Top 25 Cities for Women Entrepreneurs list, released by Dell, is a great resource for organizations looking for diverse suppliers around the globe.
By Eve Tahmincioglu
As companies look to expand globally and also increase the number of diverse suppliers they work with abroad, a good place to start is Dell’s 2016 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index, also known as WE Cities. (Dell is No. 28 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list and No. 2 on the Top 13 Companies for Supplier Diversity list.)
How is Dell Bolstering Its Supplier Diversity Globally?
Q&A with Jennifer “JJ” Davis, executive director, Dell Global Consumer, Small and Medium Business
Q. How has Dell increased its use of female/minority suppliers outside of the United States?
A. We continue to target suppliers around the world in order to establish the most beneficial relationships for our supply chain and, ultimately, do the best we can for our customers. Programs like Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) and the Dell Supplier Diversity Program help to continue this goal to find and leverage the best of what the supply chain has to offer, no matter where in the world those suppliers may be.
In June 2008, Dell was added to the Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR), a top-level forum for advancing the practice of supplier diversity. The BDR recognizes our commitment of more than $1 billion in annual supply-chain spending with minority and woman-owned suppliers.
We continue to qualify for BDR membership annually. Our diverse spend is tracked by those businesses that are certified by the National Minority Supplier Development Council, WeConnect International, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council or the Small Business Administration.
Q. How does this help the bottom line?
A. We’re getting ready to release a case study with one of our suppliers, Eved, whom we met at a DWEN event. Check out a sneak peek of that case study here: https://youtu.be/kjO9EIhyI3k. The most important thing a big business like Dell can do for smaller suppliers is to be their first customers. And, in turn, they help us solve some of our biggest problems in creative, innovative ways. That is what is brilliant about our relationship with Eved. (Eved is an event procurement solutions firm based in Chicago.)
The WE Cities study was used as a springboard for conversation at the DWEN annual conference in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 27-28. The conversations we were having there were absolutely global. As you can see through the video, including Eved in our supply chain is absolutely beneficial to our bottom line. All in all, getting the best suppliers out there by making sure that we value diversity in the supply chain is just good for business.
Case studies from Dell’s women-owned suppliers:
OrangeDoor, marketing firm in Bromley, London
In 2000, Dell hired OrangeDoor, a woman-owned small business, to support the Dell Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region’s communications team during a major event in New York. At that time, the newly formed London-based integrated marketing agency only had three fulltime employees. This successful project led to another, and today OrangeDoor has more than 35 employees and says Dell has been instrumental in its growth.
“As an independent small business, we often rely on our own initiative and support system. But working with Dell, I have a supplier diversity mentor with whom I meet with monthly. Her expertise has boosted my knowledge of procurement best practices,” said OrangeDoor founder Elizabeth Heron. “We’ve also been able to network with company directors and discover so many new opportunities within Dell and with other clients. I’m thrilled at how Dell has helped a company of our size open up amazing opportunities!”
SIC, warranty company in Tlalnepantla de Baz, Mexico
Dell hired SIC in 2005 to provide warranty services in Mexico. SIC has grown with Dell, expanding its services to Dell Carry-in Service Centers in 14 countries and opening offices in Colombia, Argentina and Chile. Through Dell, SIC has also become involved in international networking groups like WEConnect.
“Working in a male-oriented business society has historically presented some challenges for companies like ours,” said SIC Chief Executive Officer Leticia Martinez. “But Dell has been very supportive and over 11 years we’ve quickly evolved from service provider to true business partner.”
New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, London, Stockholm and Singapore all top the WE Cities list as doing the best job attracting and fostering growth among women-owned businesses.
“The rankings can absolutely be used as a tool for companies looking to expand their use of women-owned businesses in their supply chain,” said Jennifer “JJ” Davis, executive director, Dell Global Consumer, Small and Medium Business. “By identifying the hotbeds for women entrepreneurs, companies can target those geographic locations when looking to expand.”
But, she added, “The bigger reason for the index was to identify areas where women entrepreneurs need extra support because conditions aren’t as conducive. We can take best practices from some of the highest ranking cities for female entrepreneurs and work on implementing them in areas where female entrepreneurship is not as nurtured and developed.”
Dell focused on cities instead of countries for its index to illustrate the impact of local policies and programs in addition to what’s happening on a national level as far as laws and customs.
Outside of the United States, the concept of supplier diversity remains largely unknown and almost completely underutilized, according to a DiversityInc global study from 2014.
The findings concluded that fewer than 5 percent of companies reported any type of supplier-diversity initiative, in line with the previous year’s findings.
Dell is one company that has increasingly pursued and promoted supplier diversity globally.
“Dell develops strategic, sustainable relationships with a very diverse group of qualified suppliers. Our customers come from every nation, culture and walk of life, and it’s important that all aspects of our business reflect that same diversity,” said Michael Dell, the computer company’s CEO and chairman.
Stepping center stage when it comes to supplier diversity around the globe, Dell announced the WE Cities index in conjunction with the White House’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Building on the past four years of Dell’s research on high-potential women entrepreneurs, five important categories of city characteristics were identified:
- and markets.
These attributes are included in two groups — operating environment and enabling environment.
The overall rating has 70 indicators, and, of these, 44 have a gender-based component. Individual indicators were weighted based on four criteria: relevance, quality of underlying data, uniqueness in the index and gender component.
Here’s a breakdown of the top ten from a World Economic Forum article on the findings, starting with No. 10:
Seattle is top for access to female mentors and role models. And there’s a good portion of funding that goes to women in the city.
Paris is one of the best cities for talent, culture and market size, but it lacks capital and technology compared to other cities.
Sydney is one of the top cities for women entrepreneurs, thanks to great access to mentors and increased connectivity.
- Washington, D.C.
America’s capital city provides ready access to funding and talent, making it one of the top operating environments for women entrepreneurs.
Toronto tops the list for its culture score: it has mentors, networks and role models for women, as well as the right policy and attitude to support them.
The island city-state in Southeast Asia is an ideal environment for women to launch a business venture thanks to its ample supply of talent, culture and technology.
Stockholm tops the list for technology, which gives it an edge as a great “enabling environment” for women entrepreneurs.
London has better access to markets and capital for women entrepreneurs than most cities.
- San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area doles out the most money to businesses founded and led by women. It also has plenty of talent available for companies.
- New York
New York ranks first for both being able to attract women entrepreneurs and support them as they build their companies.