More than 30 prospective minority owners and franchisees attended an April “education summit” Marriott International held at its Washington headquarters. It was one of several moves the company has made to double its 270 minority owners and franchisees in five years.

The summit and related efforts help explain why DiversifyInc recently ranked Marriott 12th in its annual tallying of the top 50 companies for diversity.

Led by Marriott executives, owners and franchisees, along with experts from the lending community, the workshop delivered information about site evaluation and about how hotels are built, financed and operated.

Norman K. Jenkins, senior vice president of North American lodging development for Marriott, presented a $30,000 check to Andy Ingraham, president of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers. “Educating prospective owners and franchisees is key to the company's diversity ownership initiative because many candidates have substantial business experience, but they do not have a background in the lodging industry,” Jenkins said.

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