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Technology Partnerships — Developing Small Minority Suppliers for the 21st Century


Audrey Goins Brichi
Audrey Goins Brichi, Manager, Supplier Diversity / Small Business Programs, Chevron Corporation, San Ramon, CA (925) 842-2022,,
Darlene L. McKinnon
Darlene L. McKinnon, Deputy District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration, San Francisco, CA 94105, (415) 744-8475,,

86th Annual International Conference Proceedings - 2001 

Abstract. Doing "business as usual" is no longer acceptable. Mergers, acquisitions, bundling, leveraged services, and electronic commerce require small businesses to have advanced skills to deliver goods and services to technology-savvy consumers, large businesses and government organizations. This presentation will describe specific tools to help small businesses achieve these goals. Chevron Corporation and the Small Business Administration have partnered to provide continuing assistance to suppliers allowing them to obtain skills and learn processes that will increase their overall effectiveness and value to the supply chain. Their initial partnership focused on delivery of basic skills through a facility-based Entrepreneur Center. Businesses could develop marketing plans, web sites, financial plans and other basic tools.

The relationship has moved to the next level with an increased focus on technology, and electronic commerce. This is in response to the growing need to help small, minority businesses keep pace with the changing face of business. Presenters will describe (a) a new model of delivery of technology services to small businesses and (b) provide concrete examples of ways that other large businesses and government agencies can provide similar assistance in their districts. A complete bibliography of resources will also be provided to assist those interested in developing suppliers or enhancing their own supplier diversity / small business procurement processes.

Background. Chevron has supported small business training and outreach in partnership with the U. S. Small Business Administration for the past 4 years. Chevron and other corporate partners including, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Compaq, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems have provided equipment, training support and marketing outreach at the SBA's Entrepreneur Center located at 455 Market Street — San Francisco. The SBA expanded its outreach to the Silicon Valley with the launch of a new Entrepreneur Center in downtown San Jose in early October 2000. Current partners include the City of San Jose, Cisco Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Bank of America, United Parcel Service and others. Chevron has launched several technology-based exchanges in year 2000 including Petrocosm, Retailers Market Exchange, Silicon Valley Oil Company and others. This partnership allows small business owners, Chevron suppliers and dealers to acquire the skills necessary to effectively participate in these partnerships.

An Expanded Training Model — Technology at the Forefront. The Cisco SBA Entrepreneur Center uses an enhanced training model that brings many facets of support for Small Business under one roof. SBA provides its full array of programs and services while ethnic chambers of commerce, corporations, on-site lenders, and non-profit organizations all work to provide state of the art training and support. A full suite of programs are available including:

  • Financing Programs — Microloans — conventional financing, commercial real estate financing and venture capital
  • Technical Assistance — expert counseling and consulting for entrepreneurs and established small and growing businesses.
  • Technology — education on Internet Technology
  • Procurement Assistance — public and private procurement and certification programs
  • International Trade — trade information and training, counseling and certification programs

Chevron's Stake in the Program — An Example of Success. Chevron has identified e-business strategy development as a key priority for success. Energy Network, an e-publication of the Energy Intelligence Group cited examples of the Company's leadership and initiative in the areas of procurement and venture capital. In November 2000, Smart Business Magazine picked 50 companies that leverage technology by making sense of the Internet. Chevron ranked number 13.

Chevron plans to offer focused training sessions that will leverage the strengths of its own internal programs — Chevron Retailers Alliance, Chevron Business Electronic Support Tools, Chevron University — and those of the partners at the Entrepreneur Center.

Chevron's involvement in the Entrepreneur Center will allow small businesses to more effectively use the tools provided by these trends. This model represents the new wave in training where partners with different but significant strengths come together for a common purpose — training and economic empowerment of the Small Business Community.


The following selected resources may be valuable to those interested in providing additional technical resources to small businesses. Given the focus on providing high tech information — resources are listed as website URLs in addition to traditional bibliographical entries:

  • Advertising Supplement, SBA Cisco Systems San Jose Entrepreneur Center — Fortune Small Business Magazine, October, 2000

  • Pike, David "Chevron Gets Ventures Up Running Fast — Internal Work Paves the Way" Energy Network, July 25, 2000

  • — URL for the Entrepreneur Center. Contains detailed information about the Center, its programs, sponsors, and mission

  • — website for the Small Business Administration. Information on SBA 's national network of programs including certification, lending, training is featured.

  • — website for the Cisco Internet Development Center. Cisco is one of the lead sponsors of the Entrepreneur Center and host of the Internet Development Center. Online, self paced courses help small businesses learn strategies and how to maximize business opportunities using electronic commerce, and Internet technology.

  • — FSB, Fortune Small Business Magazine, is dedicated to covering all the concerns of the small business market

  • — BAAGGL (the Bay Area Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders) has a long-standing successful partnership between its Lenders, Associates and the Small Business Administration, which is focused on Small Business Lending. The organization provides training and information to SBA Lenders and in turn greater access to SBA loans by small business

  • — RetailersMarket Exchange (RMX) is the industry's premier Web-based, business-to-business open marketplace for convenience-store retailers, small-business retailers and their suppliers.

  • — a global, independent e-marketplace linking buyers and suppliers of oil and gas products and services through real time transactions across the supply chain.

  • — Energy Network is an e-publication of the Energy Intelligence Group. It provides clear and intelligent assessment of the impact of the electronic revolution on the energy business.

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