ATLANTA–At a black-tie awards banquet capping its four-day conference and business opportunity fair, the National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. presented Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. with its prestigious Corporation of the Year award.

The award is presented to major corporations that are dedicated to improving the overall participation of Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American suppliers in the global corporate supply chain.

“This recognition is reserved for corporations that fully embrace the value that minority suppliers bring to the corporate supply chain,” said NMSDC President Joset Wright. “Toyota’s commitment to supplier diversity and minority supplier development is firmly embedded in the corporate culture. Its comprehensive, world-class supplier diversity process is worthy of replication.

“In winning the award, Toyota demonstrated a strong commitment to building capacity and capability of minority businesses within their corporation and in partnership with the council.

The company led two modules of council’s Centers of Excellence program–a network of regional business modules comprised of corporate supplier diversity/purchasing executives and minority business enterprise owners.”

To date, seven of the participating minority companies were awarded business directly with Toyota. The automaker also sponsored two companies in the council’s Corporate Plus program, a special classification for minority businesses with proven success in executing national contracts and the capacity to handle more.

Toyota showed its commitment to the growth of minority suppliers by spending $1.5 billion with minority businesses in 2010–a 36 percent increase over 2009. The increase earned it entry into the Billion Dollar Roundtable, and was realized during a challenging time for the company, said the council.

During that time, Toyota also deployed resources to its supply base that saved 40,000 jobs and ensured readiness for return to normal production.