BENTONVILLE, Ark., October 31, 2007 – Wal-Mart announced today that it has awarded an additional $1 million grant to the Business Consortium Fund, a not-for-profit business development organization affiliated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). The contribution – which was presented during the NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Fair in Miami Beach – sustains the retailer’s commitment to supplier diversity and the communities it serves. Over the past three years, Wal-Mart has supported the BCF with three separate grants, for a total of $3 million in contributions. The company has been a national corporate member of NMSDC since 1994.
“Wal-Mart is very pleased to be able to offer our continued support to the BCF for a third year in a row,” said Esther Silver-Parker, senior vice president, diversity relations, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “With our help, we’re hopeful that minority suppliers throughout the nation will have additional opportunities to develop, grow and contribute to the business world.”
During its more than 20 year existence, the BCF has used funding from corporations, state governments and foundations to provide and support financings to minority-owned businesses that may have had difficulty in securing financing from banking and other financial institutions. Businesses seeking financing are referred to BCF by NMSDC-affiliated Regional Councils.
“The Wal-Mart grants over the last three years have greatly assisted our efforts to provide minority entrepreneurs with necessary funds to continue to grow their businesses,” said BCF President Mark Harrison. “By continuing to invest in minority-owned businesses, we strengthen the ability of MBEs to make an even greater contribution to the overall growth and market expansion of the U.S. economy.”
The financing by BCF will benefit minority 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 other industries. In 2006, two of Wal-Mart’s current suppliers, R. D. P. Floral, Inc., in Los Angeles, California, and Maximum Enterprises, LLC in Las Vegas, Nevada, received funding from the BCF.
“The BCF continues to play a critical role in the growth and development of minority-owned businesses nationwide,” said NMSDC President Harriet R. Michel. “Wal-Mart has been instrumental in our efforts to provide essential funding to the Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business enterprises we serve, awarding more than $19 million in loans and helping to create 170 jobs in the last three years.”
Entrepreneurs interested in learning more about BCF should contact their local NMSDC-affiliated Regional Council or review the BCF Web site at www.bcfcapital.com. A list of the Regional Councils is available at www.nmsdc.org.
Recognized as the largest corporate cash contributor in America, in 2006 Wal-Mart’s charitable giving totaled more than $270 million in financial and in-kind donations to various organizations and causes. Charitable contributions from Wal-Mart enhance opportunities for individuals and families to live better by supporting initiatives in education, economic opportunity, the environment, and health and human services.
About the Business Consortium Fund
The Business Consortium Fund, Inc. (BCF) is a not-for-profit business development program of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). The BCF is the nation’s most comprehensive financing and business support organization dedicated primarily to the certified ethnic minority-owned business sector. The BCF offers a full line of financing services through a national network of strategic alliance partners that include the NMSDC and its 39 affiliated Regional Councils, major corporations, commercial lenders, and other financial institutions and business support organizations. Additional information is available at www.bcfcapital.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. www.nmsdc.org
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.