Kroger Celebrates Small Business Week and Offers Retail Partnership Guidebook to Advance Supplier Inclusion
CINCINNATI, OH - Last week from May 2–8 was National Small Business Week. In honor of the occasion, Kroger is celebrating the efforts of local businesses with a few new initiatives, including the launch of its Small Business Resource Guide, as part of its Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan. Through its actions, the retailer achieved $4.1 billion in diverse supplier spending in 2020.
“In 2020, Kroger achieved $4.1 billion in diverse supplier spend, representing an increase of 21 percent versus a year ago and build on our commitment to reach $10 billion in diverse supplier spend by 2030. We remain committed to doing the work to advance our longstanding and nationally recognized supplier inclusion program, reflecting partnerships with entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans as well as companies founded by the LGBTQ+ community and business operators with intellectual and physical disabilities,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and CEO. “Greater racial, gender, health, and wealth equity will drive true and long-lasting change and better outcomes in our country. And as America’s grocer, we’re honored to play a role in driving this change as an employer, grocery provider, and community partner.”
According to the company’s release, the plan features steps developed in collaboration with associates and leaders to accelerate and promote greater change in the workplace and in the communities the organization serves.
Last year, Kroger introduced 107 new diverse suppliers, a 91 percent increase versus 2019. Of these suppliers, five played a leading role in supplying Kroger with personal protective equipment during the peak of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
“Through Kroger’s supplier inclusion program, we support, mentor, promote, and grow diverse-owned enterprises across our thriving operation. We currently work with more than 1,600 diverse suppliers, ranging from food and beverage to health and beauty and product distributors to service providers,” said Angel Colón, Kroger’s Senior Director of Corporate and Supplier Diversity. “As a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, we continue to partner with diverse businesses in innovative ways, including by investing in incubators and accelerators, expanding relationships with existing partners, hosting and participating in supplier summits, and through partnerships with leading certifying agencies.”
In honor of National Small Business Week, Kroger published its Small Business Resource Guide developed to help brands and producers establish and grow retail partnerships. The free downloadable resource shares best practices on product development, pricing, supply chain, promotion, research and preparation, outreach, and partnership development.
“We believe our recently published Small Business Resource Guide, featuring partnership success spotlights from companies like Cacique, 4Sisters Rice, TrueChoicePack, and True Shea, will be a useful tool for many companies and help us as we continue to seek out new partners and expand existing relationships,” continued Colón.
As a part of Kroger’s commitment to advance diverse partnerships, earlier this year the company hosted its third annual Supplier Inclusion Innovation Summit, inviting 25 suppliers to attend. During the event, participants received coaching from Kroger merchandising, business development, and supplier inclusion leaders and the opportunity to pitch their products. Later this month, Kroger will launch an open call inviting local and regional fresh food producers to participate in its search for new and innovative suppliers.
In addition, Kroger has also recently joined P&G and MORTAR to pilot the Multicultural Entrepreneurship Development program, focusing on enabling entrepreneurs to reach their fullest potential. The multi-month program launched last month and runs through the summer.
“Kroger is elated to welcome, share insights, and present industry-leading business development curriculum as well as learn from the inaugural cohort of 13 local entrepreneurs,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s Chief People Officer. “Stronger diverse businesses create stronger communities and produce greater innovation and collaboration. At Kroger, we remain focused on continuing to grow our business to better serve our associates and customers, so it’s imperative that we continue to find new ways to listen and learn, uplift other businesses, and bring in additional perspectives and products.”
To learn more about Kroger’s latest initiative, click here.
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