Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council

Beatrice Loussaint
Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council logo

In January 2016, the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council (FSMSDC) expanded its service territory from southern Florida to the entire state of Florida. The FSMSDC is now the only affiliate council of the National Minority Supplier Development Council in Florida and has two focuses: helping minority businesses to grow, and helping major corporations, government agencies, hospitals, and educational institutions meet their supplier diversity goals. 

FSMSDC is the largest minority-owned business development organization in Florida. For 44 years, the organization has carried out the mission of linking corporations and government agencies with minority business enterprises (MBEs), and the numbers are staggering. During the past two decades, the council has helped MBEs win more than $30 billion in contracts through its reach to more than 70 corporate members. 

FSMSDC serves 1,000 MBEs in the state, and continues to grow that number through new partnerships, new clients, and a variety of new opportunities. That group includes minority-controlled company MasTec, which in 2018 became a Fortune 500 company with more than $6 billion in annual revenue. Many of these MBEs are taking advantage of Florida’s proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean to expand outside the U.S. — 35% are doing business internationally.

Through a variety of programs and services, the FSMSDC fosters business development and expansion of minority businesses throughout Florida. These include the Miami and Orlando Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Centers, which FSMSDC operates. The centers provide consulting services to minority-owned firms and help increase the firms’ access to public- and private-sector contracting opportunities, financing, and capital investment. Since 2016, MBDA centers have helped minority-owned businesses access more than $400 million in transactions, which led to more than 1,000 new jobs.

In addition, FSMSDC administers the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Specialized Development Program. Through this statewide program, the FSMSDC helps prime contractors meet their DBE goals, while helping prepare DBEs to serve prime contractors’ needs and often become FDOT prime contractors themselves. The program has helped DBEs win more than $500 million in FDOT contracts.

The organization’s successful methodology is simple and effective: It helps MBEs become certified and connect to new customers, increasing profitability; at the same time, it offers hands-on business assistance and training to major corporations interested in developing or expanding supplier diversity programs. The FSMSDC Supplier Diversity Roundtable (SDR) meets regularly to share best practices and provide mentors to procurement and supplier diversity professionals who are new to minority business development. The roundtable’s goal is to continue to successfully promote and strengthen a universal understanding of the value of minority supplier development. 

FSMSDC holds more than 35 major events each year for corporations and MBEs, including three signature activities, 20 committee meetings, and 10 industry meetings created to bring buyers and sellers together. FSMSDC’s premier event, its annual Business Expo, draws hundreds of leaders from across the state and nation for matchmaking, workshops, one-on-one sessions, a trade fair, and special events. The organization brings the right people to the right place to increase business partnerships. 

FSMSDC’s board leadership has been instrumental in the organization’s success. Chaired by Dionne Lawson-Vidal of American Airlines, its leadership includes Vice Chairs Dana Hill of Florida Blue and Marisol Romany of Orlando Health. National corporate members of the NMSDC who serve on the board include The Walt Disney Company, AT&T, and Wyndham Destinations. The MBE Input Committee Chair, Abel Herrera, president of IT Data Solutions, provides valuable assistance.

Headquartered in Miami, FSMSDC has a highly competent and enthusiastic team of 19 full-time and two part-time staff who serve the entire state of Florida. The council provides diverse business services in five strategic office locations in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsboro, Duval, Leon, and Orange counties; its Central and Northern Regional Office is in Orlando. It maintains FDOT consultants in Orlando, Miami, Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa. 

FSMSDC has a commitment to making a difference in the community and as a result, registered the phrase Doing Well While Doing Good®. Each year, the organization recognizes businesses that positively impact the overall community by supporting philanthropic initiatives. Also, for more than 20 years, the organization has maintained a commitment to the next generation, with a focus on internships and STEAM training for young people. Each year, more than 100 students participate in youth entrepreneurship training as part of the Annual Business Expo.

FSMSDC’s corporate members, MBEs, staff, and partners are poised to continue to have an impact on the state’s economy and community for years to come. 




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