On June 4th, National Center President and CEO Chris James participated in a Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) workshop on supplier diversity. Supplier diversity is a business strategy that promotes
diversity in the supply base by increasing business with suppliers owned by tribal members, minorities,
and women. The strategy often serves as a catalyst for economic development in underserved
communities. Likewise, government entities, large firms, and prime contractors with supplier diversity
benefit from relationships with some of the most efficient, flexible, and innovative suppliers in the
market.
In his presentation, Chris provided several tips for suppliers interested in certifying their supplier
diversity. First, he encouraged suppliers to establish an intimate relationship with the Office of Small &
Disadvantaged Business Utilization in the government agency with which they desire to work. These
offices can assist the supplier in finding networking and matchmaking events.
Second, suppliers should team up with similarly situated businesses when they do not have the past
performance qualifications or the necessary resources to individually complete a desired project. These
teams can be more competitive and capable of completing larger and more complex projects.
Third, suppliers benefit from mentorship. When looking for a mentor, mentees should complete a gap
analysis that identifies what they need for future success (i.e. financial capacity, internal controls, buyer
network). Mentees should then seek out mentors that are able and willing to fill the gaps that are
inhibiting future development.
Supplier diversity benefits government entities, large firms, prime contractors, and suppliers. It provides
unparalleled flexibility and innovation while supporting small businesses and communities. If you are
interested in becoming a public sector supplier, you may register in the System for Award Management
(SAM) and build a profile on the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS).
The FCC has long been a leader in prioritizing supplier diversity, as evidenced by this workshop and other
programs. The National Center was proud to participate in the workshop and looks forward to
continuing this relationship in the future.