Stellantis and the National Business League (NBL) have formed a national partnership to develop Black suppliers for future contracting and procurement opportunities in the pursuit of greater racial equity in the marketplace.
The Stellantis-NBL National Black Supplier Development Program will support the development of more than 2.9 million Black businesses around the country and internationally for future opportunities within the federal government and public and private sectors.
Stellantis over the next three years will anchor the development of a virtual training and development portal at the heart of the program, then open the online portal to its suppliers, followed by all Original Equipment Manufacturers, the federal government and other public and private companies throughout various industries and sectors domestic and abroad.
The portal will enable the program to qualify, train and develop Black businesses for future contracting opportunities. Its resource marketplace will also provide access to capital, mentorship and executive coaching, supplier training and development, bid posting, matchmaking, supply chain solutions, talent placement and acquisition and more.
“As a key part of our corporate diversity, inclusion and engagement strategy, Stellantis is excited to partner with the National Business League to ensure that all Black Business Enterprises and suppliers have an equitable and inclusive stake in the global marketplace,” said Mark Stewart, COO, Stellantis — North America. “Post-pandemic and in response to rising demands for social and economic justice for all people, finding equitable and impactful ways to engage and empower Black businesses is critical to the sustainable development of Black entrepreneurs and communities.”
About 95% of Black-owned businesses today are mainly comprised of 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.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Black businesses nationally. An estimated 40% of Black-owned businesses closed permanently in 2020, according to CBS News, while the digital divide has created a systemic barrier to entry into the marketplace among Black businesses.
“The upside potential for Black Business Enterprises is immeasurable when the focus is on development, equity and inclusion,” said Dr. Kenneth Harris, president and CEO of the National Business League. “This is where we truly start to level the playing field by bringing commerce solutions to the marketplace to solve economic problems.”
The online virtual procurement and contracting marketplace is expected to realize 20-30% 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 the number of Black businesses of all sizes.
“The Stellantis-NBL National Black Supplier Development Program is an idea whose time has come,” said Isiah Thomas, chairman and CEO of ISIAH International, LLC. “Equitable access to both international and domestic business opportunities by Black businesses is fundamentally important to the future of our economy and opportunities available to Black people and communities.”