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The conversation was all about business at The Institute’s 2016 Executive Networking Conference, highlighting the theme: Striving and Thriving in a Value-Based Business Ecosystem—featuring a panel discussion about business opportunities between the private sector with statewide leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). ENC 2016 was hosted by The Institute, Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council, and Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. at The Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 14-16. The conference included a Wednesday evening welcome reception, daylong business workshops and panels on Thursday, and a series of discussions about HBCU business opportunities on Friday.

Program topics included: Diversity Matters and featured diverse speakers from the National Minority Supplier Development Council, U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, National Association for Latino Community Asset Building, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, IBM, Coca-Cola, Johnson Controls, General Motors and Merck. Mr. Cassius Butts of the Small Business Administration presented the keynote speech during a luncheon, and awards were presented on Thursday evening at the annual Willie Deese CEO Dinner, which honored corporate and community leadership in business.

Farad Ali, president and CEO of The Institute, said, “ENC 2016 provided a platform to engage attendees regarding business opportunities and real business solutions. Over the years, we’ve invested a lot of time and energy highlighting the challenges of business growth, and this year we wanted to offer viable and profitable solutions that support economic development for diverse businesses, and nurture and grow a value-based business environment for our participants.”

enc2016 dkpigues dvp

ENC 2016 presenter D. Keith Pigues discusses Differential Value Propositions during the conference.

In alignment with the conference theme of Value-Based Business, ENC presenter D. Keith Pigues shared with participants that Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) must create what he referred to as a DVP (Differential Value Proposition). The DVP is an objective way of showing customers how their product/service outperforms competition by either increasing revenues or decreasing expenses, thereby increasing operating profit. Pigues said, “DVP measures how much incremental operating profit a company makes by doing business with one company over another company.”

Pigues also shared the following information:

  • For M/WBE firms, the only true means to success is by creating additional value for customers.
  • Given the pressure on corporate entities to remain competitive in the marketplace, corporations are less likely to do business with M/WBEs for social purposes, and are making more and more decisions based on a true value proposition.
  • M/WBEs must increasingly create strategies to be on the affirmative side of increasing value for corporate customers, and must be able to quantify the value they add.
  • To determine a DVP, M/WBEs must first understand how their customers make money:
    • Market/Industry Research
    • Talking to potential customers
    • Understanding unique customers’ business process
  • M/WBEs must convince customers of their DVP versus the competition:
    • Design offer product/services that improve customers’ revenues/operating profits
    • Be able to communicate increased value (in dollars) to potential customers in an objective, succinct and mutually accepted manner
  • Implementation of a DVP into a company will help the business “Survive and Thrive in a Value-Based Ecosystem.”

For decades, The Institute has been the voice and advocate for economic development within diverse business communities. For more information, visit; engage in the social media conversation using #ENC2016 and follow @TheInstituteNC on Twitter and Facebook.

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