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Small Biz Supply-Side Economics Get Boost from New Web Portal

AP

A new Web-based portal has been created to help small businesses gain access to more than $300 billion in combined supply-chain spending by a consortium of 15 of America’s largest corporations. Called Supplier Connection, the website will let small companies fill out one application to be considered for contracts by all the corporations in the consortium.

Created by the IBM Foundation, Supplier Connection is part of the Obama administration’s American Supplier Initiative and is designed to bridge the gap between small, nimble businesses looking for new opportunities and large corporations looking for innovative ideas and diversity in their supply chains.

The initiative serves as a call-to-action to the private sector to invest in their supply chains through small businesses. It aims to address four key areas in which small businesses need help to become successful suppliers in the private sector: access to mentorship and counseling services, increased market and revenue opportunities, ready sources of capital to fund their growth, and a highly skilled work force.

Studies have shown that small businesses that are part of the supply chains of large corporations experience increased revenues and employment.

The free site is open to U.S. small businesses with less than $50 million in revenues or fewer than 500 employees.

The 15 companies participating in the initiative are AMD , AT&T , Bank of America , Caterpillar , Citi Group, Dell , Facebook, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, John Deere, Kellogg’s , Office Depot, Pfizer , UPS and Wells Fargo .

To help kick off the new initiative, the Small Business Administration sent out notices about the Supplier Connection site to 50,000 businesses already registered as government contractors.

"The American Supplier Initiative is part of a comprehensive solution to grow small businesses, create jobs and to ensure that America has a strong, deep and diverse supply chain," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "While it is clear that becoming a corporate supplier can lead to business growth, breaking in can be a challenge for small businesses. The Supplier Connection will be one tool to help small businesses connect with corporate buyers. Tools like this help to ensure that more small businesses are part of commercial supply chains, which adds additional revenue streams. This is a proven formula for job creation."

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