engage magazine issue 006/\'08 - Page 29

SUPPLIER DIVERSITY 29 A Small Business Perspective The highs lows Since June 2006, Engage, in partnership with FTSE 100 companies has been running a number of supplier diversity and networking events – connecting BAME businesses to large corporations so that they can have a chance to discuss their products and services with these organisations. But do BAME businesses follow through with their contacts or indeed do the large corporations actually buy in goods and services from small businesses? We asked one business owner - Audrey Linton of P31 Consulting to tell us of her experience The plus side of these events, is that there is an opportunity to meet with some of the movers and shakers within these large organisations who can open the ‘trap door’ and give us the opportunity to discuss our products and services. On the down side, it is the people within these organisations who are passionate about Supplier Diversity who usually attend these events, however it can sometimes be impossible to get to the next stage, because the people that we actually need to see, are not as interested. audits and goals within their procurement plans, so that they too can measure the difference that attending and hosting these events make. & ISSUE SIX 2008 engage | uk Since attending these events have you had any leads? I’ve had a couple, but the one that I have had some fruit from is Enterprise Rent A Car. I really do believe that organisation is pulling out all the stops to create a diverse supplier base. I also believe that the employees are passionate about the organisation and really want to make it a great place to work. I really think the people at Enterprise Rent A Car are its unique selling point. Tell me about the services you offer We are a people development and coaching company offering coaching, leadership and personal development solutions to help maximise the potential of the workforce. What is your unique selling point? That’s a good question! I sometimes ask that of large organisations, as many of them do not seem to concentrate on their core business any more. But to answer your question P31’s USP is providing inspirational and challenging development solutions which are not just your ‘run of the mill’ programmes. Our philosophy is that leaders are born and leaders are made and that’s why the core of our programmes concentrates on self leadership and the 360 degree philosophy of leadership at all levels of the organisation. What has been your experience of the Supplier Diversity and our networking events? First of all may I congratulate Engage for actually planning these events which I find very useful. Without these events, we would find it very difficult to get into these large organisations. How in your opinion could these large organisations ‘open the trap door’ Some of these organisations have already created opportunities for some small businesses and we congratulate them for that. However, it would be helpful if they could get buy in from others in their organisations and also develop their own