Calling all Brooklyn women and minority-owned businesses: The owner of the Barclays Center wants to know you.
BSE Global, the parent company of the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center and NY Liberty, has just launched a Supplier Diversity Program to give more women and minority-owned businesses the opportunity to become suppliers for its teams and arena.
The company is searching for local suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by people who are either minorities, women, disabled, LGBTQ and/or military veterans.
Applications are now open for the program online. Each applicant will be considered for the BSE Vendor Registry, which all BSE Global business units use to find goods and services.
Brooklyn restauranteurs and food vendors will also be considered for the Brooklyn Taste program at Barclays Center, the arena's chosen hospitality providers.
The Buffalo Boss story
For the founder of a Brooklyn wings joint, becoming a vendor for the Barclays Center changed the course of his business' trajectory "immensely."
Jamar White founded Buffalo Boss, an organic "wings and things" outlet in 2010. When he heard the newly-built Barclays Center was looking for vendors, he reached out and got a meeting with executives who loved his wings and agreed to give Buffalo Boss a shot in 2013.
"The momentum the restaurant had been getting helped us to get in there, as well as my celebrity cousin Jay Z," he laughed. "But the cool thing about it was we got the interview before we told them about that."
White said the business' first stand in the Barclays Center was such a hit the arena offered them a second stand on another floor within the second year.
"As a young Black business, to have that alignment with such an established brand helped us to move forward and gain notoriety," White said. "We opened three locations after that, the brand recognition was crazy."
White grew up in the "Fort Greene projects," NYCHA's Ingersoll Houses, and was the first in his family to go to college. He said initiatives like BSE Global's Supplier Diversity Program were "much needed" for minority-owned businesses right now.
"As a small business in general you don't know where to go or how to expand, but as a minority business it's a double layer of darkness. Not only are you underfunded, you don't have access to the know-how. Nine-out-of-ten times you're the first in your family to become an entrepreneur."
The most commonly sourced goods and services for the company run the gamut from marketing and advertising services, to florists, gifting, photo booth rentals, printing, cleaning and office supplies and more, it says.
White encouraged Brooklyn's minority-owned vendors to apply for the program. "I would say to other minority businesses: No, you're not too small. As long as you have a great product and a great story, you'll be a great candidate for BSE."
Ongoing anti-racism efforts
The program is part of the company's broader diversity efforts and efforts to address economic inequality in the community, BSE Global CEO John Abbamondi said.
"Research shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally hurt minority-owned businesses in New York City," he said.
"Understanding the barriers that many of these business owners currently face, our goal is to provide them with a new opportunity to grow their revenue and gain more exposure for their company."
In August 2020, BSE Global owners Clara Wu Tsai and Joe Tsai announced they would be donating $50 million to social justice and community initiatives with a focus on those that benefit Black communities in Brooklyn. At the same time, they set out a five-point plan to combat racism and inequality.