national business league

National Business League Program Surpasses $100M in Secured Contracts for Black Businesses

The National Business League (NBL) is the first and largest non-profit trade association for Black-owned businesses and professionals in the United States.

Founded in 1900 by the iconic and legendary Booker T. Washington, it has a long and rich history of advocating for and supporting Black economic empowerment towards its 125th quincentennial anniversary.

In a significant milestone for racial equity and economic empowerment, the National Black Supplier Development Program (NBSDP), run by the National Business League, has announced that participating Black-owned businesses have secured over $100 million in purchasing contracts in the past three year pilot years, with its founding partners Stellantis, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Comerica Bank, Lear, Magna International, Cummins and DTE Energy.

This achievement underscores the program’s success in fostering connections and opportunities for Black suppliers across various industries nationally and what can be accomplished with intention.

Launched in 2021, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic shutdowns and the racial unrest ignited by the unjust killing of George Floyd, the National Black Business’s National Black Supplier Development Program (NBSDP) aims to promote racial equity and address the unique economic challenges and circumstances faced by Black businesses.

By offering targeted support, the program seeks to assist Black-owned businesses impacted during the pandemic and empower a new generation of vetting, validated and certified entrepreneurs for long-term success.

  1. Connecting Black-owned businesses with corporate partners: The program facilitates introductions and builds relationships between qualified Black suppliers and major corporations seeking diverse vendor networks and pipeline to Black-owned businesses nationally.
  2. Business development resources: Participants receive training, mentorship, and guidance on navigating the complexities of the public, private, corporate, and federal government contracting and procurement processes.
  3. Advocacy for equitable contracting practices: The NBL takes an active role in advocating for policies and initiatives that promote fairness and equity for Black businesses in contracting and procurement. To achieve this, they have introduced the nation’s first combined Black Business Enterprise (BBE) certification and scorecard, initiated, and overseen by a national Black business organization.

The $100 million milestone represents a tangible outcome of these efforts. Participating businesses have secured contracts in diverse sectors, ranging from manufacturing and technology to healthcare and professional services, while providing significant impact to communities, helping to boost the local economy, as Black businesses become the number employer of Black people, once described as the Booker T. Washington Model.

Dr. Ken L. Harris, President/CEO of the NBL, emphasizes the significance of this achievement: “We have progressed far beyond empty promises, staged press conferences and check the minority box announcements,” he states. “The NBSDP is fostering commerce-driven initiatives and matched contracting and procurement opportunities that produce results and receipts, transforming collaborative partnerships into real economic power for Black businesses. We got receipts now.”

The positive impact extends beyond the immediate financial gains. The program fosters confidence and opens doors for future growth, allowing Black businesses to scale their operations and create employment opportunities within their communities with the goal of becoming self-sustaining through entrepreneurship, enterprise ownership and development.

Looking ahead, the NBL remains committed to expanding the reach and impact of the NBSDP. They are actively waiting list new public, private corporate and government partners and welcoming applications from qualified Black-owned businesses seeking to participate in the program.

This milestone serves as a beacon of hope and signifies the potential for impactful change through targeted initiatives that bridge the gap between Black businesses and corporate contracting procurement opportunities. As Dr. Forrest Carter, NBSDP National Director, envisions, “Our goal is to support the development of more than 3.6 million Black businesses nationwide, providing them with opportunities within the federal government, as well as the public and private sectors.”

by Tony O. Lawson

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