Supplier Diversity: Connecting Entrepreneurs to Economic Opportunity

November 3, 2021 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Supplier diversity programs were developed to level the playing field for diverse suppliers, including minority, women, LGBTQ, disabled, and veteran-owned businesses. By connecting entrepreneurs to economic opportunity, ideally, organizations can harness the power of the marketplace to drive social impact.

However, supplier diversity often falls short on the data. It’s widely known that diverse suppliers are not given the opportunities to contract for public sector work at the rate of their non-minority and male counterparts despite the explosive growth of entrepreneurship among minority and women-owned firms. What’s not as clear is how much organizations lose, financially and socially, by failing to be dogged in their pursuit to diversify their supply chains. Research shows that consumers are more likely to engage a brand that publicly commits to diversity and inclusion. In general, when buyers give more firms a chance to compete for businesses, it’s better for business.

Diverse suppliers are often told that the key to getting contracts is relationship building. That’s the way we do business, right? Relationships – who we know. The flaw in that logic is that it’s not an equitable process. How many opportunities do diverse suppliers miss because they aren’t in the right rooms, not on the golf course? Relying solely on relationships leaves a lot of talent on the sidelines to the detriment of everyone involved.

In this episode of The New Mainstream, Jason Trimiew, Director of Global Supplier Diversity at Facebook, shares his perspective on the economic and social impact of supplier diversity and the power of intentionality.

Facebook has now spent more than $1.7 billion cumulatively with U.S. companies certified as minority, women, veteran, LGBTQ, or disabled-owned in categories spanning creative services, network infrastructure, facilities management and more.