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Pacers 24 /24 Program Boost Indianapolis Small Businesses  

2024-03-24 – BE&O GS

Leading up to NBA All-Star Weekend, the Pacers Foundation launched an initiative to help 24 small businesses obtain a special XBE certification. 

Duane Conwell, the Senior Director of Procurement and Supplier Diversity for Pacers Sports and Entertainment, led the first-of-its-kind committee that worked to ensure this year’s All-Star Weekend was the most diverse and inclusive in NBA history. “We knew we really wanted to impact small businesses in a wonderful way,” she says. 

The committee decided to help 24 small businesses obtain XBE certification by the start of the 2024 All-Star Weekend. Eligible businesses are those owned by minorities, women, veterans, or disabled people. Conwell says the All-Star event was a huge opportunity to boost those local businesses. 

Leading up to 2024, the Pacers Foundation held special workshops and seminars aimed at connecting small businesses with the certifying bodies that grant XBE status. Certifying bodies included the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, and WeBank. During the workshops, small businesses also received assistance gathering and filing proper documentation to receive certification.  

Once an XBE certification is granted, a small business has the opportunity to bid on city and state contracts. “A lot of businesses don’t understand the value of certification,” Conwell says. 

After working with certifying bodies to expedite certification, the group ended up with 29 small businesses that received XBE status. Three of those were awarded a $10,000 branding grant from the Pacers Foundation. Conwell says her group will continue to mentor the 29 small business owners in the program.