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CAMSC’s annual Diversity Procurement Fair

Welcome to CAMSC’s annual Diversity Procurement Fair. It’s a special year for the Fair and our organization, as we both celebrate our 15th anniversary. From our inception in 2004, we realized the importance of creating a Fair where our members can network and work collaboratively towards a future where supplier diversity is a “need to do” and not just a “nice to do.”

Looking back over the last 15 years, we have made significant progress. Our first five years were spent building the business. When celebrating our ten-year anniversary, CAMSC rolled out the Economic Impact Study in Canada and introduced the SD Best Practice Case Studies in Canada. In the last two years, recognizing the synergies of working within industry sectors, we introduced the pharmaceutical industry sector working group, followed most recently by the introduction of the financial industry sector working group. And last year, we surpassed $4 billion in certified corporate member spending with certified diverse suppliers. It has truly been a journey.

It is important to note that progress doesn’t happen by chance. Each new partnership is another step forward for supplier diversity. CAMSC has worked with our members, partners and stakeholders over the years to strategically position and promote its mandate of supplier diversity across all business lines. Our conference theme “Engineering Growth” speaks to the very fact that we recognize that progress doesn’t happen by chance. We have and continue to take strategic steps to advance diversity in the supply chain to benefit Aboriginal and minority owned businesses.

In 2019, we have continued to expand our reach to potential new certified suppliers by becoming a partner of the Black Business Professional Association (BBPA). CAMSC continues to attract new members and suppliers from across the country as the message that supplier diversity is good for business continues to grow. Also let me welcome the Nova Scotia Business Inc. Trade mission participants.

CAMSC has also been instrumental in the formation of the Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada (SDAC).  After holding three joint events in the  Toronto area, we are taking the Alliance across Canada. This year, you can anticipate seeing SDAC in Vancouver as well as Halifax, and last month, CAMSC was invited to speak at the ‘Diversifying the Federal Supply Chain Summit’ in Ottawa. This event focused on creating awareness of Government of Canada and private sector programming to help businesses owned by women, Indigenous, minority, LGBTQ2+, and veterans / persons with disabilities access federal contracting opportunities. This builds upon the work we have done with the City of Toronto to bring greater diversity to the federal government’s procurement process.

CAMSC is also building new partnerships beyond our borders. Last year for the first time, GSDA (the Global Supplier Diversity Alliance) held its own educational workshop within the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) conference. And As a member of the GSDA, CAMSC is a key partner instrumental in facilitating the growth and movement of certified suppliers around the globe, as well as introducing and assisting corporate members as they expand into different geographies.

While 15 years have gone by in a flash, our role in promoting supplier diversity continues to grow. As our members, your support drives everything we do. This Fair is the first major event we hold each year to provide you with the opportunity to make a successful business connections, share ideas, and learn from the workshops, panels and discussions with leaders in supplier diversity leaders.

It sets the stage for the rest of the year and I thank you for attending. Thanks to our luncheon keynote, Isaac Olowolafe Jr., entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of Dream Maker Inc. for discussing the barriers diverse communities face in accessing entrepreneurship opportunities in Canada.

To all our workshop leaders, speakers, sponsors and members, we are grateful for your ongoing commitment to supplier diversity. I look forward to speaking with you each personally over the next two days. Let’s engineer growth together this year.

Cassandra Dorrington
President &  CEO CAMSC