You may have heard the term ‘supplier diversity’ and the benefits it can bring to your small business and corporation alike. If you’re interested in growing your business, especially as a disability-owned business owner; here is what you should know:
What is supplier diversity?
Supplier diversity refers to the use of minority-owned businesses as suppliers. A supplier diversity program is a proactive business program which encourages such use within an organization’s supply chain. Supplier diversity most often refers to the partnership between larger scale businesses and businesses owned by underrepresented racial minority, women-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned and LGBTQ+ owned businesses.
How does this partnership benefit the supplier?
As a small business owner, teaming up with a larger scale business not only guarantees a dependable client, but gives you access to the experiences and insights of a corporate company. A supplier diversity partnership can provide networking and mentorship opportunities, access to a wider clientele and even increases your opportunities to bid and receive larger business contracts. In short, suppliers are able to increase their knowledge, outreach and funds while in a supplier diversity partnership.
How does this partnership benefit the supplied?
Companies who put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their plans have proven to be more successful than those that don’t. Supporting a diverse workplace not only increases morale, but allows for a wider flow of ideas and access to a larger and more diverse client base. In turn, these factors often increase a company’s revenue.
Inviting a supplier team to your business will support your company’s diversity initiatives, widen your business lens and increase opportunities for new products and further audience reach. This will in turn bring in more revenue for the supplied business. Utilizing small businesses can also foster new jobs and a higher tax revenue.
How can I become a diverse supplier?
The best way to enter a supplier diversity partnership as a supplier is through a certification agency. You can be officially certified as a minority business owner and once you are given the official status, you will gain access to partnership opportunities for your business. Certifications can also help grow your business by providing scholarship and funding opportunities, media coverage, mentorship and networking opportunities, educational resources and more.
Do I need to become certified to be a diverse supplier?
Not necessarily, however most companies require or even prefer to work with small businesses that have been officially certified through a third-party agency, such as the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC), Disability:IN, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) or other applicable organizations.
This certification announces to potential partners that your business has been vetted and deemed legitimate and reliable by a trusted professional certifying agency.
How do I become certified?
Every organization will have different qualifications for certification, but many of them will have some of the same requirements. For example, Disability:IN; which works to certify disability-owned businesses, requires the following:
- Documentation supporting at least a 51% ownership and management of a business by a person or group with a disability.
- Proof of citizenship or permanent resident status.
- Disability status documentation.
- Your business license or permit.
- Tax forms and return documents.
- Resume of business owners.
- A history of your business and business plan.
Supplier diversity partnerships not only encourage diversity in the business world, but support for small businesses, a boost in the economy and extended business opportunities for everyone involved. Whether you’re a big corporation or a small business, a supplier diversity partnership may be the perfect solution to help your business thrive.
Sources: Disability:IN, Wikipedia, Merritt Business Solutions