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To support diverse-owned small businesses, Albertsons has partnered with C2FO, an online platform for working capital; ECRM/RangeMe, an online product discovery platform; and Quantum, an e-procurement and diversity spend management platform.

Albertsons bolsters supplier diversity program

Vendor alliances aid small-business discovery, access to capital

Albertsons Cos. has expanded its supplier diversity program with the launch of several new vendor partnerships supporting the company’s commitment to racial equity.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons said Wednesday that it has bolstered its early payment program by partnering with C2FO, a secure online platform for working capital. The supermarket retailer, the nation’s second-largest, noted that access to working capital is one of the highest hurdles for small businesses.

Albertsons’ supplier diversity program applies to organizations that are over 50% owned and controlled/operated by a U.S. citizen and one of the following population groups: African-American; Asian-American; Hispanic; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT); Native American; service-disabled veterans; and women.

“Albertsons Cos. is dedicated to helping our communities lay the foundation for racial equity,” Jonathan Mayes, senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Albertsons, said in a statement. “We’re taking these steps as part of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our company and the businesses we choose to partner with so that we reflect the wonderfully diverse communities we serve.”

According to Alexander Kemper, founder and CEO of Kansas City-based C2FO, the goal is to provide funding to qualified, diverse-owned suppliers at significantly lower rates, in turn making access to working capital more equitable.

“Accelerated payment of receivables is essential for all businesses in need of greater liquidity, but especially for those that may be underrepresented and underfunded in our current financial system,” Kemper explained. “We want to position these diverse suppliers for long-term success and can start by offering the working capital needed to grow and stay strong in this difficult economic climate. We are honored to join Albertsons Cos. in their ongoing efforts to support the partners and communities it serves.”

In addition, Albertsons said it plans to work with ECRM, RangeMe and Quantum to broaden its supplier base. To that end, ECRM and its RangeMe unit will help identify small, innovative and diverse suppliers via the RangeMe online product discovery platform. Quantum, an e-procurement and diversity spend management solution, will be used to enhance Albertsons’ ability to identify diverse-owned and operated suppliers.

Earlier this month, Albertsons hosted a summit with more than 130 diverse suppliers interested in doing business with the company.

“We believe our partnerships with these vendors will give us the tools we need to expand our supplier diversity in all areas of our business,” Mayes added. “We hope it will also make it easier for diverse suppliers to work with us.”

Overall, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. operates 2,277 retail stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under such banners as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market. The company’s operations also include 1,727 pharmacies, 400 associated fuel centers, 22 distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities.

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