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The promotion and growth of small business is crucial to improving the economic vitality of the United States. This paper introduces Supplier Connection, an initiative led by the IBM International Foundation in collaboration with six Fortune 500 corporations with the objective of providing economic opportunities to small businesses in order to spur U.S. job growth. This challenge requires much more than the efforts of any one company, and this paper describes a successful approach to business transformation across many companies. Large corporations normally operate independently when seeking suppliers, creating unique processes that require precious resources from small businesses and that discourage them from pursuing large enterprise contracts. Supplier Connection provides a common supplier application process and a free social business platform where small businesses have the opportunity to present their goods and services to many companies at one time with the goal of winning contracts, growing their businesses, and creating jobs. Supplier Connection is designed to bridge the gap between small businesses seeking new opportunities and large corporations seeking innovative new ideas and diversity in their supply chain partners while creating process efficiencies and business benefits for all participants.
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