Stellantis is celebrating March and Women’s History Month, honoring its new MentorWE development program. Developed in partnership with the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, the MentorWE program is designed to prepare women-owned suppliers for future contracting and procurement opportunities while further expanding Stellantis’ support of initiatives to empower diverse suppliers.
“A key competitive differentiator of Stellantis’ commitment to diversity continues to be our leadership in providing new opportunities to grow diverse suppliers,” said Lisa Clark, Stellantis North America VP of supplier risk management. “Modeled after our acclaimed National Black Supplier Development Program, this program brings together like-minded women who bring fresh ideas to advance the automotive industry in a way that only women can.”
MentorWE kicked off in the fall with an initial group of women-owned businesses from diverse industries, including construction, transportation, and marketing. The program offers business development modules taught by Stellantis executives and leading women entrepreneurs, with support from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
A few of the participants included:
- Marshall Sales Inc., CEO Nancy Marshall (Detroit): Distributor of automotive and standard fasteners and installation tools
- Nail-Rite Construction Company, Inc., CEO Kimle Nailer (Detroit): Construction, drywall finishing
- Freedom Construction and Consulting, Inc., CEO Carrie Wilson (Byron Center, Michigan): Construction
- Onyx Enterprise, Inc. CEO Tarolyn Buckles (Detroit): Civil engineering and construction firm
- Jarvis Handling Equipment Co., CEO Susan Smith (Grand Rapids, Michigan): Material handling and industrial equipment distributor
“This program represents the next generation of business development, elevating Women Business Enterprise (WBE) businesses to new levels by combining peer group support, successful WBE and corporate group mentoring, and executive business education and counseling,” said Michelle Richards, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council founder and director. “Stellantis is a valuable partner in this initiative, which will assist WBE businesses to go from incremental to exponential growth as a result.”
More than 12 million women-owned businesses help drive the nation’s economy, representing 40% of all U.S. business. Yet only a quarter of women business owners seek business financing and just 7% receive venture funds for their startups. In 2022, Stellantis sourced more than $1.7 billion to certified women-owned businesses.
The Women of Stellantis business resource group is one of 11 unique groups at the company. They represent a range of affinity communities and provide leadership on many staff networking and development programs, as well as engagement with diverse communities and issues.