karen_mills_web.jpgWASHINGTON — A new private-public collaboration will help small businesses strengthen their revenue streams by gaining access to more than $300 billion in combined supply chain spending by a consortium of 15 of America’s largest corporations, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced.

Supplier Connection, which was created by the IBM Foundation, is part of the Obama Administration’s American Supplier Initiative and is designed to help bridge the gap between small, nimble businesses looking for new opportunities and large corporations looking for innovative new ideas and diversity in their supply chains.

“The American Supplier Initiative is part of a comprehensive solution to grow small businesses, create jobs and to ensure that America has a strong, deep and diverse supply chain,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said.

“While it is clear that becoming a corporate supplier can lead to business growth, breaking in can be a challenge for small businesses.  The Supplier Connection will be one tool to help small businesses connect with corporate buyers,” Mills said. “Tools like this help to ensure that more small businesses are part of commercial supply chains, which adds additional revenue streams.  This is a proven formula for job creation.”

Mills has sent letters about Supplier Connection, a new tool to help small businesses access private sector supply chains, to more than 50,000 small businesses that participate in small business federal procurement programs. 

Studies have shown that small businesses that are part of large corporations’ supply chains experience increased revenues and employment.  The SBA says it is committed to helping such businesses identify new tools and resources to become part of these supply chains. 

Supplier Connection is a free, online portal that allows small businesses to send information about their products and services to 15 large private sector companies.

The companies are AMD, AT&T, Bank of America, Caterpillar, Citi Group, Dell, Facebook, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, John Deere, Kellogg’s, Office Depot, Pfizer, UPS and Wells Fargo.

 Together, those companies have a combined purchasing power of $300 billion and now they will have full access to the

profiles of small businesses that have registered for Supplier Connection. 

So far, several American Supplier Initiative announ-cements have already been made. They include the following:

• SBA’s International Trade Loan expansion: This program provides small businesses with capital to finance their fixed assets, including real estate, and working capital needs. It offers private lenders a 90 percent guarantee on loans up to $5 million as an incentive to encourage lending to growing small businesses. Small businesses may use the program to on-shore and help bring jobs back to the U.S.

• Export-Import Bank’s Global Credit Express Product: This is specially designed to deliver short-term working capital loans directly to creditworthy small business exporters. Through it, exporters may be eligible for a six- or 12-month revolving line of credit of up to $500,000.

• CAPLines: This program was recently revamped to help small businesses meet their short-term and cyclical working capital needs.  

For more information on Supplier Connection, visit supplier-connection.net

Photo: Courtesy of smallbusiness.house.gov

Karen Mills, SBA administrator