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2017- A Year in Review: CEO’s Message

Mayank Shah, Founder & CEO of MSDUK reviews 2017 and looks ahead to 2018…


Hello Everyone,

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the MSDUK team, we extend warm festive greetings and wish you all an extremely successful and happy 2018! I am sure you will take time off during Christmas to relax and celebrate with family and friends!

As we approach the end of a hugely eventful 2017, I would like to take some of your time to reflect on what has been an exciting year and on the progress we have made in promoting supplier diversity within corporate supply chains and supporting the growth and success of our business community. To me, supplier diversity drives down socio-economic inequality, encourages entrepreneurship and creates wealth in under-represented groups of our society. Supplier diversity also brings innovation and a diversity of ideas into corporate supply chains, making them more sustainable and competitive. And we thank you all – our corporate and business partners for making this happen and continuing to support our growth.

2017 was another landmark year in our 11 year journey. We not only continued to increase our corporate and ethnic minority business network, but also extended our reach and influence into Europe. Highlights of 2017 include:

  • Launch of the ‘Innovation Challenge’– a business competition for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas, concepts and products
  • Organised the first ever ‘ Business Show’ at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham in September
  • We announced our arrival in mainland Europe by delivering a hugely successful ‘ European Supplier Diversity Conference’ in Berlin in November
  • Seven ethnic minority owned businesses were awarded scholarships to attend a week-long entrepreneurial retreat at the Ivy League Tuck Business School, Dartmouth, USA.
  • Over 20 new contracts awarded to 17 businesses while the regular year-on-year spend with existing suppliers continued to grow – estimated annual business transacted is £15m.

With the maturity of our network, the year 2018 will see us embarking on an exciting third phase of our growth; we call it MSDUK 3.0 – a period of bigger reach, impact and influence.

MSDUK 3.0 will:

  • Offer migrant/ ethnic minority entrepreneurs a full ecosystem to start, establish and thrive in business, and
  • Provide purchasing organisations access to innovative migrant/ethnic entrepreneurs, industry best practice and knowledge to make procurement more inclusive

We will be launching an ‘Innovation Hub & Knowledge Hub’ to complement the existing work around inclusive procurement, providing both our corporate and ethnic minority/ migrant entrepreneurs an integrated ecosystem to succeed.

And that is not all we have lined up for 2018! We have more to offer including:

  • MSDUK 2018 Conference & Awards being held in Birmingham between 24-26th Sept 2018
  • The first event Tuck Minority Business Programme will be delivered in the UK in partnership with Aston Business School between 22-24th Sept 2018 allowing 30 entrepreneurs from the UK, South Africa, Australia and the USA participate in this uniquely global retreat
  • Official launch of MSD-DE (Germany) to provide our corporate member’s access to migrant entrepreneurs across Germany.
  • And finally, the MSDUK team is set to expand with the addition of 3 more individuals joining during Q1 to enable us deliver to our promise

As we start this New Year with great optimism, I would like to thank our board of directors, the MSDUK staff and our members. I am sure our new growth plan will provide all our stakeholders a uniquely integrated ecosystem to thrive in business. We want MSDUK to be your partner of choice! I am sure we will continue to receive your support.

On behalf of the MSDUK team, I would like to wish you all Merry Xmas and a very successful and productive 2018!


Mayank Shah

Founder & CEO, MSDUK

Germany is ready for Supplier Diversity! | Blog by Surja Bose (Pt.1)

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“Supplier Diversity – what is that?” – the voice on the other side of the phone line asked in German. “I have heard about Diversity Management, but never heard of Supplier Diversity!”, the same voice exclaimed. I wasn’t surprised. I had spent the last four weeks contacting German corporates and trying to get through to their Diversity and Inclusion department or to their Procurement department in order to invite them to the first European Supplier Diversity Conference which was held in Berlin on the 21st November 2017. Nearly all of my calls resulted in a long conversation with me explaining Supplier Diversity and Inclusive Procurement and my counterpart trying to figure out why this might be important to their business. After my five-minute monologue about the history of Supplier Diversity in the US, its expansion in other countries like the UK, South Africa, Canada etc and its economic and social importance, the voice interrupted me and said, “I understand – but do you think Germany is ready for this?”

After my five-minute monologue about the history of Supplier Diversity in the US, its expansion in other countries like the UK, South Africa, Canada etc and its economic and social importance, the voice interrupted me and said, “I understand – but do you think Germany is ready for this?”

Interestingly, this is the same question that Mayank Shah, CEO and Founder of MSDUK (Minority Supplier Diversity UK) had asked me around two years back when we first started talking about the possibility of launching a German division of the organisation. Mayank and I decided that the best way to know if Germany is ready is to carry out research and present the findings at MSDUK’s 10th year celebration. I spent a couple of months trawling through a huge amount of research papers, publications, articles on the web and newspapers – literally anything that I could find on this subject in Germany. I read studies carried out by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation talking about the economic value of migrant-run businesses in Germany, reports by the German Chamber of Commerce about how migrant-run businesses enrich the German society and 195 pages of in-depth research carried out by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs presenting statistics about the ongoing growth of migrant-run start-ups in Germany.

What became apparent is this – Germany is ready for Supplier Diversity!

But there is a subtle difference. Whilst Supplier Diversity programs in most countries focus on helping ethnic minority businesses, the same doesn’t apply to Germany. The beneficiaries for such a program in Germany are migrant-run businesses as these are the ones that are underrepresented. The reason behind this is actually quite simple. In the USA for example, prejudice or negative bias against people with different ethnicity, especially the colour of the skin, lead to underrepresentation and discrimination. In Germany however, immigration is the main factor when it comes to prejudice or negative bias. A white immigrant from Romania or Argentina might be subjected to the same prejudice as an immigrant from Turkey or Pakistan.

When you look at the numbers it is even more evident why Germany is ready:

  • 1 in 5 residents in Germany have a migrant background (without even counting refugees)
  • 1 in 5 self-employed in Germany are migrants
  • 1 in 5 employees in the SME sector work for a migrant-run business
  • 1 in 5 new businesses set up in Germany is by someone with a migrant background
  • There are around 800,000 self-employed migrants in Germany

The list goes on and on…

I presented my findings at MSDUK’s annual conference in London last year to a group of corporates and we all agreed that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We need to sit down with German lawyers and work on the “definition” for the beneficiaries in Germany. We need to contact policy makers in Germany to determine if we have their support (or lack thereof). We need involve German academics and get more recent facts and figures.And last but not least – we need to talk to German corporates and migrant-run businesses in Germany to get their point of view.

The outcome was the first European Supplier Diversity Conference in Berlin on the 21st November 2017.


Click here to read Part 2