While creating a supplier diversity program might look and feel difficult to start, you have access to a diverse group of strong, local suppliers, here in Colorado. For many companies, a supplier diversity program represents an opportunity to develop a truly inclusive economy and company, while joining the fight for racial equity, creating economic opportunity and enhancing your businesses and reputation.
The following resources identify the steps needed for your team to implement a supplier diversity program, find suppliers that fit the services you need and consider longer term partnerships to help advance the field of supplier diversity through mentorship, training and capacity building.
Diversifying your supply chain 101
The following resources identify the steps needed to implement a supplier diversity program.
*Small Business Pro Tip: Ask employees for recommendations on diverse businesses to support for client/staff gifts, catering, office supplies, cleaning companies, etc.
Set goals around diverse suppliers. For example, using one new diverse supplier a quarter.
- Establish and run a supplier diversity program. Have your assigned leader review Resources for Supplier Diversity Programs from SIG.
- Establish operational standards for all suppliers, helping to ensure equity in the workplaces that support your company (e.g., developing strict standards for equity similar to those common in the apparel industry for child and forced labor).
- Share your supplier diversity data and goals, as well as your outcomes, with your employees, peers and local associations to help enhance the local business ecosystem.
- Share your success stories to celebrate successes and inspire others and listen to others’ success stories.
- Assess underlying causes inhibiting the growth of suppliers of color and actively collaborate with peer companies to strengthen the ecosystem of suppliers of color.
- If your company is having difficulty finding diverse vendors that comply with your operational standards look for small, diverse suppliers that need support in the certification process or other areas and develop mentoring/training programs to help them meet standards, like Coca-Cola did. Another option is to partner with state and local organizations and chambers of commerce to provide support to these existing programs. See recommendations below.
- The Alliance Center is an example of a local organization that has implemented Supply Chain Sustainability.
Directories to find suppliers
The following resources identify the suppliers that fit the services you need.
*Small Business Pro Tip: Share the directories with employees and encourage them to support BIPOC businesses.
- BBLK App: The app provides addresses, hours of operation and phone numbers for more than 1,100 Black-owned businesses across the country, at least one in all 50 states.
- Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce: Serves the needs of Black-owned businesses and provides economic opportunity and support to them as well as the communities they serve.
- Directory of Black-Owned Businesses: By Official Black Wall Street, the largest platform for Black businesses.
- Minority Business Directory: By the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, a database of over 700+ certified, minority-owned businesses.
- Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Council: Has a diverse network of companies that are minority certified.
- Women Owned Business Directory: Directory of businesses with consumer-facing products or services.
Local partners for supplier diversity support + mentorship
Structural barriers have prevented many diverse suppliers from growth, capital and contracts. Investing in the growth and mentorship of BIPOC-owned businesses is a critical step to advancing the supplier diversity field. Consider opportunities for company and staff connection and financial support to these potential partners.
*Small Business Pro Tip: Connect with employees to see if anyone is already engaging with one of these organizations. What can your organization do to support them? Ex: Monetary donation, provide an in-kind donation or service, have employees volunteer or mentor with them, etc.
- Black Business Initiative: Delivers strong business acumen training, mentorship programs, cooperative and traditional pathways to access capital, increased patronage in Black-owned businesses and sound policy that closes the economic chasm known as the “wealth gap.”
- Bridge to Justice: An impact-oriented social enterprise to bridge the gap between legal needs and legal access with affordable, high-quality legal services.
- Center for Community Wealth Building: Transforms the current economic development system to a more inclusive and equitable model that prioritizes democratically-owned businesses, emphasizes local procurement and ensures social, environmental and institutional sustainability.
- Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce: Serves the needs of African American owned businesses and provides economic opportunity and support to them as well as the communities they serve.
- Colorado Enterprise Fund: Expands access to financing and offers flexible terms to business owners when traditional lenders were unable to do so. To accelerate community prosperity by financing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.
- Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute (RMMFI): Together with a network of 200+ volunteer mentors and business leaders, supports a diverse network of entrepreneurs creating unique businesses based in Denver and Aurora.
- Creates the space for communities and people of all backgrounds to realize their unique potential through the power of entrepreneurship. Together with a network of 200+ volunteer mentors and business leaders, RMMFI supports a diverse network of entrepreneurs creating unique businesses based in Denver and Aurora.
- SistahBiz: Provides a suite of services, resources, and supports for Black women entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs often have less access to funding from friends and family, and experience barriers to securing loans. When they are able to get financing, it’s often for smaller amounts with higher interest rates.