President & CEO, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council
How often does your business consider supplier diversity? Not enough, according to the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC), a non-profit organization that connects underrepresented businesses to the corporate supply chain.
“It’s about economic inclusion,” says Cassandra Dorrington, President and CEO of CAMSC. “While startups founded by Indigenous people, minorities, and women are being launched at a faster rate, these diverse businesses are still not being invited to the table. We’re seeing real innovation happening, but we need to enable it.”
Dorrington adds that if we aren’t aware of all the suppliers, we can’t identify the best solution. And diversity in suppliers can often bring savings because they may have a more efficient economic model.
Finding opportunity in crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity for governments and businesses to expand the supply chain to include new suppliers. “Many of our members have been able to pivot and address current needs, such as making personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for frontline workers, along with remote learning solutions,” says Dorrington. “We can help them to think about their strengths and rejig their businesses.”
CAMSC provides huge benefits for its members by opening up opportunities that suppliers may not have heard of, connecting them directly to the people responsible for procurement, and providing educational opportunities to help with business development. One such opportunity is the annual Diversity Procurement Fair (July 21–23), which will be a virtual event this year.
“I’m excited by what we’ve seen in recent years,” says Dorrington. “People are coming to us because they see the value in working with diverse suppliers. We’re changing the economic landscape and giving opportunities for these businesses to shine.”