Consortium led by IBM introduces small-business supplier program

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Washington, D.C.—A consortium of Fortune 500 companies, led by IBM Corp., on Tuesday announced a program to make it easier for small businesses to compete for supplier contracts with participating companies. The other companies in the consortium are AT&T, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., Pfizer Inc. and UPS.

The program is designed to stimulate growth among U.S. small businesses and help create jobs, the consortium said.

A key element of the program is a website called “Supplier Connection,” created and maintained by IBM, that will provide small businesses with an application form to potentially become suppliers to the participating companies. The website will launch in the first quarter.

“We believe opening up new markets for goods and services, in the billions of dollars spent by large companies, can be the fuel that will allow small businesses to grow,” said Stanley Litow, IBM's VP-corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation, which is funding the website through a $10 million grant.

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