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Disney continues support for Black-owned businesses


Supply Chain Accelerator Program

Disney is starting the year strong as they have renewed their pledge to support The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) Supply Chain Accelerator Program (SCAP) for the third consecutive year. This program prepares Black entrepreneurs to do business in the public and private sectors, including with Fortune 500 companies. Disney also expanded their support to sponsor the development of Digital RICE, a virtual platform that will help entrepreneurs nationwide. These newest investments bring Disney’s total contribution to more than $1 million, solidifying the company as the lead sponsor of both initiatives.

“Disney’s commitment to fostering diversity within the business world is incredibly important,” stated Jay Bailey, president and CEO of Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs. “Disney’s sponsorship of RICE not only grants our entrepreneurs unique insights into the company’s operations but also facilitates the expansion of opportunities, at a time when achieving equitable access has never been more imperative.”

Since 2019, RICE has been supporting small businesses in the Atlanta area, but, with the support of Disney, they have plans to expand digital RICE, removing geographic barriers to access the knowledge and expertise offered by RICE programs. Digital RICE will be a dynamic platform meticulously crafted to connect the community and provide comprehensive support for the growth and success of Black-owned businesses, offering tailored assistance, a plethora of resources, and personalized advice.

“In 2023, we built upon our ongoing support of small businesses and organizations like RICE to grow talent, economic impact in the areas we do business, and help develop the workforce of the future,” said Ralph Sagaille, director of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability at The Walt Disney Company. “In 2024, we’ll continue to push towards our goal of spending $1 billion annually with diverse suppliers, benefiting from the fresh perspectives of the small businesses we work with, which helps us constantly evolve and expand the way we do business.”

As part of Disney’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the corporation has made a goal of spending $1 billion annually with diverse suppliers by 2024. This inaugural accelerator program will help RICE stakeholders become competitive with their offers and bids, hopefully resulting in contracts being executed and opportunities expanded. Collaborations like these from socially aware and responsible corporations, like Disney, help close the opportunity gap experienced by many women and minority-owned small businesses.