Last Thursday (16 October), at the end of Supplier Diversity Week (13 – 16 October), procurement leaders from the UK and around the world gathered in London to celebrate the outstanding contribution made by black and ethnic minority owned businesses (EMBs) in the last 12 months.
Premium Lighting Solutions in Cornwall, Clin-Tec in Glasgow, Octavian in Nottingham and Micro-Fresh in Leicester were honoured for their role in driving inclusive procurement at an African themed ceremony hosted by Colin Jackson CBE, and organised by the UK’s leading membership body for fast growing black and ethnic minority owned businesses (EMBs), MSDUK.
The event followed the publication of the first piece of research dedicated to exploring the challenges and opportunities for black and ethnic minority owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in public and private sector procurement.
‘The Road to Inclusive Procurement’ launched by MSDUK (13 October), revealed that while new policies such as the SME Agenda (2011), the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 were helping the UK’s small business sector, they were not working together to create a level playing field for the UKs black and ethnic minority owned businesses (EMBs).
In a keynote address to 350 guests that included members of the Billion Dollar Round Table Group (BDR), Diane Varrin Eshleman, Managing Director and Chief Procurement Officer at Barclays, highlighted the need for all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access to capital, decision makers and skills development in order to innovate and diversify global supply chains.
Mayank Shah, CEO at MSDUK, said: “Black and ethnic minority businesses (EMBs) contribute £25-32 billion to the UK economy but are typically located in areas with higher than average unemployment, poverty and lower educational attainment, and are often the key drivers of economic growth in some of the poorest parts of Britain.
“Awards night allows us to celebrate achievements in inclusive procurement and create a platform to build on”.
Two of this year’s award winners include Entrepreneur of the Year Byron Dixon, founder of the non-toxic anti-bacterial product, Micro-Fresh, and Corporation of the Year Cummins.
Byron, who has a degree in applied chemistry and works with household names like Next, Kickers and M&S and who recently won a contract to supply over 300 laundrettes in China, said: “It is truly humbling to be recognised as MSDUK’s Entrepreneur of the Year alongside other worthy candidates.
“It makes me proud to see the belief that my clients have in our product. I am delighted to share this success with my team, my family and my friends”.
Denis Ford, Corporate Indirect Purchasing Leader at Cummins, said:”It is fantastic to win MSDUK’s Corporation of the Year award. To be considered in the same category as other leaders in supplier diversity and inclusion makes the Cummins team feel very proud of its achievements. We hope our stakeholders will see that we practice what we preach in relation to supplier diversity, when we increase our activity, contract awards and actual spend ethnic minority owned businesses.”
2014 Supply Diversity Week award winners and runners up include:
Winner: Premium Lighting Solutions
Runners up: Octavian and Brands with Values
Sustainable Business Growth Award
Runners up: Maximus and Micro-Fresh
Responsible Business Practice Award
Runners Up: Curious Agency
Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Runners up: Octavian and Douglas Wemyss
Corporation of the Year Award
Runners up: IBM and Johnson and Johnson
Supplier Diversity Advocate Award
Winners: Sue Scott-Douglas at Barclays and Benon Ngobi at Accenture