Through its Supplier Diversity Program, UPMC is dedicated to partnering with minority, woman-owned, and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBE). That partnership goes beyond just using their goods and services and includes helping those businesses grow and flourish, even outside of their dealings with UPMC.
For minority business owners and operators, an MWDBE certification is often the key to reaching the next level of success. The certification increases a business’ visibility and network, and because a certain standard of quality is required for certification, many organizations seek to specifically partner with MWDBE businesses, including UPMC. On July 22, small, local businesses gained both exposure and guidance on obtaining state and federal MWDBE certification at an event sponsored by UPMC Health Plan.
The event brought leaders from Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center and Urban Innovation 21, an organization that supports local entrepreneurs, to UPMC’s Center for Connected Medicine. The event was also attended by certification experts from the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council and the Allegheny County Department of Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, who walked business owners through the certification application process.
“UPMC strives to create a world-class diverse supplier group,” says Toni Silva, director, UPMC Supplier Relations. “That’s why we’re so engaged with this program.” UPMC’s Supplier Diversity Program only partners with those businesses that are MWDBE-certified and is committed to helping local entrepreneurs reach that point.
In attendance were the owners and operators of Pittsburgh-born companies Grace Security, Legacy Café, Patrix Café, Silq Concrete, ZIG Enterprises, and more. These businesses had the opportunity to present their background and goals to the audience, and explain how an MWDBE certification and UPMC’s diversity-focused supplier efforts could shape their futures.
“With a program like this, we can advance to bigger clients and grow our business in Pittsburgh,” says Barbara Strothers, president and CEO, Grace Security. “Eventually, we can think about expanding beyond the Pittsburgh area.”
Leeretta Payne, owner of Legacy Café, explained the necessity of programs like UPMC’s Supplier Diversity Program.
“It’s paramount that I continuously seek to educate myself, and I’ve learned that the next step to growing my business is to obtain this certification,” says Ms. Payne. “UPMC is very welcoming in that regard. Just from today’s event, I can tell that UPMC will help me, and I’m very comfortable working with them.”