CINCINNATI -- Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA) held its 21st Opportunity Exchange (OE) event at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati today.
A 1,700 person event was kicked-off by Toyota veteran Wil James, newly appointed president of Toyota's Kentucky plant and several special guests including Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr.
Opportunity Exchange, one of the largest minority business events in the country, facilitates a networking business environment between minority business enterprises (MBEs) from across the country and Toyota's direct suppliers free of cost. To date, the event has resulted in over $160 million worth of new contracts for minority-owned businesses as a result of the event.
"Toyota's event provides a one of a kind opportunity for minority businesses such as ours to meet face to face with key representatives from Toyota's direct suppliers," stated Jacklyn Salazar, president of Inteligente Solutions, a minority leading Hispanic-owned, national staffing organization in Livonia, Michigan. "In our case, we partnered with a supplier who is able to keep jobs in-state while diversifying its supply chain."
Toyota's Opportunity Exchange has grown from 100 over the last 20 years. It has helped generate new business for MBEs but it also continues to help direct suppliers diversify their own supply base.
"We are always searching for new MBEs that can help Toyota and our Tier I partners add value and innovation to our products and services," stated Tetsuo Agata, president and COO of TEMA. "Diversifying our supply chain has been a company priority for quite some time because we understand the need for developing a supply team which reflects our customers and team members."