The Minority Suppliers Institute (MSI) is the outgrowth of a report prepared by the Regional Technology Strategies, Inc. (RTS) of Carrboro, NC for the Strategic Action Council of Northwest Louisiana (SAC). This initiative will focus on assisting minority-owned small businesses in the four (4) parishes of northwest Louisiana, which are Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto, and Webster. The MSI will work with these companies to prepare them for new opportunities in the private sector.
“Economic data found in the aforementioned report suggested that the income gap between whites and minorities is significant.”
Economic data found in the aforementioned report suggested that the income gap between whites and minorities is significant. These realities are hindrances to the overall economic growth of this region. This situation is not an occurrence that recently appeared, but has evolved over a period of decades. While the SAC intent is not to place blame on a particular group, we realize that the only way to turn these realities around is to create an environment where smaller minority companies have the capability to compete and perform and the larger private sector companies create more opportunities for the small minority companies to take advantage of.
The MSI will work to realize the mission of “addressing the racial income and opportunity gap that blocks economic progress in Northwest Louisiana by helping the region’s minority businesses grow and prosper”. The MSI will achieve this mission by accomplishing the following goals:
Increase the capacity of the participants in the MSI
Support production of products and services with higher gross margins
Increase contract opportunities with the private sector
Increase access to capital for start-up and expansion
Build capacity of minority companies to compete outside of the region
Advance supplier diversity programs
It is important for future funding that the MSI is able to jumpstart its program to have some immediate outcomes. In view of that, the MSI programming will be available to all minority companies, but will focus on companies that demonstrate immediate growth potential but are having difficulties moving to the next level. Therefore, as the Institute works to accomplish the long term goals of the initiative, the short term successes will be measured by the following:
Number of MSI clients/members
Number of private sector members of the MSI
Number of contracts increase (above the baseline data)
Increase amount of dollars generated through contracting opportunities for clients/members of the MSI (above the baseline data)
Number of new employees hired by clients/members of the MSI (above the baseline data)
Number of relationships developed between MBE’s and private sector companies as well as commitments made
The MSI Stand-Up Committee, which was sanctioned by the Strategic Action Council, began working in 2011 to move the initiative forward. The Committee initiated an aggressive fundraising campaign to create the Minority Supplier Institute.
On April 17, 2012, more than 250 community leaders, minority businesses, elected officials, and stakeholders held a Press Conference and Announcement at the Shreveport Convention Center launching the Minority Supplier Institute (MSI) of Northwest Louisiana.