This is part III of three. A series of articles offering a comprehensive review of minority and women business certification and the supplier diversity programs.
- Definition – Provides a basic definition and high-level understanding of the Minority & Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification.
- Resources – Identify available resources by business advocacy organizations and government programs designed to advocate for Minority & Women Business Enterprises.
- Strategy – Suggest strategy to leverage the Supplier Diversity program and MWBE certification to expand business development opportunities.
Supplier Diversity programs are initiative-taking business programs that allows corporations and various level of government agencies to take advantage one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy. Within the Supplier Diversity programs, government and corporate procurement office set specific target and goals for utilizing minority & women business in their supply chains. They also established certification processes to ensure the suppliers meet their requirements to be destinated as minority or women owned businesses. Both the government agencies and corporations work with non-profit organizations and advocacy government agencies to certify, educate, and support certified minority and women business enterprise to ensure their success of obtaining contracts and sustaining their business operations.
Minorities and women business certification is a subset of what is generally owned as “Diverse Business Enterprise Certification” that also include veterans, people with disabilities, or other business considered to be ‘disadvantage.’ This summary will focus only on Minority and Women Business Enterprises.
The purpose of this article is to define a strategy on how to leverage these certifications to maximize your business opportunities.
Strategy: Leveraging Minority & Women Certification
How can a minority/women business enterprise leverage Supplier Diversity program for their business development efforts?
- Assess on the readiness of the business enterprise on the readiness to do businesses with either private corporations or the public sectors.
- Identity target corporations or government agencies as key customers to ensure whether minority or women certification requirements can be met.
- Leverage available resources to learn about the policy and process for gaining access to the targeted customers.
- Decide on which certification may offer the best return on investment as a starting point. It is difficult to get certified for all.
- Develop a strategy for responding to” Request for Proposal” from corporations and government agencies – ensure you have staff who have necessary experience.
- Participate in networking seminars and events to meet potential customers’ representatives to confirm your findings during the preparation phase.
- Learn more about doing business with the targeted customers by meeting fellow suppliers and identify potential partners or collaborators who can support your bid for contracts.
- Verify your assumptions with the supplier diversity professionals and procurement officers that your products and services meet their requirements.
- Business Development & Sales
- Register your minority certification with the targeted corporation and agencies.
- Participate in the procurement events organized by the specific targeted customers or business fairs organized by the advocacy and support organizations such as MBDA, SBA, and NMSDC and their regional affiliates.
- Submit proposal to the corporation and agencies official request for proposals.
- Assessment & Process improvements
- Assess both certification selection, business development process, sales results, profit margins on a regular basis.
- Evaluate whether your assumption on target market is correct and adjust accordingly.
- Meet with your support organizations to ensure you are leverage all their technical assistance service appropriately.
- Go back to Step I if needed.
This summary provided highlights on the Supplier Diversity program in both private and government agencies. Certification policies and key requirements were reviewed. Key supporting organizations for minority and women owned enterprises were also introduced. Finally, a four-step strategy on how a Minority/Women owned business enterprise can leverage the Supplier Diversity Program was proposed.