There are many concerns that keep large companies, organizations and even governments from building effective supplier diversity programs. However, some of those concerns are rooted in misinformation and bias against the very businesses these programs were built to support. Over the next few weeks, we will explore the three common myths we at Thought Kitchen hear most.
First up, Myth #1: There just aren’t enough diverse suppliers out there to fulfill purchasing needs.
According to the most recently published U.S. Census Bureau Annual Business Survey in 2020, nearly 18.7% (1.1 million) of U.S. employer businesses were minority-owned and veteran-owned, which makes up around 5.7% (331,151) of all businesses. About 20.9% (1.2 million) of businesses were owned by women. If we take a look right here at home, the State of Indiana Department of Administration ("IDOA") list has over 2,500 suppliers that have been certified as minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran-owned businesses.
By these numbers, there are many talented and capable diverse suppliers are out there, ready, willing, and able to work; however, it takes a lot of time and patience to make those connections with larger companies. In many states you’ll find different groups that aim to assist diverse suppliers through diversity fairs, networking events, and online directories from certifying organizations. So why are we still hearing,
“We don’t know how to find them” or “We can’t find any suppliers”?
The true problem is that both sides of this market need help connecting with each other. The “databases” of certified suppliers are hard to navigate or simply a very large Excel file lacking thorough information. So the real challenge is to figure out how to make those needed connections in one central, easy-to-use tool for supplier diversity programs to flourish.
As we began working with different clients in our supplier diversity consulting practice, it became clear that matching smaller, diverse businesses with larger, often majority-owned businesses was a clunky, inefficient process. We had in-depth discussions with the supplier diversity community and knew we could bring our years of experience to this problem. We wanted to create a platform where all types of businesses could find each other and meet other business needs in one convenient place. That's how DiversiFind was born.
DiversiFind allows diverse businesses -- certified or not -- to advertise their capabilities and to identify NAICS and UNSPSC codes, as well their industry, to help potential partners identify them. Diverse businesses can also identify keywords that describe their products and/or services their company provides. This is VERY beneficial to the companies looking to diversify their spend.
Certified suppliers are given NAICS and UNSPSC codes when they are certified by an organization. However, these codes are very general in description. For example, I'm looking for a software company to provide some services. With the Excel spreadsheet lists, I am able to find ALL businesses who are certified in UNSPSC code 43230000 -- Software. But what I really need is someone who is Salesforce-certified. The certification codes do not get that granular. Within DiversiFind, I can search using Salesforce and any company that has listed that in their keywords will return in the search results.
So, what does this mean for companies looking to diversify their spend? Well, instead of using multiple spreadsheets from certifying agencies, companies can search for suppliers in a more sophisticated, targeted way by using DiversiFind.
It is our hope at Thought Kitchen that finding a way to support all businesses as they seek to work together, we will increase opportunity for everyone. And with features like the ability to advertise project opportunities, post jobs and ads, and supplier reviews, along with a solicitation opportunities database on the horizon, the DiversiFind application is a true game changer for the supplier diversity community!
Calling All IDOA-Certified MBEs, WBEs, and IVOSBs!
If you are an IDOA-certified diverse supplier, you can claim your profile today. DiversiFind has loaded all of the State of Indiana's certified diverse suppliers into the DiversiFind platform so your company appears in the search results of companies looking to diversify their spend. All subscriptions were created at the basic – FREE – level. At this level, your company gains access to bid opportunities from throughout Indiana in one spot.
Sign up at diversifind.com with the email address on file with IDOA for your certifying entity.
Complete two-factor authentication. This must be with the email/phone on file with IDOA for your certifying entity. You can modify this once you’ve logged in.
Enhance your profile for companies searching the database by uploading a logo, adding keywords, codes, etc.
Stay tuned! Next Thursday we will explore the second myth in our myth busting series: Myth #2: Small diverse suppliers can’t handle our volume.
Interested in learning more about supplier diversity and how you can incorporate it at your business? Schedule a discovery call with us!