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Posted at Sun, Oct 2, 2016 9:00 AM
  • New Mentor Me program from Ford and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) aims to develop and help grow minority-owned businesses by matching them with executive mentors
  • Two dozen Ford senior leaders from a variety of skill areas will lend their expertise to mentor eight minority-owned businesses and evaluate business challenges 
  • Successful minority-owned businesses can have a positive impact on the economy and the local communities they serve by generating jobs and economic output; U.S. minority businesses employ about 7.2 million people and gross about $1.4 trillion each year

DEARBORN, Mich., September 29, 2016 – Looking to strengthen minority-owned businesses, Ford and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) are launching a new corporate mentorship program to help boost minority-owned business economic output.

The “Mentor Me” program, launching today, ultimately aims to develop new and existing minority-owned businesses by connecting them with executive mentors from major public and private entities, like Ford, who provide valuable guidance.

“The Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council facilitates opportunities for certified minority business enterprises to do business with major corporations, educational institutions and government agencies to achieve their business goals," said Michelle Sourie Robinson, MMSDC president and CEO.

Ultimately, providing development mentorships could help achieve parity for minority groups, which so far have maintained proportionally lower levels of business activity when comparing actual output to parity. Economic parity will happen when a minority group’s level of business activity is proportional to that group’s representation in the U.S. adult population.

According to the Minority Business Development Agency, minority-owned businesses employ about 7.2 million people nationwide and gross about $1.4 trillion each year. However, if they were on par with the minority population, these businesses could employ about 20.4 million people and gross $4.3 trillion.

MMSDC invited certified minority-owned businesses to apply for the Mentor Me program. Eight businesses from various industries were chosen from 35 applicants for the inaugural mentorship event in Dearborn, Mich.

Mentor Me will match each business – many without any business relationship to Ford – with a three-person executive mentor team to evaluate business challenges and determine steps for future success. The program includes 24 Ford senior executive mentors from 13 different skill areas.

Mentorship and access to executive expertise in varying fields, as offered through Mentor Me, could help position minority-owned businesses for great success.

“Ford is committed to developing minority-owned businesses,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford group vice president of Global Purchasing and MMSDC chairman. “The Mentor Me program gives our executives an active role in supplier development. We believe this is not only good for Ford, but good for the community as a whole.” 

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