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Check Your Webster's

There's a new definition for 'minority-owned business.'

The definition of a minority-owned firm has come under some scrutiny lately, due to a controversial move by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).

NMSDC asked its board of directors to allow firms to be considered minority-owned despite non-minority ownership of up to 70 percent of their non-voting stock, giving rise to enough controversy that the board agreed to postpone its decision until late this month. "There was initially erroneous publicity about the proposal," says NMSDC executive director Harriet Michel, "and we've been trying to combat that."

Under the proposal, minority-owned firms would maintain daily control of the companies, 51 percent of the voting equity and a majority on the board. Each request would be decided individually. However, opponents say the new requirements will open the door for businesses only fronted by minorities and allow corporations to meet diversity goals by giving contracts to a few large "minority-owned" firms, leaving smaller companies out in the cold.

For more information, visit the NMSDC Web site at http://www.nmsdcus.org

Contact Source

National Minority Supplier Development Council, (212) 944-2430, http://www.nmsdcus.org

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Check Your Webster's.

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