The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) is experiencing an unprecedented season of growth, change and new opportunity in 2019. Headquartered in Atlanta, among the nation’s most vibrant and progressive cities for business, the GMSDC is the state of Georgia’s leading small business development and supplier diversity organization. Thanks to a unique confluence of positive economic factors – a robust U.S. economy, low unemployment, strong economic development investment and a business climate recently ranked Number One in the nation – the state of Georgia is truly open for business. The GMSDC, one of 23 councils in the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) network, is creating opportunity for minority business owners throughout the state. Focused on the four pillars that support the GMSDC Promise – Certify, Develop, Connect, and Advocate – the council is playing a major role in the state’s thriving economy.
It all starts with the environment in which the GMSDC is fortunate enough to operate. The state of Georgia provides a remarkable base of resources for small business growth and development. Georgia was recently ranked the #1 State for Business by Site Selection magazine, a publication that keeps tabs on where companies and facilities are choosing to build or relocate. Among the factors that were cited in the rankings were the reasonable real estate prices, unparalleled infrastructure including the world’s busiest airport, a robust network of roads, highways and ports, the talented and diverse labor pool, and a commitment by state and municipal governments to make strategic investments in economic development. The state is also home to the South’s most significant metropolitan region in Atlanta, which has been recognized for technology deployment, entrepreneurial activity, minority business development and a strong supplier diversity community. There is definitely a significant benefit for an organization like the GMSDC to be based in Atlanta.
Stacey Key, president and CEO of the GMSDC, understands fully the window of opportunity in which the GMSDC is currently operating. “We have chosen as our 2019 theme Seize the NOW – No Opportunity Wasted,” says Key. “Our community is keenly aware that the time for action is right now, while there is a healthy economic climate in which minority business can thrive. Economies are known for cycles of up and down over time, so we are challenging our community to move aggressively and with intention to close the deal. We are building legacies and establishing generational wealth through our collective activities, and there is no time to waste.” In the fall of 2018 at the annual NMSDC Conference in Austin, Key was proud to take the stage and receive the Council of the Year award on behalf of the GMSDC. She was also thrilled to learn that Georgia had been selected as the host Council for the organization’s 2019 National Conference, scheduled for October 13-17 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Planning is currently underway to ensure that the 2019 Business Opportunity Exchange is the best conference yet.
The commitment of Georgia’s business community is truly what powers the success of the GMSDC. Home to some 400 corporate partners and more than 700 minority business enterprise (MBE) firms, the GMSDC can boast an enviable array of corporate and community support. The council is anchored by global corporate brands headquartered in Georgia, such as The Coca Cola Company, The Southern Company/Georgia Power, UPS, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, Cox Communications, AFLAC and SunTrust Banks. Joined by other global brands with a significant presence in Georgia – AT&T, IBM, EY, Wells Fargo, Accenture, Lockheed Martin and many others – this community of corporate support provides a tremendous foundation of talent, sponsorship and other resources essential to the council’s mission. The council takes great pride in its efforts to develop MBEs, as evidenced by the staggering number of local and national awards bestowed upon GMSDC constituents. Georgia is home to MBEs who have been named both regional and national Suppliers of the Year by the NMSDC, the EY Regional Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc Magazine’s 500 fastest growing businesses, the Black Enterprise BE 100 and countless others. It is the hallmark of a community that takes small business development and the creation of business opportunity seriously. With some $7 billion in revenues changing hands within the GMSDC family per year, it is clear that this is a prosperous community.
For Key and her Board of Directors, the goal is always continuous improvement in the GMSDC’s programs, events, workshops and activities. Key, who came to this role from a background that included both corporate leadership and entrepreneurial experience, relishes the opportunity she has to take part in stimulating the success of others. “We are truly excited every day about the part that we can play in seeing our MBEs grow and prosper, while helping our corporate partners to achieve their diversity procurement goals,” she says. “We facilitate mutually beneficial business relationships that can create new jobs and literally transform communities, companies and families all across the state. Every day we try and get better at fulfilling that mandate.” It is in the execution of the foundational principles of supplier diversity that the GMSDC excels. After all, there is no time like the NOW.