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InnoCentive and the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council Collaborate to Drive Innovation Among Minority Business Owners

InnoCentive, Inc., the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, and the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council (The Council), today announced a Challenge seeking to identify innovative products and services that drive sustainability, create supply chain efficiencies, and benefit urban and rural communities and business owners. This Challenge offers Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBEs) and diverse organizations looking to highlight their innovation, build capacity, and develop supplier relationships with large publically traded corporations, as well as public sector agencies, an opportunity to gain local and national exposure and drive new business opportunities. The Challenge is open through July 30, 2012 to any business that fulfills the Challenge requirements, and carries an award of $10,000.

Within many of today’s large corporations, sustainability, supply chain, workforce and supplier diversity, and corporate citizenship efforts are fragmented. Government and public sector agencies are no less disjointed and also tend to put undue emphasis on engaging diverse vendors instead of focusing on identifying those vendors with the most innovative products. There is, therefore, a critical need to encourage and support corporations and government in identifying and using innovative products and services from emerging domestic market vendors, as well as reward their sustainability efforts and recognize their impact on job creation.

In an effort to showcase innovative and sustainable products and services, The Council – which serves as an advocate for MBEs and global corporate members, including more than 200 of the Fortune 500 – partnered with InnoCentive on this Challenge, titled The 2012 Sustainability Summit Innovation Challenge – Driving Sustainability & Diversity. Conceived and developed by Kevin V.G. Wells, General Counsel and Director of Compliance for The Council, the Challenge is open to both certified MBEs and other businesses that meet the Challenge requirements. Submitted solutions will be evaluated by judges from sponsor companies, including Ernst & Young, IBM, AIG, THiNKGREEN! Global Advisors and The New York Times. Winners will be announced at The Council’s Sustainability Summit in New York City on October 9, 2012.

“We’re very excited to launch this Challenge with InnoCentive. This highly respected company has a proven track record of engaging innovative Solvers who impact the economy and social justice globally. Now, each and every vendor within The Council’s realm has the opportunity to be recognized as part of this distinguished group,” said Wells. “It allows many diverse suppliers not currently on the sustainability radar screens of government and corporate purchasers to showcase their products and services. Additionally, it expands the options not previously available for our corporate members to build efficient supply chains, while also meeting their corporate social responsibility goals. In fact, participants need not win the Challenge to benefit, since all compelling Solver submissions will be posted on our Sustainability Summit website as a resource for benchmarking and strategic partnering.”

As an adjunct to this Challenge, Solvers are urged to upload one minute videos of their ideas. While not an official component of Solvers’ solutions, and not required to be considered as a winner of this Challenge, the video winners will be showcased at the Sustainability Summit.

“Spurring sustainable and diverse commercial activity in every community and among every population is key to the economic health of our country,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “Connecting innovative small and medium businesses to large corporate decision makers is essential to job growth and the expansion of our economy. The Council’s inclusive approach to showcasing not only the Challenge winners, but all valid entries, is a tremendous opportunity for all participants including, our Solvers and corporate sponsors alike.”

About The Council

The Council, an award-winning affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, certifies Asian-American, African American, Hispanic-American and Native-American-owned businesses to be eligible to compete for major corporate contracts. The Council has over 200 corporate members, encompasses Fortune 500 corporations, educational institutions and government agencies including New York State, New York City, and the State of New Jersey. The Council jurisdiction spans from New York to Trenton, New Jersey. Currently, there are approximately 1,300 New York and New Jersey minority-owned businesses with annual revenues from $100,000 to $2 billion that are certified by The Council. For more information, contact The Council at 212-502-5663 or www.nynjmsdc.org.

About InnoCentive

InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, network of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly & Company, Life Technologies, NASA, Nature Publishing Group, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster, more cost effectively, and with less risk than ever before. For more information, visit www.innocentive.com or call 1-855-CROWDNOW.

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