Michael Porter on Inner City Business

Companies can benefit their communities simply by doing more business close to home

A decade ago, Archie Williams, the founder of a small printer-toner distribution company in the impoverished Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, happened to play a round of golf with Tom Stemberg, the founder and then-chief executive of office supply mega-retailer Staples (SPLS). Through 18 holes, the pair pitched, putted, and chatted—and became fast friends. Soon, Stemberg started buying printer cartridges from Williams' company, Roxbury Technology.

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