BENTONVILLE, Ark., November 2, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) yesterday announced a $1 million grant to the Business Consortium Fund (BCF). BCF was established by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) to address the lack of traditional lending opportunities for minority businesses. This announcement comes after the company made an initial $1 million donation to the BCF last October. The additional funds will continue to assist the organization in financing NMSDC-certified minority businesses across America.
A member of NMSDC since 1994, Wal-Mart’s recent grant is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supplier diversity and the communities it serves. It will help the BCF to provide and facilitate financing to certified minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) experiencing difficulty in obtaining financing through normal lending sources. In addition to Wal-Mart’s financial support, Jay Fitzsimmons, senior vice president of finance and treasurer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., also serves on the BCF board.
“Over the years, the Business Consortium Fund has been a force for change through its support of diverse businesses that face financial challenges,” said Fitzsimmons. “By providing funds that will increase the operational capital of small diverse businesses, Wal-Mart can assist in the development of minority businesses that can ultimately better serve the retail industry. And I challenge other corporations to continue their support.”
During its more than 20 year existence, BCF has used funding from corporate foundations to issue loans to diverse small businesses that may have had difficulty in securing financing from banking institutions. The businesses seeking loans are referred to BCF by the regional purchasing councils of the NMSDC, which certifies businesses with minority-owned/managed status. Wal-Mart’s contribution will be pooled with contributions from other corporate foundations.
“Keeping capital flowing to minority businesses is important for business growth,” said Harriet R. Michel, president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. “Wal-Mart’s generosity will enable capacity-building through timely loans to minority entrepreneurs.”
The recipients of the loans will be businesses that provide goods and services sold to the retail industry and other sectors in channels such as construction, food and beverage, apparel, professional services and others.
Wal-Mart has a continued commitment to increasing supplier diversity and currently partners with more than 3,600 diverse suppliers to provide merchandise for its customers’ varied needs. The company’s supplier diversity program helps to expand and increase business relationships and opportunities with minority and women-owned businesses and further serves to strengthen the company’s overall diversity commitment.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and NYSE Arca stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com.
About The National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council, one of the country’s leading business membership organizations, provides a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses. It was chartered in 1972 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes.