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BUSINESS ACTION 59 Business in the Community Business Action on A publication of case studies on supplier diversity was launched recently by Business in the Community with the support of the London Development Agency. The publication entitled Business Action on Supplier Diversity showcases eight leading companies that have demonstrated leadership and progressive thinking in the field of supplier diversity. Through Race for Opportunity, Business in the Community’s campaign on race, each case study explains how these companies implemented a supplier diversity programme and outlines some of the associated benefits and challenges that resulted. Crucially each case study draws together the impacts that were achieved for both the large corporates and the SMEs. Supplier Diversity attended the event from a mixture of public, private and voluntary sector organisations, all eager to learn about the current good practice techniques in supplier diversity across UK leading companies. Liz Cross from BT and Daryl Scales from Enterprise Rent-a-Car (ERAC) spoke about the work their organisations have been doing to engage and support minority-led businesses across the UK. Two of the minority-led SMEs who have benefited from contracts with ERAC and BT, Michelle Palmer from Canary Wharf and City and Umair Ullah from Emerging Market Economics, also shared the stage to impart their positive experiences. Pauline Berry, Acting Programme Director for Diversity Works for London discussed the LDA’s various programmes and why the LDA supports minority-led enterprise in the world trade centre that is London. Over 80 delegates Professor Monder Ram OBE, Director of the Centre for Research on Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CRÈME) reflected on three main areas to increase supplier diversity: context, corporate leadership and direct engagement. Corporate leadership is central to the further development of supplier diversity in this country and must be treated as a business focus that is “managed, measured and monitored.” Professor Ram encouraged large companies to move towards direct engagement with SMEs through personal commitment from executives. These executives would act as champions throughout their organisations which has been pivotal to the enormous success of the USA supplier diversity programme. The Business Action on Supplier Diversity publication is available across a range of websites www.bitc.org.uk, www.smallbusinessjourney.com, www.londonbettertogether.org.uk engage | uk ISSUE THREE 2007