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Building Businesses Helps to Build Our Communities


Louis Green, President & CEO, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) at the Healthcare Sourcing Event in Washington DC.

GE organized a Healthcare Sourcing Event in Washington DC on Monday to help promote business growth opportunities for existing U.S. suppliers by providing a forum for them to share best practices.  As part of the event, Louis Green, President & CEO, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), showcased how building businesses also builds communities by highlighting the positive results achieved with the GE Michigan Model (GEMM).  When the automotive industry in Detroit, Michigan, faltered, several highly skilled suppliers were left without work.  GE joined together with MMSDC and several local businesses to develop a process to help local suppliers to diversify and provide high quality products to new industries.    

GEMM’s aim is to sponsor companies which have been affected by economic setbacks. The GEMM’s theory is simple: investing in these businesses and helping them grow, keep and create jobs. The people maintained or hired in those jobs reinvest into the local ecosystem and building the local economy.  Since 2010, GEMM has identified 80 million dollars’ worth of opportunities for qualified MBEs.

In an exclusive interview with GE Healthcare, Michael Lucas, Executive Director of Supplier Diversity at GE Healthcare stated that the biggest challenge for the new initiative was to change old ways of thinking and to create a new model on which to base future growth.

GE is looking to replicate the success experienced with the Michigan model, Mr. Lucas said “I think that the end result and the potential of the model that we are trying to create in South Carolina could really be akin to the Michigan model. So there are a lot of good things that we are doing and continuing to do.” 

The argument in favor of investing in these communities is strong:  The support that the GEMM project gives, allows businesses the opportunity to grow, thus creating employment opportunities. In Mr. Lucas’ words: "A strong economic bidding in local economies leads to a better lifestyle for the folks in the area.” He stated that support towards small businesses is an equivalent to a strong national economy.

The GEMM offers small businesses coaching and mentoring classes. Their aim is inform and prepare suppliers on the needs and expectations that the larger corporations have of their services and products. Their preparation of small businesses for the demands of the market helps to ensure the high rates of success.