APS’ Diverse Supplier Training Program to boost female- and minority-led businesses

In 2014, data from Global Entrepreneurship showed that 200 million women had started their own companies and is expected to hit one billion by 2022. 

But female-led companies aren’t the only vertical that’s gaining traction year over year. Minority-led companies have been growing at twice the rate of non-minority businesses. 

To help this trend, Arizona Public Service (APS) is helping small business owners through the Diverse Supplier Training Program (DSTP). 

Over the course of seven months, DSTP helps business owners develop the necessary skills to build out their networks to advance everything from profits to connections in their respective industries. The overall goal for the program is to help female- and/or minority-led companies get facetime with larger corporations in the utility industry.

“Arizona has a growing economy, low regulation, a competitive tax structure and a diverse workforce, all of which provide businesses – including minority business enterprises (MBEs) – an environment conducive for growth,” Dale Halm, Program Manager, APS Diverse Supplier Training Program said. “Furthermore, Arizona has a strong network of organizations that promotes the success of MBEs through access to capital, procurement opportunities, technical assistance and minority certification assistance. APS supports many of these efforts, recognizing that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and provide the majority of jobs in the Arizona communities we serve.”

According to APS, the utility spent $365 million in 2016 with diverse businesses, opening up nearly 3,900 jobs, $16.6 million in state and local revenue, and $215 million in total wages.

Applications for the program were due on August 5. Those who make it into the program will be able to take advantage of classes led by instructors from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. There, business owners can improve their presentation skills and marketing and growth strategies in order to pitch better and make more quality business connections.

DSTP works hand-in-hand with the APS Supplier Diversity and Development (SDD) Program, which helps to identify qualified and certified diverse businesses.

Throughout the program, participants are introduced to APS subject matter experts, including supply chain representatives. There are specific classes that touch on APS operations, APS safety culture, how to complete a Request for Proposal, presenting your business to others, and developing a Capability Statement, among other topics.

“For our participants, we want this to be one of the most beneficial training programs they have ever experienced. We want graduates of the program to possess the skills and knowledge that will help them thrive in today’s increasingly challenging and competitive business environment,” Halm said.

Participants must be a certified or certifiable diverse business enterprise, or a company 

that is at least 51% owned and controlled by an individual whose business is defined as a  Minority Business Enterprise, Woman Business Enterprise, or Veteran-Owned, Small Business.

Nick Esquer

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