The 1968 Suppliers’ Opportunity Fair, organized by the Chicago Association for Commerce and Industry, Chicago Economic Development Corporation, and the Chicago Urban League was quite successful. This event led Robert Stuart, chairman of the National Can Corporation, to organize the National Minority Purchasing Council in 1972; it was incorporated the next year and later changed its name to NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council). With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Minority Business Enterprise (now known as the Minority Business Development Agency) NMSDC funded their network of regional councils which certify and support business development throughout the United States.
NMSDC’s mission is to provide “a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses.” In the late 1980s, due to its growth in the private sector, NMSDC and the Office of Minority Business agreed to discontinue government funding of the organization. NMSDC is now comprised of 37 regional councils, 3,500 corporate members and more than 16,000 MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) certified firms.
To become certified by NMSDC, a business must meet multiple criteria, including:
- Be physically located in the United States or one of its territories;
- Be for-profit;
- Be 51% owned and operated by U.S. citizens who are minority group members;
- Note: NMSDC defines “a minority group member” as an individual who is at least ¼ or 25 percent: Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic or Native American;
- Documentation to support claim is required from applicant. (For further information visit the Certification page of NMSDC’s web site.);
- The minority owner or owners must be responsible for management and control daily operations of the business.
NMSDC performs a site visit to verify that all information provided by the business during the application process is accurate to assure that a business is indeed owned and operated by an eligible minority. The organization also holds a yearly national conference and business fair. NMSDC’s next national conference, Minority Businesses and Corporate America: Raising the Bar Through Sustainable Strategies, will be held in Atlanta, GA in October of 2011. Regional events hosted by local NMSDC councils and their corporate sponsors are held throughout the year.
NMSDC is also working to promote minority business globally with its Global Link Program. Councils in Australia (Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council), Canada (Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council), China (Minority Supplier Development China), and the United Kingdom (Minority Supplier Development United Kingdom) have already been established with NMSDC assistance. In January of 2010, NMSDC announced it would partner with the National Business Initiative of South Africa to set up the first supplier diversity council in that country.