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Monday, May 9, 2011

Google Supporting Michigan’s Minority-Owned Businesses

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Google is very proud to be a sponsor of the Michigan Minority Supplier Diversity Council’s Annual Procurement Conference this week.  The Council has been a critical advocate for the interests of MBEs in the state.  Through Accelerate With Google we are excited to play a role in helping MBEs in Michigan grow their businesses online.

In 2010 Google released a study showing that in 2009 Google had a $54 Billion economic impact on its customers and nonprofits through our AdWords advertising platform

In Michigan, that impact included over $905 Million of profit from 39,600 paying customers and 140 nonprofits taking advantage of our free Google Grants advertising program

While we are proud of those numbers, my team’s job is to ensure that MBEs are taking advantage their share of the online revenue pie.  

When I first met Council President Louis Green along with Chamber of Commerce President Ken Harris, they spoke of a “digital divide” between our Michigan MBEs and majority businesses.  As part of Google’s business development team I work with businesses small to large across the country, and have learned over time that the real gap is shared by minority and majority businesses alike.  In 2011 it is still true that the large majority of America’s businesses have yet to fully grasp the potential to reach a larger customer base on the internet than they can by using traditional methods.  
Over the course of the past year or so that my team at Google (spanning marketing, sales and support for our suite of business products) has been meeting Council businesses, we have become passionate about ensuring that minority-owned businesses specifically are participating in digital marketing.

Of course, some MBEs are already killing it online, and we’ve been working with them and documenting how Google products have helped transform their businesses. 

 Ideal Shield, part of Frank Venegas’ Ideal Group in Detroit is an example of an MBE we’ve been working with who has had great success with AdWords, and uses YouTube and other Googler products.   
By 1) having great website landing pages that describe their product,
2) finding the right “keywords,” or search terms, to describe their product,
3) taking advantage of online measurement and targeting capabilities, and 
4) only spending money on campaigns that bring profitable customer leads
Ideal Shield has been getting a phenomenal $18 return for every $1 invested with AdWords.  Marketing Director Linzie Venegas does just about the best job I’ve seen running B2B online marketing campaigns.  She uses data and metrics to drive sales, and isn’t afraid to learn and try new things.

Still, others are at the beginning stages of having a strong online presence.  Our training session during the Education Immersion Day at the conference on May 11 will speak to this and share resources for getting your business online. 
 Additionally, Google has made a gift to the Council of $175,000, which will go towards programs in Michigan and nationally to get MBEs online profitably, and to help them grow their businesses ability to generate revenues online

 If you want to learn more about what we’re up to, follow me on Twitter: @chrisgenteel, or get in touch with us at googleaccelerate@google.com.

Chris Genteel is Business Development Manager of Google’s Global Diversity Programs, and is based in Google’s Ann Arbor office.  For more information goto google.com/ads/accelerate, or email googleaccelerate@google.com.

Monday, May 2, 2011

30th Annual Michigan Minority Procurement Conference and Trade Fair

Listen to the internet radio show with Diverse Business on Blog Talk Radio with MMSDC's Lillian Lowery and Ken Harris

Value, Sustainability, and Growth
30th Annual Michigan Minority Procurement Conference and Trade Fair
  Where many businesses see obstacles, there is a special group of 1,300 companies that see opportunity in “Value, Sustainability, and Growth.”  This is the message of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), Wayne County and the City of Detroit’s 30th Annual MichiganMinority Procurement Conference (MMPC) and Tradeshow May 10-12, at the Cobo Conference Center

This is the largest minority business enterprise (MBE) business opportunity fair of its type in the nation, bringing together diverse suppliers and major corporations from several industries and several states.

            The content of this two day event is consistent with the theme.  “Value Sustainability and Growth.” Value is represented by the companies that will bring over $15.56 billion in opportunity for diverse businesses.  The Value is also represented by a powerful day of professional development training featuring Google, and Harvard Business School Professor and Detroit native, Lynda Applegate on May 11, 2011.

Further demonstrating the value minority businesses bring to our nation’s economy; the Chief Purchasing Officers of Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Honda and Toyota will make a rare joint appearance to kickoff the Tradeshow on Thursday, May 12, 2011. 

Sustainability is represented by the MMSDC minority businesses that are mentoring and developing others in the business community to strengthen Michigan’s Economy. 

Growth is represented by the 80 Metropolitan Detroit high school students who will interview for summer jobs with local minority owned companies in our first Metro Detroit High School Diversity Intern Program slated for May 12 in conjunction with the conference.  These you will see firsthand the strength of networking and what a vision and determination can provide.  They will meet the over 240 companies participating in the MMPC business opportunity fair.

Tony Brown, MMSDC Chair and Group VP, Global Purchasing, FORD

On Wednesday evening, a special VIP exhibitor’s reception will highlight and celebrate successful entrepreneurs. Tony Brown, MMSDC Chairman of the Board and Group Vice President, Global Purchasing, Ford Motor Company; Dave Bing, Mayor of Detroit; and Robert Ficano, Wayne County are among those participating.

Thursday’s schedule begins with an 8:45 a.m. ribbon-cutting to open the business opportunity exchange.  There will be inspirational examples of businesses helping smaller companies grow. From noon-1:30 p.m.  is a Power Lunch with Willie Jolley,  a noted speaker, author and XM Radio Host.  He will speak on “Helping Setbacks, Into Comebacks with an Attitude of Excellence.” The Power Lunch is sponsored by Johnson Controls, and WillieJolley is sponsored by Honda.

Willie Jolley, Power Luncheon Speaker on Thursday, May 12

This conference is the platform for minority businesses and corporations to create “Value, Sustainability and Growth.” The professional development sessions and business opportunity fair will help create new prospects for minority businesses and corporations trying to navigate the rapid changes. 
Louis Green, President/CEO of MMSDC

“The conference will serve as the voice for our minority business owners, the billions of dollars they contribute to our communities and the 200,000 employees that depend on them.  “Not only are these businesses important to Michigan’s economy, but they represent the hope of thousands of families,” according to Louis Green, President and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.

Takata is the official conference and trade fair sponsor.  Complete two-day registration is $300 and includes admission for one to the opening session, participation in the professional development sessions, power lunch, trade fair and afterglow.


Founded in Detroit in 1977, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (formerly known as the Michigan Minority Business Development Council) has more than 1,200 certified minority businesses and over 300 corporate members working to further its mission to certify minority businesses; provide access to procurement opportunities; and develop capacity for minority business development.  MMSDC is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Proceeds from this event support MMSDC programs and services and are tax deductible.

The MMSDC is nationally recognized for its work with major corporations to promote minority business development and growth.  MMSDC also operates one of the Minority Business Centers (MBC) funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  MBC provides rapid growth-potential minority businesses the "keys to entrepreneurial success" through access to markets, capital and strategic consulting. Visit the MMSDC’s web site to learn more about these programs and services at www.minoritysupplier.org.

To schedule interviews contact:: Lillian Lowery via llowery@mmbdc.com