PRINCETON, N.J. — Market Performance Group (MPG), ECRM, and RangeMe – along with a panel of judges from across the retail industry – hosted their first ever Diverse Supplier Accelerator Program on Thursday, July 14th.
The purpose of this program is to help accelerate distribution and sales for diverse suppliers and entrepreneurs by providing awardee-specific pro-bono support/services/expertise to guide and develop their businesses. The program kicked off early May and over 600 suppliers submitted products for consideration. After reviewing more than 12,000 product submissions against a set of pre-determined criteria, the MPG, ECRM, and RangeMe teams chose 12 finalists to compete in a Shark Tank-style competition which took place on July 14th.
This virtual competition included 20-minute “pitches” from each of the 12 finalists, whose products span a variety of categories, including health & wellness, personal care, general merchandise, and consumables. These finalists shared their individual Founder Story journeys, how they are making a difference by filling gaps in the marketplace with their innovative products, and how winning this competition would allow them to elevate and scale their businesses in much greater proportions and in more meaningful ways. Suppliers represented a wide range of diverse certifications, including women-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned, service-disabled veteran owned, and ethnic minority-owned businesses.
In advance of the competition, judges received an assortment of samples from each company, which helped them to “get acquainted” with each finalist product. The judges were inspired with each presentation, and the decision to award two winners was challenging indeed. After much discussion and deliberation, the judges chose two winners:
Each of these winners were awarded MPG services valued at $100,000, which will be tailored to their specific needs as determined collaboratively through MPG’s onboarding process. Potential services for suppliers could include strategy and business consulting, sales services representation at retail, business analytics and insights, consumer marketing and retail activation, or 3PL and order to cash services.
“We often get to hear pitches from suppliers who are vying for shelf space,” said Kate Weaver, Supplier Diversity Manager for Peapod Digital Labs (Ahold Delhaize USA). “But this group represented savvy business owners who all know what it will take to get to the next level – representation, analytics, as well as marketing and logistics support.”
“It was an honor to serve as a Judge for the MPG-ECRM-RangeMe Diverse Supplier Accelerator Program”, said Anthony Eagelton, Vice President at Market Performance Group. “The stories and passion behind every pitch were inspirational and energizing. Our winners exemplify those qualities and are determined to make their vision a reality.”
“Thank you to MPG, ECRM, and RangeMe for using your platforms and assets to make a difference in the diverse supplier community,” said Michael Byron, Business Diversity Consultant. “It was a privilege to serve as a Judge and the opportunity to partner in advancing economic inclusion.”
“Winning MPG’s pitch competition was an incredible moment for the business”, said Myles Powell, CEO of 8 Myles, Inc. “It further validates our vision and I am extremely excited to work with the MPG team!”
“I’m so glad I came across the competition to compete for a chance to be part of the Diverse Supplier Development Program,” stated Beth Fynbo, CEO of Busy Baby LLC. “After two years of triple-digit growth, we’ve hit a bit of a wall in our eCommerce channel. Additionally, we are overwhelmed by the amount of work required as we begin to enter the retail ‘Big Box’ space. There couldn’t be a better time for us to learn and grow with the help from MPG!”