BMW Manufacturing and BMW Purchasing and Supplier Network Americas on Wednesday hosted one of the nation’s largest supplier diversity events at the Greenville Convention Center.
Renamed the Supplier Diversity Xchange, the 11th annual event is an opportunity for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses to participate in a day of professional development and to network with BMW’s Tier 1 suppliers.
“In a highly competitive market, creating a workplace that values and respects diversity adds value throughout the organization, sparks innovation and improves productivity,” Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, said in a news release. “For more than a decade, our Supplier Diversity Xchange has been opening doors for minority-owned businesses across the country. Cultivating a more diverse and inclusive workplace brings the richness of experiences, backgrounds and perspectives necessary to grow a sustainable and innovative organization.”
This year’s event includes 240 exhibitors and more than 2,300 registered attendees. Throughout the day, participants will have an opportunity to attend breakout sessions on professional development topics and drive BMWs at the BMW Performance Center. Registration for the event is closed.
This year’s special guest is Mervant Vera, a magician and musician from Philadelphia who finished as a top semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent and is a headline act for the AGT Superstars in Las Vegas. Mervant will share his message of diversity as he performs magic with Joachim Post, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Purchasing and Supplier Network; Oliver Haase, senior vice president of Purchasing and Supplier Network Americas; and several members in the audience.
“It is important to ensure that BMW and our Tier 1 suppliers include diverse businesses in the competitive bidding process,” Haase, senior vice president of Purchasing and Supplier Network Americas, said in the release. “The BMW Supplier Diversity Xchange is a great opportunity for each participant to meet many of BMW’s suppliers and showcase their abilities. Many of these businesses have been awarded national and global contracts with our suppliers.”
For the 2,300 attendees, networking at the Supplier Diversity Xchange is the day’s primary purpose. This is when women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses can meet BMW Tier 1 suppliers and discuss their skills.
“This conference affords me so many incredible networking opportunities and resources,” Donna Brin, founder and CEO of bFIVE40 in Little River, said in the release. “Each and every year I walk away with these golden nuggets, these opportunities I wouldn’t have had unless I went. It’s a wonderful platform for small business.”
“This is the one event that I block off on my calendar a year in advance,” said Darby Smith, director of business development for Roylco Industrial in Anderson. “It’s so important for us because I can talk to between 70 and 100 prospective customers within a matter of hours. Normally, it would take me years to do that.”