Operating a business can be daunting for just about anyone. It can feel even more intimidating for a young diversity professional, especially without a full understanding of the necessary steps for developing a sustainable business and maximizing growth opportunities.
To alleviate the stress associated with starting and managing a business, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) partnered with sponsors MetLife, an insurance and employee benefits company, and McPherson| Berry, a business development and performance management firm, to create the Emerging Young Entrepreneur (EYE) program.
“NMSDC leads the charge on minority supplier development. The partnership with MetLife and McPherson|Berry to develop the next generation of MBEs was a no-brainer,” stated Naheed Elyasi, director of marketing and communications, NMSDC.
Already up and running, EYE will make its official debut during the 2016 NMSDC Business Conference from Oct. 23-26 in Chicago.
EYE targets next generation minority business owners. There are not many learning and mentoring opportunities for millennial MBEs. The EYE program was created to advance business opportunities and build a pipeline of certified millennial MBEs. The next generation of minority millennial entrepreneurs can, in turn, support the needs of corporate members, MBEs and additional stakeholders.
Applicants must commit to a 12-month cohort. Interested candidates must apply to EYE or be nominated by a corporation. Upon completion of the application process, up to 25 members are selected for the year-long program. The majority of work is done virtually with a culmination at the NMSDC conference. During this time, participants will meet in-person for a unique five-day hands-on training and practical application.
Continuing post-conference work with corporations and advisors, McPherson|Berry CEO and facilitator of EYE, LaSonya Berry, emphasizes the fact that participants will not have to walk this journey alone.
“[EYE] will work with participants as they continue to grow their businesses, maintain their relationships with the corporations, MBEs and advisors,” said Berry. “This process will help them increase their value proposition and learn more about the supply chain and procurement.”
EYE will merge the old with the new. Having grown up with cell phones and computers at their convenience, millennials are often considered tech-savvy.
As Berry noted, “[This generation] knows more about technology and getting things done faster and quicker than any other generation.”
At the same time, millennials could benefit from experienced business owners and established corporations by learning how to navigate through the entrepreneurial process and become more innovative.
Berry is thrilled to be leading and guiding these emerging MBEs on a path to develop strategies that will anticipate the needs of organizations and build innovative solutions.
“One of my passions is developing millennials as leaders. I’m excited about expanding the next generation workforce,” she added.
After the EYE experience, Elyasi of NMSDC hopes participants will walk away with the skills, tools and strategies to start or grow innovative minority businesses.
“MBEs contribute to the well-being and growth of our economy. NMSDC and corporate America have a responsibility in supporting the next generation of MBEs,” shared Elyasi.
The theme of this year’s NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange will be “Minority Supplier Development: Investing in the Future.” To learn more about the nation’s premier forum on minority supplier development, to be held at McCormick Place in Chicago, visit nmsdcconference.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
On EYE, visit nmsdc.org/eye