Conference to Connect Business Owners

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Purdue University will host its annual Relationships to Partnerships Sessions this month to help minority and women business owners connect with other businesses. The conference is in its tenth year. November 4, 2014

News Release

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue University's Office of Supplier Diversity Development, in partnership with the Supplier Diversity Development Coalition of Greater Lafayette, will host the annual Relationships to Partnerships Sessions on Nov. 21 to help minority and women business owners in Indiana connect with other businesses.

The theme of the daylong conference, which starts at 8 a.m. in Stewart Center, is "Doing Business with Greater Lafayette Firms." David Kummer, director of human relations and community relations at Nanshan America AAT, will be the luncheon keynote speaker.

The Greater Lafayette Supplier Diversity Coalition encourages diversity and facilitates partnerships among small, diverse businesses and members of the Greater Lafayette business community.

"We have had great success connecting with minority and women business entities from across the state and creating business relationships that have benefited them as well as Purdue," said Jesse L. Moore Jr., director of Purdue's Office of Supplier Diversity Development.

This is the 10th year for the conference.

"That's a milestone that we're certainly proud of," Moore said. "Our open format provides benefits for all who attend. Business owners of organizations of all sizes benefit from networking with other like businesses as well as having the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the buyers and decision-makers from the member organizations of the SDDC."

Hundreds of companies attend each year, he said.

"The City of Lafayette is proud to be an active member of the Supplier Diversity Development Coalition of Greater Lafayette and a supporter of the Relationships to Partnerships Sessions," said Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. "This is important work as we strive to open the door of opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses. The ability to make these personal connections is critical in creating pathways to success."

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis agreed.

"The City of West Lafayette and its citizens believe that the mark of a leading community is shown in its commitment to diversity by recognizing and valuing the unique experiences that minority and women business owners bring to our healthy local economy," he said.

Over the years, Relationships to Partnerships has helped minority- and women-owned businesses meet clients such as Caterpillar, Tate & Lyle, Ivy Tech Community College, Eli Lilly and Co., Kirby Risk, IU Health, Fifth Third Bank, Oerlikon Fairfield, Nanshan America AAT, Evonik, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Alcoa, and the Greater Lafayette Commerce.

"The Supplier Diversity Development Coalition of Greater Lafayette and Purdue University's Office of Supplier Diversity together present one of the best supplier diversity programs I have seen in this state," said Billie Dragoo, chair of RepuCare and immediate past chair of the National Association of Women Business Owners. "I have been an ardent advocate of women and minorities in this state for many years and applaud them for their outreach and inclusion of women- and minority-owned businesses."

This year, the plenary session is from 8-9:30 a.m. in Stewart Center, Room 218. Three concurrent sessions take place from 9:45-11 a.m. in Stewart Center. Session 1, which is on construction, A/E and related services, will take place in Room 206. Session 2, which is on marketing, computer and IT services, will be in Room 214 AB. Session 3, which is on products, goods and professional services other than A/E, is in Room 214 CD. The sessions will be followed by an awards luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Purdue Memorial Union's North Ballroom.

To register for the conference, visit www.conf.purdue.edu/r2p10. For more information, or to register, contact Marta Foth at marta@purdue.edu.

As part of its program, Purdue's Office of Supplier Diversity Development and Physical Facilities in June co-sponsored the ninth annual Construction Connection at Martin University in Indianapolis. The event helps small, diverse construction businesses make contact with Physical Facilities staff to discuss upcoming construction projects and bring insight into the bidding process.

For the first time, this year's conference also gave contractors access to other institutions. Representatives from Flaherty & Collins Properties, Ivy Tech State Community College, Indiana University, Indiana University Health Arnett and the Indiana Construction Roundtable provided information to dozens of attending firms.

Robert Olson, university engineer, spoke about recent construction projects at Purdue such as the Drug Discovery Facility and Krach Leadership Center. He said he welcomed the involvement of minority- and women-owned businesses in the construction of the renovations for the College of Engineering’s strategic growth plan and the Active Learning Center.

Source: Purdue University