Small Business Administration and IBM Create Supplier Connection
"Recent reports show that small suppliers can more than triple revenue growth and more than double job growth only a few years after becoming a large company supplier," she added.
There are several opportunities for members of the promotional products community to use the free online portal. One of the major categories is "Marketing Communications," which it defines as including promotional products, gifts, awards, meeting and event marketing, branding and sales promotion. The "Printing Material and Services" category also provides opportunities, and includes multicolor printing and marketing materials, brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, forms, labels and packaging, while the "Consulting Services" category includes brand strategy and product strategy.
With more consumers interested in local companies and made-in-America authenticity, major corporations are increasingly sourcing their products from U.S. based businesses. IBM, which funded the site with a $10 million grant, said it has already increased the portion it spends with small businesses by $400 to $1.4 billion.
The site does not let small businesses bid on contracts, and does not guarantee that any company that registers will be selected as a source. The goal, according to Richard Parsons, chairman of Citigroup Inc., is to create opportunities for companies that may otherwise never be noticed. He explained that major corporations often stick with the companies they've worked with in the past simply because they do not know what alternatives are available.
"How do I find you, and how do I accredit you?" Parsons asked at the event launching the site last week. With Supplier Connection, he said, he has an answer.
For more information on how to register for Supplier Connection, visit www.supplier-connection.net.
Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.