Eggs Benedict and a very good Business Breakfast Meeting – by Ervin Picari


I have always held the belief that a good day starts in the morning and if you have a positive morning the rest of the day will take care of itself. This was the case the other day when MSDUK hosted its second Business Breakfast meeting in Leicester. As is often the case with business breakfast meetings there are always two things to remember in my view the level of engagement from the participants and the food and both are symbiotically linked. After all it wouldn’t be a proper breakfast meeting without proper food and in this particular case and to my great joy eggs Benedict’s were on the menu.

Our meeting was held at Bill’s a local restaurant suggested by one of our members. At the beginning I was very apprehensive because Bill’s sounded more like a greasy spoon than a place where you can hold a formal event. However, my fear was grossly misguided and I was very pleased to find out that it was a rather good establishment but let’s focus on the important discussion that took place that day.

The purpose of the MSDUK Business Breakfast meetings is to provide a platform to local ethnic minority businesses (EMB’s) to exchange ideas share concerns and come up with solutions to common challenges they face. Furthermore these events serve to strengthen the connection between the local EMB’s that are part of our network but also enable MSDUK to provide advice and help in addressing some of their concerns. This meeting raised a number of discussion points and focused on:

• Social media mediums like twitter to be used to raise EMB’s business profiles.

• The importance of identifying the right target audience in order to generate interest. This can be done by creating good articles and distributing them throughout the network.

• Published stories as a good source for raising suppliers’ profiles with corporate members thus EMB suppliers need to share their success stories to be circulated through the network.

• The creation of articles promoting useful services provided by MSDUK members will increase more interactions between members within the network.

• Bid writing workshop to be delivered in Leicester or Birmingham for MSDUK members in the Midlands.

• Raising member’s awareness for free SME training programmes.

As the breakfast meeting came to a close there was an air of positivity about the discussions that had taken place and great optimism in taking forward some of the suggestions for our members and MSDUK thus from my prospective there are two things to remember from this event Eggs Benedict’s and a very good MSDUK Business Breakfast Meeting.

The next MSDUK Business Breakfast Meeting will take place on 31st March 2015, at Bill’s, St Martin’s Courtyard (off Long Acre), London WC2E 9AB, from 8:00 am – 10:00 am.

Overview of MSDUK Corporate Knowledge Session


Topic: Embedding Supplier Diversity with Sustainable Procurement

The first MSDUK 2015 Corporate Knowledge Session, held in London on the 26th February 2015 focused on how supplier diversity can be better aligned with sustainable procurement strategy and how success can be measured. This session was attended by a number of MSDUK Corporate members that had a wide ranging discussion on some important areas.

Sustainable Procurement has become an important part of the procurement process with large purchasing organisations adopting a number of sustainable practices. As a concept it takes into consideration the consequences commercial activities of large purchasing organisations and their suppliers have on the wider society and the environment. Sustainable Procurement is constructed on three key pillars; environmental, economic and social (with Supplier Diversity falling into the latter two pillars).

The MSDUK 2015 Corporate Knowledge Session aimed to determine how Supplier Diversity fits in with Sustainable Procurement practices on a practical level and establish the significance of Supplier Diversity in relation to ongoing programmes delivered by our corporate members. The discussion highlighted a number of points as below.

Key Points

There is a lack in measuring outcomes in relation to the social aspect of Sustainable Procurement and this is true with the majority of Supplier Diversity programmes. This is due to the increased importance of the environmental aspect of Sustainable Procurement but also the perceived challenge that Supplier Diversity provides with regards to measuring outcomes in terms of the tangible benefits  such as being cost effective and in relation to ROI.

Suggestions from members focused on agreeing what needs to be measured in order to have a more effective Supplier Diversity programme with greater focus on:

  • Measuring interaction between buyers and diverse suppliers in relation to initial introductions
  • Measuring the number of contract opportunities for diverse suppliers and the number of suppliers selected to deliver these opportunities
  • Monitoring the effects the introduction of diverse suppliers will have on the supply chain in relation to increased competitiveness
  • Measuring supplier performance
  • Monitoring suppliers’ social impact. For example their contribution towards the local economy with regards to job creation.

Another point raised was the fragmentation within organisations to the delivery of the different Sustainable Procurement programmes that are being managed and delivered by different teams who often do not converge or share information with each other. For example in relation to diversity it is not uncommon that in an organisation there will be separate teams that will deal with ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ and ‘Supplier Diversity.’ There is therefore a greater need for more communication and information sharing in order to increase effectiveness.

There was consensus amongst participants that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has matured from a good thing to more of a value added strategy. It covers wide ranging areas including procurement, citizenship, responsible buying and supplier diversity fits within all three areas. Firms in the UK are seeing supplier diversity as client driven and it is critical for corporate companies with a supplier diversity programme to start measuring impact.

A summary of the discussions key points can be downloaded from the members area please follow the link.

MSDUK’s next Corporate Knowledge Session will take place on the 30th April 2015 at the Grange Holborn Hotel from 9:45am – 12:30pm. The topic of discussion will focus on ‘How to make Supplier Diversity work outside Procurement,’to register please contact Ervin Picari at

Octavian expands into South Africa with support from MSDUK Global Affiliates


With multiple operations already in the UK, USA and Dubai, an MSDUK certified supplier Octavian is expanding its global footprint by opening offices in South Africa.

Global-Link Program:

MSDUK is associated with the USA-based National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). NMSDC has over 3,000 corporate members and 15,000 certified minority businesses and a Global Link Programme with affiliated organisations in Australia, Canada, China and South Africa.

MSDUK takes a delegation each year to the annual conferences held by our affiliates to assist suppliers to expand globally into new markets, and it was at one of these conferences where Octavian CEO Sukhi first met Gary Joseph, President South African Supplier Diversity Council (SASDC).

“Gary and I met at the MSDUK Awards Ceremony and we hit it off from there. We met again at the NMSDC Conference in USA and we developed our relationship further, where Gary encouraged us to make the move into South Africa.” Sukhi Ghuman, CEO Octavian Security

The Outcome:

The company will create more than 500 jobs in the country as a result of the move. Cornelius Muyunda, Octavian’s newly appointed Director of Africa, said “South Africa is a very exciting new market for Octavian and is a country which faces a number of security challenges in terms of crime and terrorist threats. South Africa is one of the most at risk countries across Africa, so we have worked hard to develop specific offerings and skill sets to meet these needs.