Friday, October 8, 2004

Companies urged to use minority suppliers

By Cliff Peale
Enquirer staff writer

Corporations in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky should increase their spending with minority-owned suppliers by five times before 2008, Cinergy Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Jim Rogers said Thursday.

Rogers said minority-supplier contracts with large corporations totaled about $100 million in 2002. He set a goal of $500 million a year.

He challenged business leaders from throughout the region to meet the goal and also to increase combined sales of the biggest minority-owned companies to $1 billion a year from the current $200 million.

"At the end of the day, it's about the money," Rogers told the Business Summit, put on by area chambers of commerce. "We've got to attract more capital ... if we're going to advance as a community."

Rogers is the new chairman of the Minority Business Accelerator - a program of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to put together mergers, joint ventures or contracts that can increase the scope of the region's biggest minority-owned companies.

The Cincinnati chamber and several large corporations formed the accelerator in response to the racial conflicts of 2001. With a goal to complete five to seven of those deals a year, the program has helped at least five this year.

"We have to put a stake in the ground in order to get there," Rogers said. "It's going to be tough now. It'll be much tougher later."

Chamber officials also:

• Recognized two companies that have been in business 100 years - printers SpringDot and specialty boutique Gattle's.

• Honored five entities for their supplier diversity efforts: Amtex Inc., Aramark Business Services, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Megen Construction Co.

• Awarded four William R. Burleigh Regional Leadership Awards - to General Electric Co., Henkle Schueler & Associates, Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc. and United Community Bank.


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