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MLB signs partnerships with minority and women business organizations
Agreements with NMSDC, WBENC aim to provide MLB and Clubs with maximum access to diverse vendors

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today the latest milestone in the evolution of its Diverse Business Partners Program, an economically driven business initiative established to cultivate new and existing partnerships with minority-owned and woman-owned businesses. MLB has signed individual partnership agreements with both the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Wendy Lewis, vice president, Strategic Planning for Recruitment and Diversity, MLB (center) poses with Harriet R. Michel, president, National Minority Supplier Development Council (left) and Susan Phillips Bari, president, Women's Business Enterprise National Council (right) at MLB headquarters in New York. (Photo courtesy MLB)
According to both NMSDC and WBENC, these agreements are the first of their kinds with a professional sport. The partnerships between Major League Baseball and the two organizations include memberships for the League's Central Office and member Clubs in local chapters of both NMSDC and WBENC. This provides MLB with access to national and local minority-owned and woman-owned business information, as well as comprehensive resources including seminars, training and technical assistance that supplement the League's supplier-diversity programs and enhances its diverse vendor procurement efforts.

"Major League Baseball's Central Office and member Clubs hold opportunities for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses. By partnering with NMSDC and WBENC, we've created conduits through which MLB can effectively build these business relationships, and provide our Clubs with access to specialized knowledge and resources that support the League's efforts," said Wendy Lewis, vice president, Strategic Planning for Recruitment and Diversity, Major League Baseball. "Through these agreements, Major League Baseball's Diverse Business Partners Program continues to evolve and grow, and serve as a working model for all professional sports."

Harriet R. Michel, president, National Minority Supplier Development Council, said, "Major League Baseball's membership signals its firm commitment to the growth of minority-owned businesses, one of the most energetic, entrepreneurial forces in America. MLB's support of minority business development, and that of our other corporate members, helps build the foundation for a stronger, more equitable society in which all can flourish."

Susan Phillips Bari, president, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, said, "Major League Baseball has taken another giant step in its commitment to do business with woman-owned enterprises through its strategic partnership with WBENC. MLB holds great opportunities for woman-owned businesses, and we're proud to be a vehicle that will help lead Major League Baseball and its Clubs and woman-owned businesses towards mutually beneficial relationships."

In conjunction with these agreements, Major League Baseball also announced today that minority-owned and woman-owned businesses can link to information about the certification process for NMSDC and WBENC.

By becoming certified, minority-business enterprises (MBEs) and woman-business enterprises (WBEs) have greater opportunity to broaden their local, regional and national product or service offerings with Major League Baseball's Central Office, its member Clubs, and thousands of other corporations that rely on NMSDC and WBENC for access to products and services offered by diverse vendors.

In addition, www.MLB.com will also provide interested vendors with Major League Baseball's directory of Diverse Business Partners Program representatives for each individual club. Businesses interested in learning more about Major League Baseball's Diverse Business Partners Program can visit the League's official Web site (www.MLB.com), send an email to dbp@mlb.com or call the Diverse Business Partners information line at 212-931-7554.

Chartered in 1972, NMSDC currently is one of the country's leading business membership organizations that provides procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes. The NMSDC Network, which includes 39 affiliated regional councils, matches more than 15,000 certified minority businesses with its more than 3,500 corporate members that want to purchase their goods and services.

WBENC, the leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the United States, is dedicated to enhancing opportunities for WBEs in America's major business markets. Its goal is to foster diversity in the world of commerce, and its programs and policies are designed to expand opportunities and eliminate barriers in the marketplace for woman business owners.