Happy New Year to you all! I hope you celebrated the start of 2017 in good spirits with family and friends. As the festive season ends and the New Year begins, at MSDUK we can reflect on what has been an exciting year and on the progress we have made in promoting supplier diversity and the fantastic Ethnic Minority Businesses (EMBs) that are part of our network. I would like to thank you all for your continued commitment and everything that you do to enable us deliver on our goals – to foster greater engagement and opportunity throughout the network.
While there is still a lot of work to do and many challenges ahead, we ended 2016 and are beginning the New Year in a far stronger position than ever before. As an organisation we are now better equipped to provide more support for all members. During 2016, the network grew considerably, with a 33% increase in our corporate membership and over 40 new ethnic minority businesses joined MSDUK. This growth in membership has led to an increase in the number of Corporate-to-business (C2B) and Business-to-business (B2B) engagements that has culminated in some great success stories.
As we celebrated 10 years of MSDUK, our biennial conference was truly global in scale and remit. The three day event spread over 3 iconic venues attracted over 500 delegates, 42 high-profile spears, 40 + exhibitors and 9 award winners. We captured key highlights of this landmark event in this video.
2017 is going to see our efforts focussed on continuing to grow our corporate membership but more so, the team will be making extra efforts to recruit and grow our ethnic minority business network.
We realise that the key to getting more success for our stakeholders is to provide them more regular opportunities to meet and build relationships. With this in mind, 2017 will see a range of bigger, better and innovative events including:
- Four Meet the Buyer events open for all, allowing multiple category buyers and suppliers to attend every event.
- Bi-monthly on-boarding webinars for new businesses
- Quarterly corporate and business training workshops
- The new event for the year- The Business Show at the prestigious Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham
This year will see MSDUK undertake a number of new projects. Our plans to extend our services in select European countries have been well received not only from corporate partners, but also by many government and semi-governmental organisations across countries like Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany. I am optimistic that by the end of 2017, we will have presence in two European countries.
Together with our global partners last year, we launched the Global Supplier Diversity Alliance (GSDA). MSDUK played a leadership role in developing the idea as an integrated global supplier diversity network that will serve as an information and knowledge hub to be used by corporate members and suppliers that want to expand their operations/programmes in different countries.
In the UK our partnership with HS2 is growing significantly with a higher degree of trust and confidence within the HS2 leadership team that sees MSDUK as a key strategic partner in delivering their supplier diversity programme. This in turn has led to greater interest from all HS2 bidders within the infrastructure and construction industry and companies like Momentum Infrastructure and Arup have joined our corporate membership with more expressing an interest in joining our network.
Our ongoing partnership with Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick led to MSDUK funding a PhD and we will be leveraging WMG’s world class infrastructure and knowledge capabilities to support development of ethnic minority businesses.
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 would also like to reiterate our commitment to undertaking the hard work required to provide more opportunity for ethnic minority businesses and advocate for fairer and more inclusive supply chains across the UK that are open to all businesses.
And lastly, the MSDUK team would like to wish you all a very successful and productive 2017.
CEO and Founder, MSDUK