Focus Minority Business Issues

October 17, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Minority Business Celebration Wednesday, Oct. 22, will not only celebrate minority-owned businesses, but also will aim through two keynote addresses to educate owners and employees.

Ralph Moore and Jean Conyers will discuss dealing with supplier diversity programs and the integration of small businesses and larger businesses, in order to give insight to those in attendance who have dealt with such issues, as well as offer suggestions for programs to be implemented in this area.

Moore, president of Ralph G. Moore and Associates (RGMA) in Chicago, will speak on the challenges and successes companies encounter when implementing supplier diversity programs. He will draw on his numerous experiences working with national corporations to detail real-life examples.

His experience comes from running his own management-consulting firm since 1979, coupled with his more than 29 years of experience in business and public policy issues, as well as the recognition of being an expert in the area of minority and women business development.

Prior to starting RGMA, Moore was on the accounting staff at Arthur Andersen & Co., served as vice president for Chicago-based Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Co. (MESBIC) and was controller for Parker House Sausage Co.

RGMA specializes in integrating supplier diversity into corporate strategy and the formation of diverse strategic alliances. The company provides corporate clients an array of supplier diversity services including program strategy and development, workshops and seminars, senior management orientations, strategic planning, program assessment, supplier development and training and benchmarking services.

Conyers is president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in Flint, which is the first chartered African American Chamber of Commerce in the state of Michigan. She also is head of the Community Business Partnership, which will be her topic of discussion.

Conyers’ program helps small neighborhood businesses by partnering them with large corporations.

During her 18 years with the organization, Conyers has been pivotal in establishing the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce as the cornerstone of minority businesses. Her professional activity includes the development of an entrepreneurial training curriculum to teach neophytes how to start and operate their own businesses, and guiding the Education Systems division of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in becoming licensed as a proprietary school of self-employment/entrepreneurship, counseling existing businesses for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) certification with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Her second venture, the Community Business Partnership, is a part of the plan that links work force and economic development systems. This activity partners large corporations with neighborhood businesses to help them grow by developing new markets, strengthening business operations, identifying investments and financing prospects, and expanding employment.           

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