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United Airlines to Provide Sponsorship to 50 Minority-Owned Colorado Businesses

United Airlines announced, along with the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council (Mountain Plains MSDC), the airline will sponsor 50 Denver-area minority-owned businesses. United’s sponsorship will help these businesses pursue their Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). NMSDC’s certification is considered the gold standard in supplier diversity and provides certified minority-owned businesses access to privately held and public sector buyers, government entities and educational institutions to help support and grow their businesses.

The sponsorships provided by United will cover all costs for these businesses to enroll in a six-week business development certificate program led by the University of Nebraska and the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council. The airline will be sponsoring businesses with sales revenue of less than $1 million. The first sponsorships will be awarded beginning this month.

“Our communities are enriched when small businesses thrive and it’s important that minority-owned businesses are part of that equation,” said Janet Lamkin, United’s senior vice president of market and community innovation. “We are pleased to award sponsorships to these local businesses and offer access to tools that are designed to help them succeed. United will be looking for ways to utilize the services of some of these businesses in the future as we continue to focus on growing our own supplier diversity programs.”

An MBE certificate provides businesses with exclusive resources that assist with business growth, such as access to corporate purchasing agents, networking events, supplier databases and consulting services.

“We are proud to partner with United, the first airline to work with our organization,” said Belinda Hooks, market president of the Mountain Plains MSDC. “Less than three percent of minority-owned businesses have revenue of over $1 million and corporate support is vital to increase sales growth for these businesses. United’s partnership will greatly help to accelerate minority-owned small business certification and ultimately give opportunity for more of these businesses to grow.”

Founded in 1974, the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council provides corporations with greater access to the goods and services of minority-owned businesses to develop lasting and mutually beneficial business relationships.

United has committed $75,000 to the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council in 2021, with $60,000 going towards the sponsorship of the 50 businesses to receive their MBE certification. The organizations will continue to work together to address the needs of certifying minority-owned businesses.

“United’s Business Diversity Program aims to ensure that certified diverse-owned businesses can compete to provide products and services within United’s extensive supply chain,” said Rona Fourte, United’s senior manager of business diversity. “The airline uses suppliers and vendors of all backgrounds and sizes as key business partners.”