Black Enterprise
Economy Social Advancement Business Image Credit: Black Enterprise
Economy Social Advancement Business Image Credit: Black Enterprise

Growing Together

How strategic alliances between major corporations and african american businesses and organizations can serve as models for economic and social advancement

Derek T. Dingle

CORPORATE AMERICA WANTS YOU.

In making that statement, we are referring to legions of African American entrepreneurs— both commercial and social.

Unlike no other business era, major companies have earmarked, in some cases, billions, to design high-profile programs that will provide procurement and business development opportunities to entrepreneurs of color. Moreover, these companies are seeking to create a series of long-term partnerships—most notably with CEOs and founders that represent the be 100s, the largest black-owned businesses in the nation—to receive benefits ranging from cross-sector entrepreneurial innovation to access to a burgeoning multigenerational customer base.

Take AT&T. With the $67 billion acquisition of DirecTV in 2015 and $104 billion purchase of Time Warner last year, it has been redefined as a global multimedia content and distribution colossus, which means it offers boundless openings for a universe of enterprising vendors. In fact, earlier this year, corporate senior leaders announced its commitment to spend $3 billion with black suppliers across the U.S. by 2020. This initiative came on the heels of the 50th anniversary of its supplier diversity program started in 1968, contracting more than $158 billion with companies owned by minorities, women, service-disabled veterans, and those within the LGBTQ+ community.

In making the announcement, AT&T revealed that the program’s focus on the econo


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