In any business, it's important to have a vast array of diverse suppliers from which to choose. Diverse suppliers help spark innovation and bring us a competitive advantage in the marketplace to move our businesses forward. To reach our 15 percent utilization goal, we're engaging every employee at every level of the organization through our network of champions. We educate champions on which suppliers may potentially meet their business function's needs and bring diverse perspectives to their role within our companies. The champions are then able to educate their functions on those opportunities.
To further support these efforts, we hosted our first ever Supplier Diversity & Inclusion Business Fair and Matchmaking Event in May 2018. The event brought together over 100 external attendees, including more than 70 representatives from around 50 minority, women, veteran and LGBTQ owned businesses, as well as some of our existing, non-diverse suppliers. Attendees had the opportunity to partake in an afternoon of trade show format networking and one-on-one conversations with peer Richmond-area businesses and Altria employees. The fair was a way for us to give diverse suppliers an opportunity to get through the door and meet Altria's decision makers and get an understanding of our business needs. Suppliers also had the chance to build relationships with other Altria suppliers and Richmond-area companies, supporting our enterprise-wide goal of promoting diversity and inclusion in our communities and supplier base to contribute to our success.
Since May, we've continued engaging with a number of these suppliers, and they have already brought forward new business ideas. Supplier diversity results in more powerful innovation, and will continue to give our companies a better competitive advantage in the marketplace.