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EqualLevel Is Featured in Government Procurement Magazine

EqualLevel is thrilled to have been featured in the June 2023 cover story of Government Procurement Magazine. Read below for an excerpt from the article:

Government Procurement Magazine Excerpt: June 2023 Edition

There is an increasing interest in small and disadvantaged business participation in public contracting; however, it’s often difficult for small local businesses to compete for government business. In El Paso, Texas, Sandy Grodin created a new office supply business from scratch-El Paso Office Products. Over the past decade, the company boasts $5 million to $6 million in annual sales with 90 percent of their sales volume from local government, K-12 school districts and colleges. With 16 employees, El Paso Office Products has become a successful certified small business. While growing the business, Grodin and his team often compete against large office supply operations and on-line platforms. However, when a large online supplier impressed the local school district with lower prices and on-line catalog, he feared if one local agency went in that direction, then others might follow, causing negative impacts to local businesses. 

Grodin learned this online platform had approached his largest customer, El Paso Independent School District (EPISD), about creating a custom marketplace. The district was impressed by the presentation and promises of low prices. However, before signing on the dotted line, EPISD connected with local vendors about the potential change. 

Grodin met with EPISD’s superintendent and purchasing team, having done his homework. In side-by-side comparisons, he demonstrated his company’s value, local economic benefits and local partnership as a powerful part of their customer service strategy. He was able to offer competitive pricing through an awarded cooperative contract. 

The school district ultimately made the decision to combine all district-approved vendor catalogs, including El Paso Office Products, into one searchable on-line site by partnering with EqualLevel, a flexible e-commerce platform. With no supplier transaction fees or incurred costs for integrating a supplier’s existing e-commerce site, the district found EqualLevel’s platform to have similar advantages as large on-line competitors, but with greater local business focus. Through a special feature, as shoppers placed items in their carts, the EqualLevel Savings Advisor (ELSA) feature suggests best value substitutions, ensuring district purchasers were making the best possible selections. 

According to EqualLevel Founder and CEO Orville Bailey, “This platform gives small businesses and distributors with limited IT capabilities the opportunity to establish a punchout catalog that integrates with most financial systems used by local governments and school districts. This increases the ability for small companies to appear in searches alongside their larger competitors to create an equal playing field.”

The full Government Procurement Magazine article can be found here.


EqualLevel Sponsors Ground-Breaking Black Founders Forum

In 2021, Black entrepreneurs received a record $5.1 billion in venture capital (Crunchbase). Sadly, this number still only accounted for a paltry 1.5 percent of all venture funding for the year. In 2022, with the economic downturn, total venture capital dollars dwindled and Black founders took the brunt with a disproportionately larger drop in investments. “When the U.S. economy has a cold, the Black community has pneumonia,” said Paul Judge, managing partner and co-founder of Atlanta-based Panoramic Ventures. 

PS27 Ventures Hosts Inaugural Black Founders Forum

In an effort to address the alarming trend of underfunding for Black founders, PS27 Ventures will be hosting the inaugural Black Founders Forum in Jacksonville, Florida. The goal of the forum is “to attract and inspire more people to become entrepreneurs and innovators,” said PS27 CEO Jim Stallings. 

EqualLevel Joins Industry Leaders As Bronze Sponsor

When EqualLevel co-founder Orville Bailey first learned of the Black Founders Forum, he was eager for EqualLevel to join industry leaders PwC, Deloitte, and JPMorgan Chase in sponsoring the event. “EqualLevel is passionate about supporting initiatives that provide Black founders and entrepreneurs with opportunities to overcome barriers, unlock their potential, and drive meaningful change,” said Bailey of the sponsorship. An accomplished Black founder in his own right, Bailey is deeply committed to supporting and empowering Black individuals, businesses, and entrepreneurs. Prior to EqualLevel, Bailey co-founded and served as CEO for B2eMarkets, a pioneer and market leader in enterprise eSourcing. In this role, Bailey helped raise over $60 million in venture investment. 

EqualLevel’s DEI Commitment

EqualLevel is steadfast in its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for its employees, clients, and the wider community. The company proudly collaborates with several Black-owned businesses through its eProcurement Marketplace and EqualLevel GO software products. EqualLevel GO, in particular, provides underrepresented suppliers with access to technology that enables their products to achieve the same visibility on eProcurement marketplaces as that of their larger competitors. The platform not only levels the playing field for disadvantaged businesses, but it also helps satisfy supplier diversity requirements for buyers. 

Bailey will join 30 founders, 40 investors, and 350 attendees at the Black Founders Forum, which coincides with Juneteenth. “Founders will learn how to build sustainable businesses that create jobs, positive returns for shareholders, and personal wealth,” said Stallings. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with Black founders and venture capitalists and attend a panel discussion on the Power of Capital. Throughout the conference participants will be able to explore the Entrepreneur and Business Partner Showcase comprising 30 Black-owned companies that will be onsite to showcase their products and services. Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley Senior Client Advisor, will deliver the keynote address, and the event will culminate with a Shark Tank-style pitch competition with five founders competing for a $250,000 venture capital investment.

For more information on the Black Founders Forum, or to get involved, go to https://ps27foundation.org/.

Related reading:

EqualLevel’s work with Black Founder Chris Ellington of GBEX

EqualLevel’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity for its employees, clients, and the wider community 

EqualLevel Co-founder Orville Bailey

EqualLevel’s eProcurement Marketplace

EqualLevel’s GO product

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