinder, President and CEO, CRMSDC, who created the concept and led the trip. “The more these businesses grow, the greater their economic contribution to our region in terms of both revenue and job creation.”
According to data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, the number of minority businesses increased by about 38% nationally, while the number of non-minority businesses decreased almost 5% between 2007-2012. However, minority owned businesses’ average gross receipts are about 65% less than nonminority businesses.
In 2016, 61% of CRMSDC’s almost 400 MBEs had revenue of more than $1 million (up 5% from 2015). Additionally, 12% have more than 100 employees, and 39% have between 11-100 employees. These suppliers are major drivers of economic development.
Meeting the group in Nashville, were MBEs from the TriState Minority Supplier Development Council. TSMSDC President and CEO, Cheri Henderson, ensured that the participating TSMSDC MBEs’ core capabilities complemented those of the CRMSDC group.
Often, corporations bundle many goods and services into one contract and a single MBE may not be able to meet all the requirements. Meeting other MBEs expands the opportunity for joint ventures.
CRMSDC and TSMSDC are two of 23 regional affiliates of the National Minority Supplier Development Council the only nationally recognized MBE certifying authority. This is the first time two NMSDC affiliates have joined together for an event
Henderson said, “This collaborative effort increased networking and procurement opportunities. It was an ideal chance to meet, greet, and explore mutual procurement and networking opportunities for increased business development. “
The group’s first meeting was with Rob Wigington, President and CEO, Metropolitan Nashville Aviation Authority. The MNAA is seeking minority contractors for their $1.2 billion renovation and expansion project. Wigington invited the group to attend the MNAA Procurement Fair scheduled for the first week in October. Several members of the group intend to return to Nashville for the event and hope to be chosen to participate in this project.
Tony Hill, managing partner of Edwards & Hill Office Furniture, was one of the local minority business owners that made the trip, “The Get on the Plane Business Tour is an amazing idea. It takes an incredible amount of time, money and resources to pursue business in another state. In Nashville, CRMSDC had already identified opportunities that matched our core competencies. Amazing efficiency that simply can't be accomplished by any company on their own."