Microsoft Announces Phase One of Supplier Diversity Program

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 30, 2002 — Using the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NMSDC) 2002 Conference and Business Opportunity Fair as a backdrop, Microsoft Corp. today announced the first phase of its supplier diversity program, including an unprecedented $3 million loan to the Business Consortium Fund (BCF) and a multiyear food-service contract with Compass Group North America and Thompson Hospitality Corp. worth $50 million to $70 million per year.

According to Don Jones, general manager of Microsoft®
Worldwide Procurement, this announcement represents the company’s commitment to develop and empower a core of diverse suppliers.
“Microsoft is working aggressively to encourage and support business enterprises of minorities, women and disabled persons in realizing their potential through our various outreach initiatives,”
Jones said.
“We recognize that drawing from a pool of diverse suppliers makes us a more agile corporation. These initiatives are the first step in helping us realize our potential as an industry leader in supplier diversity.”

Jones also offered details about the $3 million BCF loan, which is the single-largest infusion of corporate funds in the BCF’s 18-year history. The Business Consortium Fund provides access to capital to minority business enterprises (MBEs) certified by the NMSDC that are unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through traditional lending channels. The BCF offers a variety of financing programs, including those to help with contracts, accounts receivable and equipment financing. It also provides working capital loans, term loans, international trade financing and equity-based funding.

The goal of the Microsoft loan is to empower businesses to realize their potential, according to G. Winston Smith, Microsoft’s director of supplier diversity.
“Microsoft’s loan to the Business Consortium Fund will enable budding and established minority business enterprises to finance inventory, purchase necessary equipment and install a technology infrastructure, making them more competitive, efficient and attractive to major corporations seeking diverse suppliers,”
Smith said.

“Microsoft’s generous investment shows its commitment to and understanding of minority businesses’ No. 1 need: capital to fuel growth,”
said Harriet R. Michel, president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
“Microsoft’s support sends a strong signal that minority supplier development can have a positive long-term impact on minority communities and the nation as a whole.”

Thompson Hospitality, which posted over $102 million in earnings last year, is one of the nation’s largest minority-owned contract food-service companies. Thompson strategically partnered with Compass Group North America in 1998, and it is through this partnership that Microsoft awarded the multiyear contract worth $50 million to $70 million per year. Compass Group and Thompson Hospitality will jointly manage the food-service operations for Microsoft. In addition, they will provide full event management for Microsoft’s Conference Services, including a 143,000-square-foot conference center in Redmond, Wash.

Ron Ouellette, director of Microsoft Corporate Services, said this deal promises more than a diverse dining experience for Microsoft’s 35,000 employees on their Washington, Texas, North Carolina, California and North Dakota campuses.
“This is a great opportunity for diverse suppliers in our community to provide goods and services through our food-services operations,”
Ouellette said.
“Moreover, our employees will experience an increase in diverse menu options.”

“We are very excited about this transaction because it represents a high-growth company deciding that including a minority company clearly adds value to an existing relationship,”
said Warren M. Thompson, president and chairman of Thompson Hospitality.
“It gives Thompson a stronger presence and clear access to Microsoft, a leader in the technology industry.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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