When it comes to advocating for supplier diversity that promotes the sourcing of products and services from groups not traditionally included in supply chains, Terry Sawh is at the head of the class.
Last week, the Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) honoured the Guyanese-born entrepreneur with the Procurement Advocate of the Year award at its seventh annual Business Achievement presentation ceremony.
The award is presented to an individual who is an active promoter of supplier diversity through outreach activities and is respected by their peers for the work they do in the field.
“This award validates the fact that the potential of increasing the understanding and knowledge of supplier diversity within the economic fabric is encouraging,” said Sawh who migrated fromGuyanain 1976 with $24 in his pocket. “I hope that as the understanding of what the concept means spread within the various ethnic groups, small and medium-sized minority entrepreneurs will recognize that CAMSC offers a platform that creates the opening of doors to major corporations.”
Sawh has been a CAMSC certified supplier for the past five years and chair of the organization’s supplier input committee since 2009. He was a member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council Mission that visitedChinafour years ago.
A private non-profit membership-based organization comprising Canada’s multinational organizations, CAMSC aims to empower socially and economically disadvantaged communities through business development and employment.
“My dream of an ideal business climate in Canada is one where all levels of government recognize the value and importance of supplier diversity and they provide a platform either through incentives, policy or procurement mechanisms to encourage a broad base and inclusive supply chain,” said Sawh.
“For corporate members, this would mean continuing to extend their commitment by having supplier diversity ingrained in their DNA that is efficiently managed from the top to the bottom. For Aboriginal and minority-owned companies, that translates to using the power of collaboration in building capacity and securing significant supply relationships.”
CAMSC president Cassandra Dorrington made the presentation to Sawh.
“Terry has been a strong promoter of supplier diversity,” she said. “In every aspect, he’s always fulfilled a need and gone beyond what is required.”
Sawh took a few television broadcasting courses and a volunteer stint at CityTV with the intention of becoming a professional broadcaster and returning to work either inGuyana or elsewhere in theCaribbean. When that did not work out, he did some odd tasks before landing a job with a downtown collection agency in December 1979.
After working with Dunn & Bradstreet for five years, Sawh launched his own collection agency – The Debt Safe Corporation – in Toronto and Topnotch Employment Services a few years later which now employs eight full-time staff and manages nearly 300 contract staff, the majority of them Aboriginals and visible minorities.
Sawh is also active in the community. He chairs the Markham Softball League, serves as vice-president of the Lakshmi Mandir inMississaugaand is a member of several other organizations, including the Guyana Canada Chamber of Commerce, the Guyana Awards Council and the Leaside Lions Club.
By RON FANFAIR