$300 Billion in Supply Chain Spending to Small Businesses

Fifteen large corporations today announced that thousands of small businesses have a new way to do business with them, giving them access to the $300 billion that these corporations spend annually on goods and services.

Small businesses, which are catalyst for the U.S. economy now have access to the supply chains of these 15 corporations by introducing them to a free Web site called Supplier Connection. This portal is similar to the Universal College Application, where a potential vendor need only fill out simplified forms once to be considered for many types of contracts for goods and services. Through the platform, small businesses can offer their goods and services to many large enterprises with the goal of winning contracts, growing their business and creating jobs. The website was created and is maintained by IBM through a grant of more than $10 million from the IBM International Foundation.

“A recent national study revealed that within two years of winning a contract with a large company, small businesses doubled their workforce. Clearly by streamlining access to large company spending, we can help more small businesses create jobs,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and President of its Foundation. “By reducing complexity and offering access to spending by a group of large companies, Supplier Connection will help small businesses grow and improve their bottom line. The clear benefit to large companies is the access to the creativity and innovation of small businesses.”

Currently there are nearly 1,000 small businesses registered in the Supplier Connection program with more than 250 large company buyers actively searching for potential suppliers across 20 categories. One small business that has found success using the platform is Bottini Fuel, a provider of heating oil, propane, heating and air conditioning services based in New York’s Hudson Valley. Seeking to expand their commercial sales channel, small business owner Rick Bottini joined Supplier Connection to take advantage of the streamlined application process. Bottini Fuel became a new supplier to IBM’s operations in Poughkeepsie, New York providing fuel and service to power 24 backup power generators used at the 400-acre site where IBM’s mainframes are developed and manufactured.

"Becoming a supplier to a global business like IBM is something most small businesses envision as a daunting task," said Rick Bottini, Owner of Bottini Fuel based in Wappingers Falls, New York. "Using Supplier Connection we were able to establish a relationship with IBM and respond to their request for competitive bids in a timely manner. Having access to a powerful tool like Supplier Connection levels the playing field for a small business while helping save us valuable time and resources."

Small business owner, Kurt Peterson, joined Supplier Connection less than one year ago and recently secured a contract through the Supplier Connection portal. “It is a resource that U.S. small businesses need,” said Peterson, president of Puritan Press, a printing and publishing company based in Hollis, New Hampshire. “With Supplier Connection, Puritan Press can now have increased visibility by the procurement offices of large corporations. Now, with a win through Supplier Connection, we look forward to increasing our revenue, strengthening our long-term business strategy and possibly expanding our employee base to meet business demands.”

Recognizing the possible impact this program could have on job growth among small businesses, Supplier Connection has doubled the number of large businesses in the initiative. New large companies to the consortium include: AMD (NYSE: AMD), Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), Dell (NASDAQ DELL), Facebook, John Deere (NYSE: DE), JP Morgan/Chase (NYSE: JPM), Kellogg Company (NYSE: K), Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC). These companies join founding members of the group: AT&T (NYSE: T), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), and UPS (NYSE: UPS). Currently, the members of Supplier Connection purchase more than $300 billion in goods and services annually through their global supply chains.

The Supplier Connection program is a free program for both small businesses and large businesses. In addition to its one-stop registration capabilities, the portal enables small suppliers to learn from, collaborate with, and partner with each other so that they can become more competitive and successful in a bid with a large company.

About Supplier Connection: Supplier Connection is a cloud-based platform that makes it easy for small business to become recognized as potential suppliers to large companies and for large companies to identify small companies with whom they would do business. To learn more about Supplier Connection, visit www.supplier-connection.net.


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