Thirteen businesses were chosen for the pilot phase of the National Black Supplier Development Program (NBSDP). It will run through the first quarter of 2022. The first phase will be part of a larger program to develop Black suppliers to gain contracting and procurement opportunities in multiple industries.
In June, the new effort came after the maker of brands like Chrysler, Fiat, and Jeep, and the NBL rolled out the Stellantis-NBL National Black Supplier Development Program. It aims to support the development of over 2.9 million Black businesses in America and internationally to do business with the public and private sectors.
“The Stellantis-National Business League Black Supplier Development Program is an idea whose time has come,” Mark Stewart, COO, Stellantis North America, stated. “An idea that addresses the need to take direct, decisive, and intentional action to bring economic opportunity to communities that have been denied equal access to the marketplace for far too long. To confirm, in a very intentional way, that our ability to realize the full promise of our country is to ensure that its economic systems are open to all, equally.”
The Black-owned businesses picked for the pilot program represent geographic diversity and a range of disciplines and commodities.
“Equitable access to both international and domestic opportunities by Black businesses is fundamentally important to the future of our economy and opportunities available to Black people and communities,” said Marvin Washington, director of Electrical & Electronics Purchasing, Stellantis North America, who will also serve as National Co-Lead for the program. “This historic leadership by Stellantis and the National Business League will become a model for other Fortune 500 companies to embrace.”
Today, roughly 95% of Black-owned businesses are mainly solopreneurs—home-based, one-employee enterprises—or are considered micro-businesses. Of these, fewer than 3% are minority or agency certified, and most do not have the capacity, scope, and scale to meet the demands of future contracting and procurement opportunities with Fortune 500 companies and the federal government.
Dr. Kenneth Harris, the NBL’s president and CEO, told BLACK ENTERPRISE that the platform would be launched nationally after the pilot program is completed. He added Stellantis would act as the anchor partner over the next three years to ensure the full development of NBSDP.
Harris explained that the pilot program allows the NBL and Stellantis to test the framework and platform modules with the pilot participants. They were selected from hundreds of applicants to be part of the inaugural collective. “Those firms will gain direct opportunities to sell goods, commodities, and services to Stellantis, something that would be normally difficult without the effort.”
The online virtual procurement and contracting marketplace is expected to realize 20% to 30% of the untapped business potential of Black suppliers. The goal is to create sustainable Black businesses that will impact the local and global economies, creating jobs through entrepreneurship and growing Black businesses of all sizes.
“We’re hopeful that Stellantis stepping forward on the new initiative will serve as a model for other corporations looking to provide equity and inclusion of Black suppliers,” Harris said.
Meet the businesses that are part of the pilot program.