This article examines the experiences of small ethnic minority-owned businesses (EMBs) engaged in supply chain relationships with large purchasing organizations (LPOs). Working with the complementary frameworks of Edwards et al. (2006) and Kloosterman et al. (1999), we assess the effects on the internal dynamics of EMB firms of a move into the LPO supply chain. Drawing on case study evidence from three sectors – business services, information and communication technology (ICT) and food manufacture - we focus on the experiences of workers, who have been neglected in extant debates. We find that move to supply LPOs is extremely challenging for EMBs. Although workers express satisfaction with working relationships, the power of LPOs contributes to a tightening of control over practices like recruitment, work organization and work hours.