Last month, Lockheed Martin was declared as the Top Corporation for Multicultural Business Opportunities of 2005 by over 500,000 diversity business owners. The honor extends to another forty-nine major corporations and is collectively called the Div50.
The sixth annual list was produced by DiversityBusiness.com, a multicultural B2B online portal. The voting business owners based their decisions on such factors as the volume, consistency, and quality of business opportunities granted to women and minority-owned companies. Other large companies at the top of the list are Office Max, BellSouth, Bank of America, Dell, Toyota, and Wal-Mart.
Top Honors for Top Corporations
While other awards and “top” lists crown companies for overall economic growth, returns to shareholders and similar metrics, the Div50 is an indicator of which organizations provide the best and the most business for diversity owned companies. In a marketplace that is increasingly as sensitive to diversity as it is to revenues, recognizing the top buyers of multicultural products and services is becoming a natural part of the new socioeconomic food chain.
“Those organizations that buy the most products and services, most consistently, from diversity businesses, and that sustain the most mutually beneficial business relationships with their multicultural suppliers, should be recognized not only by the suppliers but also by the general public,” says Kenton Clarke, CEO of DiversityBusiness.com.
The Business Power of Diversity
As minorities gain more buying power and their lifestyles become more affluent, multicultural markets are growing in economic muscle. This in turn attracts more corporations, as they compete for market share in minority communities. The Div50 list has become, by virtue of association, a consumer guide of sorts for women and minority consumers.
“As a diversity business owner, I appreciate the business we receive from corporate buyers; and in turn, when I buy products and services, either as a company or as a private individual, I am much more likely to buy from the same companies that are supporting my business, or that I know are supporting businesses like mine,” says Sush Tripati, owner of IT-Source headquartered in Southbury, CT.
The Div50 is a listing of the top 50 corporate and organizational buyers of diversity products and services throughout the country. It represents the voices of over 500,000 diversity-owned (women, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Indian and other minority groups) businesses in the U.S., in sectors such as technology, manufacturing, food service and professional services.
Over 500,000 women and minority owned businesses had the opportunity to vote in the 2005 online election.