Eleven of the region’s top healthcare institutions and Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) members hosted a healthcare vendor fair on November 11 at The Forum Caterers.
The event introduced members of the health companies’ procurement staffs to more than 200 minority and women entrepreneurs who attended and discussed the procedures for doing business with host organizations. MWBEs also met with local business resource providers.
“Certification is an important process in the state of Maryland, [but] I hope we can get away from certification process and that we are just doing business with each other,” said keynote speaker Catherine E. Pugh, senator, Maryland State Senate. “There are some tremendous efforts taking place in the state of Maryland, especially in the healthcare area as it relates to trying to galvanize and support minority business enterprise,” she said.
For more than five years, the participating healthcare organizations have collaborated through the GBC’s Bridging the Gap initiative to explore and implement ways of increasing their procurement from local MWBEs. The effort has been successful in producing significant increases in their MWBE procurement.
“If you want to increase wealth in the minority and women-owned business field — the way to do it is through the private sector and that’s the area in which the ‘Bridging the Gap’ program is founded,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO, Greater Baltimore Committee.
“The more successful [the minority and women-owned businesses] are, the more successful the state is and the more successful we are,” said Eric Wexler, president and CEO, Northwest Hospital. “The leaders of hospitals really have an interest in being more inclusive, but what we had to do was change our culture,” he said. Education, policy development, and outreach were all important in this process.
Participating organizations were:
Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Mayor’s Office of Employment Development
Novation/University HealthSystem Consortium
Owens & Minor
The University of Maryland Medical System
Sponsors for the GBC Healthcare Vendor Fair were: program sponsor MedStar Health and media sponsor the Baltimore Times.