Tackling Disparities in Business Ownership: AmeriHealth Caritas' Diverse Business Investments Help Minority-Owned Businesses in PA
Mentoring and Supplier Diversity programs support diverse businesses; investment increases 87% over five years
According to Pennsylvania's 2018 Disparity Study, which includes analyses of the diverse businesses in prime contracts and subcontracts, the state is seeing an increase in total spend with diverse businesses. But despite the progress that minorities and women have made with regard to business ownership, the report points out that stubborn barriers remain in starting and expanding businesses.
AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care and other health care solutions for those most in need, has experienced success from two programs that are targeted to help diverse businesses access education, capital, start-up resources, and the guidance of other successful business owners — the areas that the Disparity Report identifies as obstacles for minorities in starting businesses.
Its Mentor Protégé business coaching program, which began in 2010, and its Supplier Diversity program, which began in 1993, have increased AmeriHealth Caritas' investment in Pennsylvania diverse businesses by 87 percent during a five-year period from 2013 to 2017, enabling many diverse firms in the Keystone state to grow and prosper. AmeriHealth Caritas' increase in procurement trended at an ever higher rate in 2018.
About 21 percent of the company's $128 million investment in PA local goods and services in 2017 – more than $26 million – went to companies owned by minorities, women, veterans and people with disabilities. Since 2013, procurement from diverse businesses has grown at a faster rate, 87 percent, than overall procurement, which has grown by 20 percent.
AmeriHealth Caritas Chairman and CEO Paul Tufano said diversity and inclusion is integral to the AmeriHealth Caritas procurement process because it strengthens the connection to the communities the company serves.
"We are committed to working with diverse suppliers that reflect the diversity of our members," he said. "Our Supplier Diversity program helps ensure that we invest the time to help businesses become stronger, more vibrant business partners. And, in turn, they invest in the local communities that we serve. This commitment to diversity is part of our DNA and is activated in other programs in our company, such as hiring and professional development."
Ronald Baldwin, AmeriHealth Caritas' director of supplier management and diversity, said the managed care organization understands the value of diverse businesses and the impact their success can have on the local economy.
"Their growth translates to more jobs and puts them in a position to further support AmeriHealth Caritas and other businesses in the community," Baldwin said.
The managed care organization supports efforts by the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) to certify small businesses that wish to participate as Minority, Woman, Veteran, Service Disabled Veteran, LGBT, and Disability-Owned Business Enterprises through the state's Small Diverse Businesses program.