With operations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, Gerdau currently has a network of more than 30,000 suppliers, 60% of which are micro, small and medium enterprises, strengthening the local economies where it operates. For this reason the Company launched in 2007 its Supplier Development Program in order to improve the management performance of these organizations. This initiative, developed with partner organizations, ranges from giving courses and on-site consulting to designing and monitoring the execution of action plans. In total, more than 500 training hours have been given over 24 months addressing issues related to management improvement, quality & productivity, encouraging entrepreneurship, citizenship, and sustainability. The program has had a direct impact on Gerdau's competitiveness as it prepares the way to receive products and services of better quality, punctual delivery, and building long-term relationships. Moreover, by strengthening these micro, small and medium enterprises, this stimulates market growth and generates jobs and wealth. In 2012, the program involved 404 micro, small and medium enterprises in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. As a result, the business volume between Gerdau and the participating companies grew 24% compared to 2011. For 2013, the program will be expanded to suppliers in Chile, India, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela. About GerdauGerdau is the leader in the segment of long steel in the Americas and one of the main suppliers of special long steel in the world. With over 45,000 employees, it has industrial operations in 14 countries—in the Americas, Europe, and Asia—which together represent an installed capacity of over 25 million metric tons of steel per year. It is the largest recycler in Latin America and in the world, and transforms each year millions of tons of scrap steel, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable development in the regions where it operates. Gerdau is listed on the stock exchanges of São Paulo, New York, and Madrid and has over 140,000 shareholders.