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    Retailers Recognized for Supplier Diversity

    Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Shell make list of America's Top Corporations for Women's Business Enterprises.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Shell Oil Co. were all recognized by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) in its annual listing of America's Top Corporations for Women's Business Enterprises, a national award honoring corporations for world-class supplier diversity programs.

    The 2006 award, announced yesterday, recognizes a total of 16 corporations for their companywide programs offering equal access for women's business enterprises in competing for, and winning, corporate contracts for goods and services. Chevron has received this award seven times. Shell has won five times, according to a statement from WBENC.

    "These companies are leaders in enriching the value chain by working with innovative and highly-competitive women's business enterprises," said WBENC Interim President Linda Denny. "By leveling the playing field for women's businesses across their organizations, they are rewarded with outstanding products and services that benefit their customers and their shareholders."

    The America's Top Corporations for Women's Business Enterprises breakfast and awards presentation will take place on Friday, March 30, in Dallas.

    A 2006 benchmarking study commissioned by WBENC and conducted by the Center for Women's Business Research found that women-owned businesses are beating the industry average in keeping and growing corporate contracts. The results revealed that 40 percent of WBENC's corporate members increased their spending by at least 10 percent over the last three years with women-owned firms, compared with 24 percent of corporate members who increased their spending with suppliers overall.

    The study also found that women's business enterprises were also losing less when budgets are cut or the supply chain tightened. On average, 24.5 percent of corporations decreased their spending with suppliers, but only 14 percent cut contracts with women-owned providers, the study said.

    There are 7.7 million majority-women-owned firms, or those with 51 percent ownership by women, employing 7.1 million people and generating $1.1 trillion in sales, according to the Center for Women's Business Research. Over the past two decades, majority-women-owned firms have continued to grow at around two times the rate of all firms.

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