Sodexo North America
Small and medium enterprises, or SMEs, are the engines of economies all over the world. In developing nations, they often account for more than 60 percent of the gross national product and more than 70 percent of total employment. In the U.S., 28 million small businesses account for 54 percent of all sales in the country.
Those are impressive numbers, but when it comes to SMEs, the big stories are the small ones. The stories of people like Kelly Beaulieu, the aboriginal founder of Prairie Garden Purees in Canada.
When Sodexo began purchasing vegetable purées from Kelly’s Aboriginal women-owned business, Kelly didn’t just get a customer, she got mentoring, training and resources to help her business grow.
Sodexo’s marketing department guided and supported Kelly with pricing and marketing point-of-sale materials. Our corporate chef developed recipes using her purées in recipes such as soups, smoothies and hummus before connecting her with a food broker to bring her line into the food distribution channels that Sodexo operators buy from. She was also coached on food safety standards set by the third-party auditors that decide which foods are approved for purchasing, helping her to launch into larger markets.
Sodexo has programs to support and mentor SMEs in 30 countries around the world. It’s all a part of a commitment to not just buy from SME suppliers but to help them grow.
We think that’s important. All over the world, these small businesses provide income for families and increase quality of life in the communities they serve. One third of the world’s SMEs are run by women, and promoting equal opportunities for women and men is an important part of strengthening the economies and communities where we work. The backing of a big brand like Sodexo can make an outsize difference to small suppliers like Kelly.
Buying from SMEs is often better for our customers, too. Buying from small, local farmers allows us to serve customers fresher, healthier food. Across North America, more than 1,400 small farms provide local, seasonal produce to nearby Sodexo sites, and more than 1,437 small dairy farms provide 37.4 million gallons of locally sourced, rbst-free milk.
Sodexo makes it a priority to purchase food it serves and products it uses from SMEs. In 2014, Sodexo committed to purchasing $1 billion in products and services globally over three years from micro, small, and medium sized enterprises, especially those owned and operated by women. It’s a commitment that is expected to benefit 5,000 small businesses around the world by 2017.
Do you have a similar experience as Kelly with Sodexo’s SME supply chain program? If so, please share your experiences below.
Learn more about Sodexo’s supply inclusion program.