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Stellantis Program Helps Create Opportunities for Black Suppliers in the Auto Industry

The initiative is called the National Black Supplier Development program, and it shows the uninterrupted dedication Stellantis showed toward diversity, inclusion, and engagement. As of now, the 13 companies that were selected for the first stage are putting the lessons they have learned to good use.
National Business League President and CEO Dr. Ken Harris 6 photos
Moses J. Shepherd, Owner and CEO, ACE PetroleumAdam B. Claytor, CEO, Coltrane Logistics & TruckingStephanie Burnley, co-CEO and general manager, Devon Industrial GroupStellantis North America COO Mark StewartStellantis executives stand with National Business League President and CEO Dr. Ken Harris
Apart from incorporating those lessons into their business model, they are encouraging other companies to apply for the upcoming rounds of the program. Stellantis, along with the program organizers, realized that a lot of Black-owned businesses are small in size. Going on from that, the initiative was built around lessons on creating a brand, building up capacity, and managing finances. The initial group graduated in February, and Stellantis reported that the next assembly of companies will be announced this month.

Profitable Black company owners also participated in the program, telling their success stories and helping inspire the participants. One of them was Leon Richardson, CEO of Chemico Group, a chemical management company based in Southfield, Michigan, with clients in various industries.

Another focus of the initiative was helping the Black business owners and executives learn the best ways to refine their elevator pitches. One of the participants was most satisfied by this part of the training. Owner of fuel supplier ACE Petroleum, Moses Shepherd, said that learning about this was instrumental in growing his customer base. Inspired by the lessons received from Stellantis and is now looking at everyone in his company for their elevator pitches.

Adam Claytor, CEO of Coltrane Logistics & Trucking in Wixom, Michigan, found the financial management and capacity-building sides of the program to be the most helpful. He said they were critical in understanding how to grow his business. According to him, most people only think about having customers when they open a business, without realizing how important it is to have the capability to scale.

Greg Hawkins, the automaker’s supervisor of provider variety, said that Stellantis consulted with suppliers to understand what elements to include in their curriculum. Moving forward, the goal of this initiative is to provide businesses with virtual training and give them access to an online marketplace that bridges the public and private sectors to create opportunities for Black suppliers.

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