Tag Archives: Minority Business Executive Program

Collaborating for increased opportunities: A new BEDC partnership to further develop minority-owned businesses nationwide

Michael Verchot, Director of the UW BEDC (left), stands with NMSDC President Joset B. Wright (center) and Shelley Stewart, Jr., the Vice Chairman of the NMSDC Board of Directors.
Michael Verchot, Director of the UW BEDC (left), stands with NMSDC President Joset B. Wright (center) and Shelley Stewart, Jr., the Vice Chairman of the NMSDC Board of Directors.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.® (NMSDC®) and the University of Washington’s Business and Economic Development Center (UW-BEDC) announced a partnership agreement to further the development of minority-owned businesses across the US on May 22nd at the NMSDC’s annual Minority Business Leadership Awards Dinner Dance in New York City.

This partnership joins together the nation’s premier organization committed to the growth and development of Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American-owned companies with the nation’s most comprehensive business school center dedicated to the growth of minority-owned firms and businesses in low- and moderate-income communities.

“This agreement will provide minority business enterprises a new opportunity at one of the country’s leading institutions that supports minority business development,” said NMSDC President Joset B. Wright. “It will allow us to enhance MBEs’ ability to meet the needs of their customers. We are delighted with our new relationship, and we look forward to many years of success for NMSDC, for the University of Washington, but most importantly, for our certified MBEs.”

Jim Jiambalvo, Dean of the UW Foster School of Business, expressed similar excitement about this partnership. “We recognize the NMSDC’s pioneering role in growing minority-owned firms across the US. The work of the council and its member corporations has done more to create opportunities for business growth and wealth creation in communities of color than just about any organization in the last 40 years. We’re proud to be partnering with them so that collectively we can do more than either of us could do independently.”

The partners will begin their collaboration by growing the Foster School’s six-year-old Minority Business Executive Program. This Program has a track record of success in growing minority-owned businesses from across the U.S. JBE Enterprises, an NMSDC-certified firm based in South Carolina, participated in the 2012 Minority Business Executive Program. Richard Ellison, the company’s Vice President and a graduate of the Program attributes its ability to cross the $40 million revenue threshold in part to what firm representatives learned in this Program.

NMSDC and the Foster School will launch a pilot program in June. NMSDC corporate members will select a few MBEs to participate in the program. Ms. Wright will be the commencement speaker at the University’s 2013 graduation ceremony on June 21 in Seattle.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council advances business opportunities for certified Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business enterprises and connects them to corporate members.  One of the country’s leading corporate membership organizations, NMSDC was chartered in 1972 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes. The NMSDC Network includes a National Office in New York and 36 Regional Councils across the country. There are 3,500 corporate members throughout the network, including most of America’s largest publicly-owned, privately-owned and foreign-owned NMSDC companies, as well as universities, hospitals and other buying institutions. The Regional Councils certify and match more than 16,000 minority-owned businesses with member corporations that want to purchase their products and services.

South Carolina Huskies

Not only are LaJuan Davis and her brothers Dwayne and Ricardo Ellison the next generation of leaders JBE Incorporated, they are also proud graduates of the University of Washington’s Minority Business Executive Program (MBEP) – which is saying something considering that they hadn’t really heard about the UW or this program 18 months ago. Following their graduation from MBEP last June, they each took back lessons they learned and they saw an immediate impact.

LaJuan, the company’s treasurer, took back three key lessons: That for small businesses “sometimes it’s important to sacrifice growth to insure liquidity,” empowering employees to make decisions is key to enabling the executive team to focus on the future, and that while you can’t always measure the impact of marketing expenditures these investments are key to long-term growth.

LaJuan Davis and her brothers Dwayne and Ricardo Ellison, graduates of the University of Washington’s Minority Business Executive Program (MBEP) .Ricardo, one of the company’s Vice Presidents, reflects on how he’s become a better leader because of what he learned at MBEP: “senior executives don’t need to be a part of every decision,” he says. He also noted that rather than focusing most of the company’s top talent on solving today’s problems, they are now “spreading talent around so they can focus on today and the future.”

Dwayne, another Vice President, says the program changed how he views the entire company. He’s become more acutely aware of the power of branding the company in moving the company forward. He’s learned that as a senior leader of the company he needs to “work on the business rather than work in the business,” and through this he’s able to empower others to make decisions.

These three siblings are confident that what they learned at MBEP will have a long-lasting impact on their company, but they’re also proud that, in part because of how they’ve changed their leadership of the business, JBE set a record last year by crossing the $40 million revenue threshold for the first time. They’ve also begun to directly manufacture products in addition to the assembly and supply chain management services they’d previously offered.

LaJuan, Ricardo, and Dwayne had the opportunity to attend MBEP because of their relationship with The Boeing Company. JBEP was founded to provide services to the automotive, paper, and textile industries. They began to court Boeing as a customer in 2008, and when Boeing selected Charleston as the site for final assembly of the 787 Dreamliner, the relationship took off. Last year Boeing invited JBE to be in their mentor-protégé program, which led to the offer to attend MBEP. While JBE was looking at similar programs offered on the east coast, when they learned about the Foster School’s year-around work to grow minority-owned businesses through the BEDC, they decided to accept Boeing’s offer.

To learn more about the 2013 MBEP, please join us at a Sampler and Information Session on Thursday, May 16 from 7:45 to 9:00 a.m.

Minority Business Executive testimonial: Lono Dickson

Guest post by Lono Dickson, Minority Business Executive Program Graduate, President of Kalani Packaging.

Lono Dickson“I’ve applied many of the things I learned in the Minority Business Executive Program, but none as pronounced as my decision making process.”

On our last 2 days Professor Bettin talked about the process of making decisions. He explained the different decision making styles, concepts, the decision tree, guidelines, etc. What affected me most was when he talked about the statistics of making a bad decision vs. a good decision when you involve other people in the decision making process.  This seemingly small statement resonated with me because of a fairly recent choice I made in which Kalani Packaging lost a piece of business and some money. I sat in class for most of Friday morning without talking to anyone. I spent most of the morning evaluating the process I had used to make a single decision and the ripple effect it had on that piece of business. After almost 2 hours of thought I came to realize that had I involved some of my core team members in making a decision early on in the project, not only would we have made a different decision, ultimately we probably would have won that piece of business.

Instead we lost it and the cost of many hours of my time.

After coming to grips with that whole thing I then began to evaluate all the decisions I make each and every day I’m at work. The big ones, the small ones, the ones that seem insignificant, which I didn’t really pay attention to because I’m running at 100 miles an hour. I then began the evaluation of how those decisions affect the rest of my team, my schedule, and how many of them could have been made differently and by someone else.

Although this process started on the last 2 days of class, it took a couple of weeks for me to evaluate how I was going to change my style.

After explaining to my team some of what I learned about myself and talking through many scenarios with them, I have made some drastic changes to my decision making style. I now ask several questions of myself before answering any questions asked of me. If it does not pass a chain of criteria that I’ve put in place, then the question moves to the best person on my team to answer it. If it does, then I make sure I have all the information I need to make an educated argument to the rest of my team that will persuade them of my thought process and together we make the decision. This new style takes some adjusting on behalf of other team members because I ask more questions, rely more on their input, and don’t make decisions for them like I did in the past.  I now build a case that has to convince them of where I stand rather then tell them my opinion which in the past was never, ever questioned.

I’m a different decision maker today than before the program. Our team and ultimately Kalani Packaging, is stronger today then before the Minority Business Executive Program.