Supplier Connection Celebrates National Small Business Week


IBM Supplier Connection is pleased to commemorate National Small Business Week.

Of course, IBM is a proud supporter of America’s small businesses every week of the year. After all, small businesses are crucial to IBM and IBM is integral to countless small businesses.

Supplier Connection

One of the clearest examples of IBM’s commitment to small businesses is Supplier Connection.

Supplier Connection is a free, cloud-based business-to-business community that facilities the entry of small and diverse firms into the supply chains of Fortune 500 corporations, mid-market companies, and other large organizations.

IBM launched Supplier Connection with the sole mission of helping small businesses grow and create job in the United States.

This mission has been quite successful. Since its founding in 2011, Supplier Connection has grown to include 44 corporate and large organization buyers and these buyers have spent almost $8.5 billion with the small and diverse businesses that have registered on the platform.

IBM Supply Chain

Small businesses are vital to IBM’s own supply chain. In 2016, IBM spent $1.7 billion with the approximately 1,050 small suppliers in its internal supply chain.

Winning a corporate contract is a major boon to a small business. According to a study by the Center for an Urban Future, suppliers to large companies reported revenue growth of more than 250 percent, on average, between one year before and two years after their first corporate contract.

Small businesses that break into corporate supply chains also create jobs. According to the same Center for an Urban Future study, 70 percent of small suppliers added employees between one year before and two years after their first corporate contract — and over half of these firms more than doubled in size!

IBM Products and Services

From cloud services to Watson analytics, countless small business owners also rely on IBM products and services to manage and enhance their firms.

Recognizing that many small businesses lack the access enjoyed by larger companies to important tools and resources, IBM also partnered with the World’s Bank’s International Finance Corporation to create a Small Business Toolkit.


The acquisition of small businesses by large corporations is an essential element of America’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Just this year, IBM purchased Agile 3 Solutions, a small startup that markets a suite of products aimed at helping executives improve their business process efficiencies and understand the cybersecurity vulnerability of their most sensitive company data.

Being acquired by a large corporation can pay huge dividends for small business owners, since corporations typically are willing to pay more for small firms than financial buyers (i.e. private equity or venture capital firms, hedge funds, or high net worth individuals).

Corporations gain by acquiring or leveraging innovative technologies or integrating their best employees.

Talent Incubators

An often overlooked contribution of corporations to entrepreneurship in America is their role as executive and technical incubators.

While the exact percentage of small-business owners with previous corporate experience is unknown, examples abound. For example, the founder and CEO of Agile 3 Solutions spent a decade with IBM.

Small businesses started by those with previous corporate experience also tend to excel. According to a Harvard Business Review study, firms with at least one founder who previously worked at a marque technology company performed 160 percent better than other businesses.

IBM and America’s small businesses: partners for more than a hundred years.