BellSouth is One of ‘America’s Top Corporations for Multicultural Business Opportunities’

BellSouth Corporation (NYSE: BLS) has been selected one of “America’s Top Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities 2004.” This is the third straight year that BellSouth has made the list.

BellSouth is ranked 6th, making it the highest-ranking telecommunications company on the list. Also known as the Div 50, this fifth annual listing produced by DiversityBusiness.com, ranks top corporations for promoting business opportunities for woman- and minority owned firms. In 2002, BellSouth debuted at #29 and last year, moved up to #10.

“We are extremely proud to again receive this recognition,” said Tim Houghton, BellSouth vice president and chief procurement executive. DiversityBusiness.com solicited over 350,000 minority and woman entrepreneurs for this poll. The voting business owners based their decisions on such factors as the volume, consistency, and quality of business opportunities granted to women and minority-owned companies.

“It makes us especially proud to know that we received this honor as a result of a voting process by business owners,” Houghton added.

The development of minority-, woman-, and disabled veteran owned business enterprises (MWDVBE) is a major piece of BellSouth’s overall inclusion and diversity strategy. The corporation’s supplier diversity program was initiated in 1984 to ensure that it included small, minority and woman owned businesses in the procurement process. Between 2000 and 2003, BellSouth spent over $2 billion with MWDVBE suppliers, who saw their “market share” of the company’s procurement budget increase by 82%.

“BellSouth believes that fostering MWDVBE suppliers helps build prosperous communities, which in turn, helps build a stronger BellSouth,” said BellSouth Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Valencia Adams.

BellSouth and the other winning companies will be honored at a special awards ceremony at DiversityBusiness.com’s 5th Annual Multicultural Business Conference, taking place March 30 – April 1, 2005 at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

BellSouth has received numerous awards this year in the area of supplier diversity including Corporation of the Year in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi; Executive of the Year in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi; and the Crystal award in Georgia. These were all honors awarded by affiliate councils of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Deberah Stone, corporate supplier diversity manager, was honored as national MBE Coordinator of the Year by the NMSDC. BellSouth also received the Corporation of the Year and Advocate of the Year awards from the Georgia Women’s Business Council.

For more information on supplier diversity at BellSouth,
visit http://www.bellsouth.com/suppliers.

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