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Press Release

Women's Business Enterprise National Council Names Elite Eleven List of "America's Top Corporations for Women's Business Enterprises"

White House Ceremony Hosted by U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao

Washington, DC Mar 24, 2004 -

In keeping with its leadership role in advancing opportunities for women-owned businesses to market their products and services to corporations, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) today announced its fifth annual listing of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises.

The 2003 list recognizes the “Elite Eleven” corporations that not only have instituted programs to offer equal access for women-owned suppliers, but also have attained world-class quality in their supplier diversity programs featuring women’s business enterprises. They are:

Bank of America
Cendant Car Rental Group
IBM Corporation
Office Depot, Inc.
PepsiCo, Inc.
SBC Communications
Shell Oil Company

Seven of the Elite Eleven are returning to this honor having also made the list last year. They are Cendant Car Rental Group; ChevronTexaco; Office Depot, Inc.; PepsiCo, Inc.; SBC Communications; TXU and UPS.

“This list of stellar companies recognize that women’s business enterprises are really Growth Market Enterprises – fueling the economy by offering superior quality products and services at competitive costs,” said Susan Phillips Bari, President of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. “Our Elite Eleven have created world-class programs to ensure that our Growth Market Enterprises get the fair chance they deserve to bid for and win the business.”

CEOs and other representatives of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises will be honored at a special ceremony held at Indian Treaty Room of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and hosted by The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, US Secretary of Labor.

WBENC Top Corporations

Since its founding in 1997, WBENC (wbenc.org) has fostered diversity in the world of commerce by creating programs to help expand opportunities and eliminate barriers in the marketplace for women’s business enterprises. These programs include:

Certification of women’s business enterprises through regionally based affiliate councils, the most widely accepted third-party certification system of woman-owned businesses in America.
Women in Business 2004: Sharing the Vision, the largest annual conference and business fair for women business owners in the nation, to be held this year June 22-24 in New Orleans.
Comprehensive research projects providing critical information to both corporations and women’s business enterprises seeking to enhance their work together. These projects include "Access to Markets, Perspectives from Large Corporations and Women Business Enterprises," undertaken with Center for Women’s Business Research, a groundbreaking study revealing both challenges and the winning strategies for women’s business enterprises in selling to large corporations.
“Our research is grounded in the fact that WBEs comprise one of the most vital sources of growth in our economy,” Bari said.

According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, WBEs have outpaced other U.S. businesses in both growth and economic contribution in the last five years. Privately-held women-owned businesses, with 51% woman ownership, have:

Grown in number by 14%, or twice the rate of all U.S. firms, to 6.2 million.
Generated sales that increased by 40% nationwide nearing $1.15 trillion.
Employed nearly 9.2 million workers in 2002, up 30% from 1997, which reflects a growth rate that is one-and one-half times the national average.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) As the leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, WBENC partners with corporate diversity executives and women’s business organizations throughout the United States. Of the approximately 500 corporations with supplier diversity programs, all accept WBENC certification. WBENC provides these key elements to a successful certification program:

Access to a national standard of certification;
Information on certified businesses to purchasing managers through an Internet database – WBENCLink.
Training programs and manuals covering certification review procedures.
Management training programs for its organizational partners.
Creation and dissemination of cutting-edge seminars and workshops for women business owners.
Benchmarking of corporate diversity programs.
Research into procurement practices and progress.
WBENC also provides business-to-business sourcing opportunities through WBENCLink and another Internet tool, WEbuy@wbenc.org. WBENC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks and accepts donations from corporations, foundations and individuals that support its mission and programs.

About Budget

Budget Rent A Car System, Inc. is the owner and franchiser of one of the world's best-known car rental brands with more than 1,900 car rental locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE: CD), a diversified global provider of business and consumer services primarily within the travel and real estate sectors. For further information visit budget.com or cendant.com/media.

Alice Pereira
Senior Associate, Public Relations
Cendant Car Rental Group
6 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054

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