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Diversity & Inclusion

How Minority Resource Group Disrupts Typical DE&I Initiatives to Maximize “Diversity Spend”

Dr. Barbara Harper, Founder & President, Robert Harper, Co-Founder & CEO, and Tom Carolan, Co-Founder & COO, created Minority Resource Group (MRG) to provide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Supply Chain solutions. Certified Minority Supply Chain Vendors are companies that are small, ethnically minority (latino, asian, native american, pacific islander), woman, social minority (LGBQ), economically disadvantaged, or veteran (service disabled and veteran) owned businesses. Typically, they are referred to as MBE / WBE / VBE/ SDVOB or SBE. The certification requirements vary state to state, each public agency, and there are national certifications as well.

The Current Market Atmosphere

In the past, only government and public agencies were beholden to Minority Supply Chain requirements and DE&I-focused compliance. However, currently, publicly traded companies are increasingly facing scrutiny from investors, shareholders, and their board of directors for not following suit. Also, corporations that are looking to increase their social responsibility and market footprint are realizing the importance. More and more we are seeing DE&I procurement policies trickling down to publicly-traded and privately-owned companies, and Minority Resource Group was created to assist all of them.

“We created a company to provide advice and administrative services for the entire lifecycle of a Minority Supply Chain. This is such a new demand that requires a very unique knowledge and skillset, so we developed a company to serve that specific purpose. We provide solutions to expand DE&I that will work in conjunction with Human Resources, because together they maximize DE&I spend,” says Barbara Harper.

Minority Resource Group helps public companies front-run the up-and-coming social compliance policies that will be more enforced over the next few years.

“Warren Buffett, BlackRock, and Vanguard, for example, all want to invest in companies that have a very robust DE&I policy. When corporations develop a minority supply chain procurement policy, they essentially, along with Human Resources, are maximizing their DE&I spend. We put together an action plan that reflects the goals of the corporation that is a proactive approach that is real, with measurable impacts,” shares Robert Harper.

How did Minority Resource Group Get its Start?

The formation of the Minority Resource Group (MRG) is a tale of two converged stories. Barbara, a retired chiropractor and professor with a passion for helping people, longed for a way to help the business students she taught, many of whom were minorities, on how to start their own businesses.

“There were times when I was teaching where I would see the difficulty that students would have to envision their future business after graduation,” Barbara shares. “They had trouble with the how, when, or where to open their business, and that was my motivating force for MRG. It allows me to apply all of my experiences with the students and have a vision and resource for new entrepreneurs who leave the classroom.”

Then one day, her son Robert faced difficulty at a large construction project in NYC as he was required to find more Minority Vendors and catch up on compliance reports. Robert was telling Barbara the challenges he was facing and Barbara said to Robert, “Is there someone you can call to help you catch up on the paperwork and find more minority vendors?”, and in 2018, Robert explained that there are no resources to call. After a few calls, Robert was introduced to Tom, and, together with Barbara, they agreed to start a very specific boutique consulting firm and just like that, Minority Resource Group was born.

What Does the Minority Resource Group (MRG) Do?

MRG’s list of services is very unique: 

  • Providing developers (Clean Energy & Real Estate) minority supply chain development and vendor management services. 
  • They are “someone to call” for prime contractors who have a gap in minority vendor resources or administrative compliance challenges. 
  • Advising companies on how to increase their social responsibility of their ESG score by showing them how to maximize their Diversity Spend.
  • Pre-qualifying minority vendors for prime contractors and reviewing applications for public agencies looking to relieve the bottleneck of the Minority, Women, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) application process. 
  • Consulting and filing MWDBE applications assisting minority-owned firms with the process of becoming certified.
  • Educating entrepreneurs and students on the benefits and how to become certified is another unique service MRG offers.   

The woman-owned firm’s overarching purpose is to create protocols, facilitate minority supply chain programs, and forge partnerships between companies and minority-owned vendors. Why is this so important?

In the case of public companies, they need to maximize “Diversity Spend” because the ESG wheels are turning. For example, in August 2021, the United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a board diversity rule for Nasdaq listed companies. The rule declares that every Nasdaq listed company must include at least one woman and one member of an unrepresented community on their board by August 2022.

Essentially MRG works with these public companies to help them create a “maximized” DE&I policy, which helps to increase the “S” in their ESG scores. MRG believes that ESG goes far beyond recycling, planting trees, using shades, and hiring a diverse workforce, it must also include diversifying vendor purchase orders. Having an inclusive supply chain protocol for the procurement department to follow, truly is a complete DE&I policy. MRG will help bring your obligatory minority compliance budget to a level that satisfies the desired “diversity spend” of the firm. More importantly, by getting ahead of the curve on these regulations, businesses stand to attract more investors and customers with higher ESG scores.

“If you include MRG in your DE&I plans, we will ensure that you are maximizing your diversity spend by including procurement initiatives. Our recommendations are action items that show the board of directors and investors that there is a plan in place, and it is working. At some point you will report to the board and investors that the diversity spend is maximized,” says Barbara.

MRG is also very proud to help uplift minority vendors by consulting, filing for or assisting them to get certified, and connecting them to businesses that desire their services.

“We are so excited to bring new vendors to the market, advising them on how to bid, and ensuring they are submitting the proper certification paperwork,” Barbara shares. “We just love doing the paperwork that is otherwise very time consuming to a new business owner who is busy trying to get their company off the ground. Plus, nobody likes to do this paperwork! Consulting minority owners before they purchase or start their firm and then pre-qualifying that company is invaluable because it increases their chances of being certified. After certification, we advise them on bidding, how to utilize their certifications, and how to connect the dots with prime contractors, corporations, and developers.”

MRG is an invaluable resource for prime contractors by being a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certified outsource for the compliance documentation, administrative tasks, providing gap resources, and pre-qualification of their minority vendors.

“Currently, prime contractors will pre-qualify vendors and process the required paperwork with inhouse personnel, but when you use MRG for this, you will get minority credit for those tasks toward that project goal because we are WBE-certified. In the end it is a win-win for everyone,” says Tom Carolan.

MRG’s co-founder and COO, Tom Carolan, is responsible for visiting and interviewing the minority companies that a corporation or prime contractor plans to use. When MRG pre-qualifies a minority vendor they ensure they are available for work and capable of performing the work, as well as verify they are minority-owned and that they have the proper certifications, and therefore can bid on projects.

“Too many times a prime contractor will get a bid from a minority firm and they have no idea if they are minority controlled, if they can self-perform the work, if they are financially stable, have the equipment, tools, and skillset to perform the scope of work. By hiring MRG and pre-qualifying these firms, they perform the due diligence needed; they also can reduce their compliance and bonding risk, which is critical. It is a small step toward knowing if these firms can not only start but, more importantly, finish a scope of work,” Tom states. 

Minority Resource Group does the legwork so you don’t have to. If you are looking for a way to increase your minority supply chain participation, get minority credit for processing compliance paperwork, develop your minority vendor pool, help increase your “S” in your ESG score, or are a minority-owned business, contact Minority Resource Group to find out how they can help you today!

Contact Information: 
Company: Minority Resource Group LLC
Name: Barbara Harper, Robert Harper, and Tom Carolan
Phone: 732-228-4353
Email: info@minorityresourcegroup.com or sales@minorityresourcegroup.com 

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