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 LEXINGTON, Ky., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota's top U.S. manufacturing executive encouraged suppliers to increase their minority purchasing at the automaker's fourth annual Opportunity Exchange today.
 Fujio Cho, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. (TMM) in nearby Georgetown, said Toyota sponsors the event to provide business networking opportunities for its many U.S. suppliers and numerous minority-owned firms in attendance.
 "Some of you are here looking for new suppliers, and some of you are here looking for new customers," said Cho. "We hope that bringing you together like this leads to new business opportunities all-around."
 Cho added that TMM's minority suppliers have played a major role in establishing the Kentucky-built Toyota Camry as one of America's best-selling and highest-quality cars.
 "Big companies like Toyota can benefit by adding diversity in their supplier base," he said. "That's certainly been true for us."
 This year's Opportunity Exchange was Toyota's biggest ever, attracting more than 100 exhibitors and representatives of more than 300 companies from several states. Total attendance exceeded 500.
 In addition to Cho, other featured speakers were Gordon Thomson, vice president of Marketing for Exxon Corporation, and Floyd Rose, executive director of the Wisconsin Supplier Development Council.
 Thomson mentioned some of the key elements of Exxon's minority purchasing program, which have led to Exxon earning two "Company of the Year" awards in 1991 and 1992 from the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
 "At Exxon, minority purchasing is business as usual," said Thomson. "We use a four-part approach to guide both ourselves and our minority enterprises: executive involvement, employee participation, goal-setting and networking. It takes all four parts to make our program work."
 Rose, meanwhile, focused on how minority firms are impacting the U.S. economy. "Minority business means jobs," he said. "Most minority firms are small, and that's where the job growth is in America. Minority business development really means economic development."
 Participating minority entrepreneurs explained how the Opportunity Exchange helped them find new customers.
 "It's great that Toyota hosts this event," said Tommy Burns, president of Burns Enterprises Inc. of Louisville and a long-time TMM supplier. "Toyota is the only company I know of that's putting on events like these to encourage their suppliers to form more minority business relationships."
 Al Smith, president of Mid-America Chemicals of Lexington, agreed. "Toyota's Opportunity Exchange has all the companies under one roof," he said. "It's much better than having to make a cold call. In effect, the table is set for me. I try to work every booth, make contacts and follow up. I love it."
 -0- 11/18/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Wiseman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., 502-868-2061/

CO: Toyota Motor Manufacturing, USA, Inc. ST: Kentucky IN: AUT SU:

SB -- CH009 -- 6268 11/18/93 17:18 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 18, 1993
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