DETROIT - Roy Roberts, a former General Motors vice president, is now CEO and co-founder of an online trade exchange designed to make it easier for corporations to find and do business with minority-owned companies.
Roberts said the new company, M-Xchange.com, will enable minorities to participate in the business-to-business Internet revolution by allowing companies to order goods and services online from minority-owned businesses.
Roberts, 61, said some corporations do not know how or where to look for minority-owned suppliers.
'Companies walk in and tell you they have goals they want to achieve, but they can't find (minority) suppliers,' Roberts said. 'In my opinion, which is not science, they're telling the truth. They are not mean-spirited people. They don't know where to find the suppliers.
'We want to remove that reason and rationale and tell them who the players are.'
Roberts said his company uses the federal government's definition of minority, which includes wo-men. The exchange will include but is not limited to the auto industry. Roberts said he plans to talk with GM, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler.
The Web site should begin operation in mid-July, he said.
Roberts said he and his partner, Gary Wasserman, put up the money to finance the company and said they hope to go public. Roberts owns 51 percent of the business.
Wasserman, 50, is owner and president of Allied Metals Corp., a Troy, Mich., company that supplies iron products to the aerospace, electronic, energy and petrochemical industries. M-Xchange is operating temporarily in Wasserman's offices. Roberts said the company will be in Detroit.
Roberts retired from GM in February as group vice president for North American Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing.