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Fostering a Strong Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

04-Apr 27, 2021

The CoMo Supplier Diversity Program offers business assistance to minority- and women-owned businesses. The Supplier Diversity Program is one way REDI helps grow startup businesses and fosters a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem across Mid-Missouri.

The Supplier Diversity Program, directed by James Whitt, has a strategic priority to build a strong and vibrant minority, women’s, and disadvantaged business community that can compete for work and thrive throughout Mid-Missouri. A strong and growing minority- and women-owned business ecosystem will provide good living wage jobs for workers and help reduce unemployment rates and lift more of our families out of poverty.

As our community continues to grow and become more diverse, it is imperative that we recognize the expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, and the economic contribution Mid-Missouri will receive from minority- and women-owned businesses and the value these businesses will provide to the overall success of our community.

“We help each business differently depending on their needs,” James says.

Depending on those needs, the Supplier Diversity Program can connect businesses to the Missouri Women’s Business Center and Small Business Administration. Minority- and women-owned businesses can also access REDI’s entrepreneurial programs, including the Innovation Hub and business coaching.

“The Supplier Diversity Program removes barriers for minority- and women-owned businesses by giving them the resources they need to succeed and compete in government and private-sector economic development,” James says.

Beyond providing business resources, the Supplier Diversity Program also manages the City of Columbia’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Directory. The directory includes a list of minority- and women-owned businesses in Columbia. Users can filter their search by industry at MWBE.COMO.Gov.

As entrepreneurship continues to be a growing facet of economic development in the local economy, the Supplier Diversity Program helps support the creativity and innovation of minority- and women-owned businesses. To learn more about the Supplier Diversity Program, contact James Whitt at (573) 441-5544 or

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