Women's Business Enterprise National Council Names Verizon a Top American Corporation for Second Consecutive Year

NEW YORK - The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) has named Verizon one of the top American corporations for women's business enterprises.  The winners were selected on the basis of their world-class supplier diversity programs, which offer equal access for women's business enterprises in competing for, and winning, corporate contracts for goods and services.

"Verizon is a leader 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 organization, Verizon is rewarded with outstanding products and services that benefit their customers and their shareholders."

Established more than 20 years ago, the Verizon Supplier Diversity Program works to create mutually beneficial business relationships with a diverse body of suppliers, a process that strengthens communities and creates value for shareholders. Verizon's goal is to increase year-over-year spending with companies owned and managed by minorities, women, people with disabilities and Vietnam-era and service-disabled veterans (MWDVBE).

The WBENC also named Verizon one of the top American corporations for women's business enterprises in 2006.  Verizon spent $2.5 billion that year with such businesses.

The WBENC is the only organization that brings together women business enterprises and corporations to work to improve marketing opportunities for women-owned businesses as vendors and suppliers to the nation's top corporations. Verizon is a sponsor and supporter of the WBENC's advocacy for maximizing the competitive edge of self-employed, entrepreneurial women.

Verizon and the 15 other winners will receive the Women's Business Enterprise Award on March 30 in Dallas. 

Verizon is also a charter member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a group organized to promote research, education and best practices in supply-chain diversity.  The company's approach includes operating a Web site that allows MWDVBE suppliers to participate in an online registration process that matches prospective suppliers' competencies with business needs. Verizon's Second Tier/Prime Supplier Program enhances opportunities for women-owned businesses by continually increasing the number of prime suppliers participating in the program and encouraging the use of women and minority suppliers as subcontractors.

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 of 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.

There are 7.7 million majority-women-owned companies, 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 companies.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 59 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 242,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.