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New Grant Program Focuses on Diversity and Supply Chain Resiliency

Jan. 25, 2021
With the goal of supporting more resilient supply chains, Siemens is awarding $140,000 in grants to Black-owned businesses.

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Supply chain resiliency and diversity initiatives are both high on corporations’ priority lists right now, and a new grant program combines the two into one. Siemens USA is providing a total of $140,000 in grants to Black-owned businesses to support diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship and business development.

Working with the Atlanta chapter of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Siemens will select businesses to receive the grants in seven U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Orlando, and Pasadena, Calif.

“To build resilient supply chains, and to expand our own business opportunities, we need a marketplace that’s diverse and inclusive,” Nichelle Grant, Siemens’ head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion said in a press release. “These grants are intended to help Black-owned companies develop their businesses to be in the best position to compete for contracts and become part of supplier bases like ours.”

How the Grant Program Works

Acknowledging that the minority business community, and Black-owned businesses in particular, have experienced numerous hardships during this time of the pandemic, social unrest, and economic downturn, Siemens says its grant is part of the company’s broader support of minority businesses and advancement of supplier diversity.

“For many years, Siemens Supply Chain Management has strategically sourced from diverse businesses to benefit from the innovation and creativity these suppliers have to offer. Any resilient and successful supply chain needs to invest in cultural diversity as part of its vision,” Patric Stadtfeld, head of Supply Chain Management for the Americas, said in the release. “We’re proud to continue supporting and growing our supplier base of more than 6,000 small and diverse businesses.”

For the grant program, Siemens says the MBDA will nominate up to five businesses for the grants in each city based on their financial challenges and alignment with the manufacturer’s supply chain needs. All candidates will be entered into Siemens’ supplier database, with grants in the amount of $20,000 awarded to each of the seven winners in late-February.

Siemens says it selected the seven cities based on its “footprint and supplier partner needs,” noting that the grants align with the manufacturer’s ongoing commitment to “drive meaningful, measurable impact towards closing the opportunity gap in the Black business community.”

Supporting Diversity and Supply Chains

Siemens’ other current initiatives include a partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) in Atlanta and the deployment of air filtration and thermal imaging technology that helped NCCHR remain open safely to the public during COVID-19.

“This mission is also advanced through the work of the Siemens Foundation, the non-profit organization established by Siemens USA,” the company adds, “and its recent $2 million pledge to Community Development Financial Institutions Funds (CDFIs) to support social and economic equity in racially diverse communities.”

The Foundation, with support from Siemens Healthineers, also committed $2 million to 20 community health centers across the country to help them respond to the COVID-19 crisis and continue to provide care for millions of Americans in underserved populations. Additional donations are supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in their plans to safely reopen campuses.

More to Come?

As we progress further into 2021, expect to see more companies developing new initiatives that support supply chain resiliency, diversity, and in some cases, a combination of the two. “A major shock to supply chain operations, COVID-19 exposed the weaknesses of the current supply chain paradigm and forced firms to consider the challenges of rebuilding their supply chains due to supplier exits,” SCMR reports.

“For some industries, the pandemic even forced a major rethinking of business models,” it continues. “And while these are all valid pain points, there’s a silver lining to all of this: The pandemic is giving companies a chance to rethink supply chain resilience.”

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About the Author

Bridget McCrea | Contributing Writer | Supply Chain Connect

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who covers business and technology for various publications.