are acknowledged to be a primary engine of job
and as such, are crucial to the economic vitality
United States. With greater opportunity to market
their goods and services to the supply chains of large companies, small
businesses have the potential to boost a key source of revenue that
could be leveraged for expansion and job creation.
Small businesses are crucial to the vitality of the U.S. economy: small
businesses accounted for two-thirds of net-new jobs created in the
United States between 1993 and 2008, according to the Small Business
Administration. However, a National Federation of Independent
Business survey found that reduced sales was the primary
cited by over half the participants in their survey.
and sufficient demand, small businesses have little
to expand their operations or hire new employees.
Recognizing these challenges, IBM and other large companies are
defining new ways to contribute to economic growth and job creation
in the United States by making it easier for small businesses
to apply to become suppliers to large companies, increasing the
demand for the goods and services of small businesses. Currently,
the following large companies are involved: AT&T, Bank of
America, Citigroup, IBM, Pfizer, and UPS. Collectively, these
initial collaborators purchase more than $150 billion in goods
and services annually through their global supply chains.
The Center for an Urban Future, a non-profit research group, recently
conducted a study to explore and document the potential benefits
and impact of supply chain collaboration by large and small companies.
They performed in-depth interviews with supply chain professionals
at both large and small firms as well as examining a range of
economic data. In its report,
the research group found that "... becoming a corporate supplier
provides small firms with a measure of financial stability and
valuable new revenues that often enable them to hire new employees,
undertake a marketing campaign, add new equipment or pay down
debt... Indeed, as we show in this report, breaking into the supply
chain of a large corporation can be transformative for small businesses."
IBM, using resources from the IBM International Foundation and
on behalf of a consortium of companies, is launching Supplier
Connection, a free web-based portal designed to make it easier
for small businesses to become qualified as suppliers to large
companies and for large companies to identify small companies
with whom they would do business.
The site will provide small companies with a standardized and
streamlined ability to register basic information one time, share
business practices, and connect with both large and small businesses
to enhance their opportunities for new business. Large companies
will be able to quickly find qualified suppliers, share materials
and resources, and forge stronger relationships with new and existing