case study

Economic Empowerment: Connecting Minority Business Owners with Regional Resources

Case Study at a Glance

CLIENT

Greater Cleveland Partnership

THE PROBLEM

Because minority-owned businesses (MBEs) and large corporations had little visibility into each other’s potential services and needs, opportunities for their economic advancement were limited or completely missed. GCP needed an easily accessible portal to allow MBEs, large companies and suppliers to connect to opportunities, services, and capital.

THE VERTEX SOLUTION

Vertex built the Marketplace Portal to connect corporate buyers with MBE suppliers. This virtual space serves as a database of MBEs, service providers, buyers, and capital resources.

THE RESULT

Because the portal provides visibility of the needs and offerings of large companies and MBEs, these organizations can now utilize each other’s services far easier. Marketplace has become the go-to resource for MBEs to find opportunities in the local market and for corporate buyers to find MBE firms they can engage for business.

Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) Launched Marketplace, a Digital Portal that Connects Northeast Ohio MBEs and Large Companies

The Problem and Background

Minority-owned businesses have a unique set of challenges. Workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion issues have long persisted as MBEs seek opportunities to market themselves. Northeast Ohio minority businesses possessed a wealth of talent, ideas, products, and services. But, ensuring that buyers could find them proved difficult.

Our client, Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), represents the collective voice of more than 12,000 members, serving as a catalyst for business growth, development, and economic inclusion. Their Equity and Inclusion Department works to engage the region’s employers to address systemic racial inequalities which hinder economic growth. This team had been focusing on two parallel and equally important areas:

  1. Growing businesses owned by people of color and increasing workforce diversity, equity and inclusion through high-quality and effective initiatives, workshops, and conferences
  2. Providing consulting services to stimulate minority business growth and increase workforce inclusion

The Equity & Inclusion Department needed a digital tool to enable its key mission of enhancing the economic opportunities for minority businesses. Additionally, the portal needed to provide a means for large corporations in the region to find and identify minority businesses with which to do business.

We Got IT: Marketplace Portal Provides a Showcase Venue for Companies to Share Their Offerings

Vertex built Marketplace, an online portal for GCP to connect corporate buyers in the region with MBE suppliers. A Custom .NET Solution Hosted on Azure, Marketplace connects MBEs with demand for their goods and services. It is a virtual space that serves as a searchable database of MBEs, service providers, buyers and capital to connect. This space allows an interchange for MBE suppliers to accelerate their growth via access to opportunities, services and capital. The portal has four functional quadrants to achieve its key missions:

  • Buyer community
  • Access to capital
  • MBE profiles
  • Services profiles

Result: Marketplace Cloud Application Enables Productive Connections

Marketplace has become the go-to spot for northeast Ohio MBEs to find opportunities in the local market and for corporate buyers to find MBE firms they could do business with. Vertex designed, developed, and deployed the Marketplace as a cloud application built in .NET and hosted on Azure. The cloud architecture provides the ability for scaling the system for future enhancements as needs evolve. Marketplace is attracting national attention for the positive impact it is already creating in the local business community.

Features

  • Supplier database – Marketplace provides an opportunity for MBEs to showcase their company and to list the products and services they provide.
  • Buyer community – Corporate buyers can post procurement opportunities and can be sourced by MBE firms. Buyers can also search for MBE firms that can fill specific sourcing needs and reach out to them directly. Corporations can also list any upcoming procurement or educational events that they may make available to MBEs.
  • Service portal – An MBE, whether a fledgling organization or a more mature company, could benefit significantly by accessing services such as mentorship, product development assistance, or capital resources. The services portal is a community of service providers in the local region that provide such services.

Benefits

  • Enhanced opportunities for MBEs and large corporations
  • Increased regional economic growth potential
  • Increased connections among regional organizations
  • Improved opportunities for economic advancement of MBEs

About Us

Vertex is a business and technology consulting firm that helps customers transform their business processes with leading edge technology. Learn more at www.vertexcs.com.

Inspire. Innovate. Implement.
We Got IT.

Vertex Computer Systems

[email protected]
Office: 330-963-0044
25700 Science Park Drive #280 / Beachwood, Ohio 44122

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