The forum, Innovative Ways to Build Meaningful Relationships between Corporations and Minority Businesses, explored the challenges that minority firms face in creating partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, and addressed approaches that minority enterprises can take in forming strategic alliances with major corporations.
Panelists discussed the importance of Fortune 500 companies reaching out to minority-owned businesses, and stressed that companies should seek to build substantive alliances rather than fulfilling diversity quotas. Paying attention to the needs of the minority community is the right thing for corporations to do, said John Rogers, CEO of Ariel Capital Management.
Sheila Hill, president of the Chicago Minority Business Development Council agreed: “Those who say that color doesn’t matter probably aren’t people of color. You need color in boardrooms; color is absolutely still an issue.”
More than 100 company representatives attended the conference. The discussion was moderated by Steve Rogers, director of the Levy Center for Entrepreneurial Practice at the Kellogg School of Management. The next forum will take place in June. For more information, contact [email protected] .