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Marriott International is on a mission to increase the number of minority vendors with whom it does business. Since the formal launch of its Diversity Outreach Initiative earlier this year, Marriott is creating greater opportunities for minority suppliers, customers, owners, and franchisees. Last year, the multinational corporation spent more than $210 million with approximately 10,000 minority- and women-owned businesses across the U.S. In fact, Marriott’s commitment to global diversity earned the hotel and lodging chain a spot on BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 30 Best Companies for Diversity list this year.
Historically, it has been extremely difficult for small businesses–particularly minority-owned vendors–to compete with larger entities and win major service contracts with large and multinational organizations, according to Dave Sampson, senior vice president of diversity initiatives for Marriott. He says one of the goals of Marriott’s diversity outreach program is to simplify the process, including online registration. The Website for vendors to begin the process is marriott.com/corporateinfo/supplier. “Once registered at the site, prospective vendors can submit a detailed composite of their company and the services they are proposing to us,” Sampson says. “We look for a detailed analysis of annual sales, company track record, and quality of the services they are trying to sell to us.”
One vendor who recently joined Marriott’s growing list of minority contractors is Kenneth Fearn, owner and managing partner of Integrated Capital L.L.C. in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, the black-owned real estate equity group purchased a Marriott Residence Inn in Columbia, Maryland, for $14.2 million. Fearn says he was quick to respond when Marriott announced its aggressive diversity initiative.
“We want to make the Atlantic region a key market for our company,” says Fearn. As a franchise owner, Fearn, 39, says he will take an active role in ensuring that minority vendors are considered and awarded a fair share of service contracts with the hotel.
Contact Marriott for questions or additional information about its supplier diversity program:
Marriott International, Inc.
Supplier Diversity Program, Dept. 977, 70 Marriott Drive, Washington, D.C., 20058
What makes a supplier appealing to corporations looking to spend money with minority firms? Several of our 30 Best Companies for Diversity want you to know what products and services they’re after. For supplier diversity tips from the experts, go to www.blackenterprise. com/supplierdiversity.