MGM Resorts International Bets on Inclusion

As a marketing director for a local’s casino operation, I felt it was my duty to engage local businesses when our company purchased goods and services. MGM Resorts International (MGMRI) has been a long-standing partner with the Urban Chamber of Commerce and other minority organizations to engage local, small, and diverse companies in procurement. The company’s executives want to go all in and Bet on Inclusion with Black Owned Businesses who have been disproportionality impacted by the pandemic in comparison to most small businesses.


I have been blessed to do many local, regional, and national interviews, including The New York Times, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on America’s 2.6 million black-owned companies.  According to the several small business surveys, including the Small Business Administration (SBA), over half of U.S. Black companies had to close their doors. Comparatively, between 35% and 40% of White-owned small businesses reportedly closed their doors.  For perspective 71% of the 30 million small businesses operating prior to the pandemic were White-owned, compared to 9% of the country’s small businesses were Black-owned.  Unfortunately, the disparities are deeply rooted in systemic racism which The Kerner Commission Report outlined over 50 years ago. The pandemic simply put a spotlight on a long-time issue. 


MGMRI reached out to the Urban Chamber several months ago to address the concern. They worked together to identify Black-owned companies to get a sense of what firms were still in operation. Most were waiting for financial relief to determine if they would continue operations. 


“MGM Resorts is committed to identifying and engaging local Black-owned businesses for future opportunities and pleased to partner with the Urban Chamber of Commerce, a staple in our community,” stated Kenyatta Lewis, MGM Resorts Executive Director of Supplier Diversity.


“This effort with MGMRI is an extension of the targeted vendor roundtables that we have been doing with them for years. We are just moving the target to address the underserved Black-owned businesses during this time of crisis,” says Ken Evans, Urban Chamber President.


MGMRI and the Urban Chamber will hold several Bet on Inclusion roundtable discussions with Black-owned business who have the capabilities and capacity to do business with the Las Vegas resorts.  The Urban Chamber of Commerce will assist local Black businesses with preparing to provide value for long term success with the company.


“We are not looking to just get short term burst for Black businesses. We want to teach them how to have sustainable success with MGMRI and potentially other companies,” Evans added.


I passionately believe that this effort with MGMRI and the Urban Chamber of Commerce will work and impact local Black-owned businesses.  It worked on a smaller scale in my role as a Marketing Director with local businesses in the community.  It’s great to see MGMRI addressing this lasting issue, by Betting On Inclusion, and pleased to partner with the Urban Chamber of Commerce to make positive impacts in our community and support small Black-owned businesses. 


If a local Black-owned business wants the opportunity to work with MGMRI they are encouraged to contact the Urban Chamber of Commerce who will add you to a list of potential candidates.  Visit to see what industries MGMRI is looking for.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shaundell Newsome is a long-time small business advocate and Founder/Visionary of Sumnu Marketing. He’s a two-time Small Business Administration (SBA) Award Winner and frequent guest for interviews on local, regional and national news as a small business or marketing expert. Here is some information about SBA Minority Owned Companies.  Visit for more information about Shaundell.