Nigerian, Edet Umoafia, wins top Canadian Business Award

Filed under: Career,Headlines,Success Story,Top Story |
Edet Umoafia, of ABC Group giving his acceptance speech.
Edet Umoafia, of ABC Group giving his acceptance speech at CAMSC 10th Anniversary Gala Event – September 24, 2014

Written by New Nigerian Politics

It was celebration galore on September 24th at the 10th Anniversary of Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) gala event where several awards were given to high achieving global business leaders, corporations and small businesses across the country for their exploits in various spheres of business endeavours.

The well attended event held at the Liberty Grand in Toronto brought together business executives from a broad spectrum of the economy, government officials, politicians, Media personalities and sports figures. The evening began with an Aboriginal prayer in acknowledgement of, and deference to the Aboriginal people. This was followed by an opening speech by Cassandra Dorrington, the president of the CAMSC, who welcomed all guests and lauded the achievements of the association in a very short period of time.

She noted how CAMSC had come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2004 to being a formidable association with many corporate sponsors who share its objectives of furthering the course of Aboriginal and Minority owned businesses. CAMSC, she further noted, has been instrumental in leading corporations to spend more than $1.2 billion with Aboriginal and Minority owned businesses since its inception ten years ago. She proudly stated, “CAMSC is proud to announce that since its inception in 2004 and as a direct result of our initiatives, leading corporations in Canada have spent more than 1.2 billion dollars with Aboriginal and Minority owned businesses.”

Dorrington believes that this staggering numbers are clear indication of CAMSC’s commitment to Aboriginal and Minority businesses that have benefited from employment opportunities created by an invigorated supply chain process. In 2013 alone, Aboriginal and Minority suppliers that conducted businesses with the various corporate members of CAMSC had over six thousand full-time employees more than half of whom were Aboriginals and other minorities.

In the course of the evening, seven key awards were given in the following categories; the Supplier of the Year Award went to New Malwa Express, a transportation company founded in 1997 by Gursewak and Narinder Singh. The company began with just three trucks but 17 years later can boast of an impressive fleet of 95 plus trucks and 250 trailers that provide services to General Motors and other companies.

Reps of Canadian Prairie Garden Purees, a Manitoba-based company receiving their award.
Reps of Canadian Prairie Garden Purees, a Manitoba-based company receiving their award.

The CATA Technology Innovation Award was given to Canadian Prairie Garden Purees, a Manitoba-based company founded by Sandy Bay First Nation member, Kelly Beaulieu. This agri-business company provides quality vegetables; berry and legume puree products to food industry in Canada and across the globe.

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Umoafia with CAMSC President, Cassandra Dorrington

 

The only individual award of the evening, Procurement Business Advocate of the Year Award, went to Nigerian-born Edet Umoafia, a Senior Buyer with the ABC Group, a world leader in vertically integrated plastic processing, based in Toronto. Umoafia, as the Lead Coordinator for the ABC Group’s Supplier Diversity Program, was instrumental to the direct involvement of 60 small businesses in CAMSC Diversity Supplier Program.  Through his efforts, 30 of these companies have become CAMSC certified suppliers, providing goods and services to ABC Group which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

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Umoafia (2nd left), poses with other award winners

Through Umoafia’s leadership, certified Aboriginal and Minority Suppliers are not only engaging and competing well with other businesses, they are liaising with large corporations in an effort to garner more opportunities. In his acceptance speech, Umoafia noted,

Umoafia with his lovely wife, Stella.
Umoafia with his lovely wife, Stella.

“I am indeed humbled and encouraged by the kind gesture. I believe this is a thoughtful way of encouraging supporters of supplier diversity, especially, in small, medium and large organizations to be more supportive in promoting and making this commitment sustainable”.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my lovely wife Stella, my daughter Joy, the ABC Group senior management and our Procurement team under the leadership of Michael Quail for leading our team.

Lastly, thank you to CAMSC, ABC Group customers and all certified suppliers and supporters for their dedication and hard work – this award would not be possible without this great association.”

Umoafia (2nd left) with co-workers from ABC Group.
Umoafia (2nd left) with senior staff of the ABC Group – Bernard Rodrigues (1st Left), Packaging Manager, Derrick Phelps, (3rd Left), Deputy President & Chief Strategy Officer and Michael Quail, Director of Purchasing.
Umoafia, wife Stella and Keynote Speaker, Nigerian native Massai Ujiri, President & General Manager of NBA's Toronto Raptors
Umoafia, wife Stella and Keynote Speaker, Nigerian native Massai Ujiri, President & General Manager of NBA’s Toronto Raptors
Umoafia, wife Stella (middle) & a co-worker at ABC Group.
Umoafia, wife Stella (middle) & Kim Thiara, President of Acetronic Industrial Controls, Inc.
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The Tier 1 Champion of Supplier Diversity was given to Flex-N-Gate for its commitment to include CAMSC suppliers to supports its vast operations that involve automobile parts, etc. Flex-N-Gate investment in CAMSC’s certified suppliers increased 120% in just one year, 2012-2013. Additional, Flex-N-Gate prides itself in the fact that it is doing business with 30 CAMSC certified suppliers, a 100% increase in over a very short period of time.

The Collaboration Award went to Accenture for its team approach to the development of suppliers and assuming a mentor-ship role to ensure that these businesses succeed in a very competitive business environment.

The Small Business Award was given to Manitobah Mukluks, is a shoe-making, Aboriginal–owned company, whose primary objective is to build a vibrant global brand that would impact the Aboriginal communities across the country.

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General Motor representative receives “Corporation of the Year” award.

General Motors bagged the Corporation of the Year Award for its long standing commitment of ensuring a global culture of diversity that has aided its ability to make and sell quality and durable vehicles. The company in 2013, spent $210m with CAMSC certified suppliers. This was a 95% increase from the previous year, an indication of its strong contribution to the success of CAMSC suppliers. In addition, GM has enhanced capacity by providing a mentor-ship program and collaborating with CAMSC to obtain supplier’s feedback and host networking sessions.

Massai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors President & GM, giving his Keynote address at CAMSC 10th anniversary gala event
Massai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors President & GM, giving his Keynote address at CAMSC 10th anniversary gala event

In his Keynote Speech, Nigerian native, Massai Ujiri, President and General Manager of NBA’s Toronto Raptors lauded CAMSC for its outstanding work and commitment in strengthening and promoting Aboriginal and Minority businesses. Through his own story of struggles as a student in the US, Ujiri encouraged business owners to stay motivated and excel in their business endeavours, to always believe in themselves to be the best. He spoke of the challenges in managing one of NBA’s youngest franchises and expressed gratitude for the unique opportunity to make the Raptors a strong contender.

Massai Ujiri, Keynote Speaker, receiving a token of appreciation from CAMSC President, Cassandra Dorrington
Massai Ujiri, Keynote Speaker, receiving a token of appreciation from CAMSC President, Cassandra Dorrington
Daphne Sihn, CAMSC Media Coordinator, (1st left), Umoafia, (3rd left), Cassandra Dorrington, CAMSC President (2nd right) and others.
Daphne Shih, CAMSC Director of Sponsorship & Marketing, (1st left), Umoafia, (3rd left), Cassandra Dorrington, CAMSC President (2nd right) and others.
A cross section of the guests at the gala event.
A cross section of the guests at the gala event.

About CAMSC:

CAMSC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of Aboriginal and visible minority communities through business development and employment. CAMSC’s mandate is to identify and certify Aboriginal and minority-owned businesses, and facilitate their access into the supply chain of major corporations in Canada.

Founded by corporate Canada in 2004, CAMSC acts to facilitate access for Aboriginal and minority-owned suppliers who may not previously have been able to penetrate traditional corporate supply chains. In return, corporations are gaining choice, innovation, competitiveness and social license by accessing an underutilized yet growing supplier base in their communities. CAMSC is associated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council in the U.S. For more information, please visit www.camsc.ca.

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