Inaugural Awards Recognize Leaps Forward in Supplier Diversity in Canada

Woman-owned auto supplier to GM among first to clinch business award

TORONTO, Feb. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - ABC Group Inc., one of North America's leading plastic automotive parts suppliers, was recognized last evening with a WEConnect Canada President's Award for its contribution to the great strides forward being made in Canada in opening supply chains to women-owned businesses. The Tier 1 supplier to such automotive giants as General Motors is not only certified as woman-owned (WBE), but also demonstrates its commitment through its own Supplier Diversity program.

"It's time to celebrate the successes achieved by champions of supplier diversity in this country," says Mary Anderson, President, WEConnect Canada, the certifying body of women business enterprises (WBEs). "That's why WEConnect Canada created the Winning Business Awards. Through efforts by our corporate members, partners, and by certified WBEs, as well as the funding support received from Status of Women Canada, a once little-known concept here is now making a measurable difference in the supply chain."

WBE certification is an internationally recognized standard for businesses that are majority- owned (51 per cent), managed, and controlled by a woman, or women, and is widely recognized by multinational and government procurement programs as one of the ways of expanding supplier diversity in their supply chains. Six awards have been created by WEConnect Canada. A second President's Award went to WEConnect Canada regional partner Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) for its success in advancing local engagement of corporations in supplier diversity and specifically for helping the oil and gas industry expand their efforts.

"Since ABC Group was founded in 1974, the company has been committed to diversity in terms of hiring and conducting its day-to-day business," says ABC Group Special Advisor to the President & CEO, Mary Anne Bueschkens. "And our diversity spend has doubled in the past year. While we feel that a diversified supply base offers ABC the benefits of varied ideas and experiences to make us better as a whole, we are thrilled to be recognized for our work in this area." Bueschkens added that currently 28% of certified minority suppliers to the company are WBEs.

"Considering the male domination of the auto industry, that is quite a testament to what ABC is doing," adds Anderson.

"I am honored to present ABC Group with the President's Award for its business success and commitment to supplier diversity," said Reginald E. Humphrey, Supplier Diversity Manager, General Motors, a WEConnect Canada board member. "General Motors is committed to building successful, sustainable, and profitable business relationships and ABC Group is among the top five diverse suppliers to General Motors. It is frankly a bonus to us that a Tier 1 supplier clearly shares our commitment."

Other winners of the inaugural awards, recognized for achieving new business that involved their WBE certification:

WBE Winning Business Award Western Region:  Imprint Plus (www.imprintplus.com)
WBE Winning Business Award OntarioEmergitel Inc. (www.emergitel.com)
WBE Winning Business Award Quebec:  DOC & Associates Inc.
WBE Winning Business Award Eastern Region: Corona College (www.coronacollege.com)

The Awards were presented this week at a special dinner following a WEConnect Canada Workshop, where corporate members gathered to share best practices to implement and expand their supplier diversity program.

About WEConnect Canada
WEConnect Canada is a Canadian non-profit organization that is opening doors to new supply chains. Led by corporate members, it certifies firms that are at least 51 per cent owned, managed and controlled by women and connects them with the growing global demand from corporations and the public sector for diverse and innovative suppliers. An affiliate of WEConnect International, which promotes the leading international certification standard for women-owned businesses to link them to the global supply chain, WEConnect Canada is building on successful models in the U.S. and Europe. Visit www.weconnectcanada.org.

About ABC Group Inc.
ABC Group Inc. is one of North America's top tier one automotive parts suppliers. An award- winning international success story, ABC Group began in 1974 with asingle manufacturing facility in Canada and has grown to become a global manufacturing enterprise. The company employs approximately 5,000 employees and has 24 manufacturing facilities in Canada (Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia), the United States (Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee), Mexico, Brazil, Spain and China, as well as offices in Germany and Japan. For further information about ABC Group Inc., go to www.abcgroupinc.com.

About General Motors Company: Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908 and employs 205,000 worldwide, and does business in 140 countries across the globe. Supplier Diversity at General Motors: General Motors became the first automotive OEM to establish a formal supplier diversity program in 1968. Our mission then remains the same: To develop a competitive diverse supply base that will work with General Motors to design, build and sell the world's best vehicles. At GM, we recognize the positive impact of diverse businesses and their contributions to their communities and our products. Visit www.gm.ca.

SOURCE WEConnect Canada

For further information:

Mary Anderson
416.543.7875
manderson@weconnectcanada.org