Small businesses, especially minority-owned small businesses, are well placed to lead the U.S. in economic growth in the coming years. The combination of a growing minority population and the number of government-sponsored small business assistance and private sector supplier diversity and inclusion programs makes now a great time to be a minority-owned small business.
In fact, with increased spending power in minority communities and the prevalence of supplier diversity programs, minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned companies that are poised to take advantage of this trend can do quite well for themselves.
What is Supplier Diversity?
Supplier diversity refers to business practices that advocate using a more diverse set of suppliers, especially those suppliers who may have had a disadvantage, such as minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses.
From the U.S. Government's standpoint, supplier diversity is imperative. The federal government has instituted programs to ensure that minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and other disadvantaged small businesses face a more level playing field when competing against bigger suppliers. Without supplier diversity programs, small businesses, especially those owned by minorities, veterans and women, would face a seemingly insurmountable hurdle when competing against larger corporations.
Achieving small or minority-owned business certification can unlock your firm’s potential as a diverse supplier, and open up doors to exciting – and growing – public and private sector business programs! At present, there are more than $80 Billion Dollars in opportunities earmarked for Certified Small Businesses in 2016 from just four (4) of our firm's customers. The U.S. Government- the world’s largest customer, will spend $34 Billion in goods and services from certified minority owned and small businesses. How much of that spend is your small businesses getting?
What then, is the Strategic Value of becoming certified as a woman, veteran or minority-owned small business? What are the advantages of becoming certified?
This article describes the strategic advantages and the value behind becoming a certified diverse supplier. I call this strategic value the 'currencies' for minorities.
The 10 ‘Currencies’ Minorities Get from Becoming a Certified Minority-Owned Business
As an accredited small, minority, woman or veteran-owned business you can compete for opportunities and RFPs for which you might not have been considered. Your new credential opens up a world of corporate and government opportunities that, as a boutique or small company, you would not be exposed to otherwise.
Major corporations develop supplier diversity and inclusion programs to do business with certified companies. Some are even legally mandated to have a Small Business subcontracting plan. Since becoming an MBE, many of our firm’s Small Business clients have been able to win contracts in the construction industry, management consulting, and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors that they would not have dreamed of competing for.
2. Resources and Choices
There are multiple, private-publicly funded initiatives and programs that provide a vast array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring small, woman-owned, veteran-owned entrepreneurs. Among these, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has more than 900 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), or service sites across the U.S. to support business growth, and enhance the creation of new small businesses.
These centers serve all populations, including: minorities, women; veterans, including reservists, active duty, disabled personnel, and those returning from deployment; personnel with disabilities, youth and encore entrepreneurs; as well as individuals in low and moderate income urban and rural areas.
3. Vetting and Credibility
The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program is designed to help level the playing field for qualified participants in this unique, nine-year business development program. This program requires that its minority and small business applicants undergo extensive vetting by US Government agencies and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Ethnicity, gender or previous military service alone does not guarantee program admission. In fact, as part of the overall approval and required extensive documentation process, applicants must clearly demonstrate that they meet all program requirements in order to become part of this elite nine-year Business Development program, with approximately 7,500 participating firms.
“Achieving small or minority-owned business certification can unlock your firm’s potential as a diverse supplier, and open up doors to exciting – and growing- public and private sector business programs!”
4. Relationships that Give you Energy or Power
Becoming a certified minority-owned business provides small business owners with a whole new network and community of people who want to see you succeed. Doors will open with your fellow business owners, large corporations and employee resource groups. Networking opportunities — Provide expansion of relationship-building opportunities with corporate buyers.
5. Reputation and Brand
Your new credential can be used as a very powerful marketing opportunity to create a strong and powerful brand. Did you know that by employing 7.9 million American workers, female entrepreneurs are shaping the future of the American economy? Conversely, or that in addition to risking their lives to defend our Homeland, Veterans also defend our economy? Fact: Veteran-owned business generate $1.2 trillion in annual sales, 5.8 million employees, and an annual payroll of $210 billion.
6. A Piece of the Pie
Most government entities at the federal, state and local levels mandate that at least some percentage of business go to small, women-owned, veteran owned, and minority-owned businesses. Access to and eligibility for government contracts is a huge benefit of certification for small and minority owned businesses. It is important to note that firms must still be qualified, but that certification is a game changer, and opens up the game.
The U.S. Government- the world’s largest customer, will spend $34 Billion in goods and services from certified minority owned and small businesses in 2016... How much of that spend is your company getting?
- Women-owned businesses generate $1.4 trillion in annual revenue.
- Veteran-owned business generate$1.2 trillion in annual sales, 5.8 million employees, and an annual payroll of $210 billion.
- Minorities own 15.1% of all U.S. businesses, or more than 3 million firms.
- 99% of all minority owned firms are small businesses.
7. ‘Air time’ with Decision Makers
In addition to a better chance at federal government contracting, many Fortune 500 companies have well-developed minority contracting programs. With your minority certification, you are almost certainly going to be placed directly in front of decision makers at very large corporations that are committed to doing business with minority-owned businesses.
8. Knowledge & Legacy
As a certified and accredited diverse supplier you will now gain access to customized executive education programs. You will also qualify to receive Ivy League training and technical assistance from prestigious executive education programs. Northwestern University’s Kellogg Advanced Management Education Scholarship Program and Dartmouth Executive Education Minority Business Entrepreneur development programs provide the leadership tools for CEOs of minority-owned firms.
9. Market Intelligence
After completing the minority certification process, you are granted access to large databases utilized by major corporations, other minority owned firms, and government entities that support supplier diversity. These databases allow you to search for prospective customers and clients who will benefit from the product or service your business provides. Your company’s information will be also be featured in these databases so that purchasers who are looking for your particular product or service can connect with you.
10. Funding Sources
If you’re just starting out as a small business, obtaining a WBE or MBE certification is an effective way to receive assistance for securing loans. For example if you are the owner of a certified WBE, you can utilize third-party intermediaries such as a Women’s Business Development Center or Small Business Development Company to help you prepare and submit loan applications to the Small Business Administration. Initial funding will provide you with capital to get your business up and running. Existing small businesses also benefit from obtaining loans in order to acquire additional equipment, expand their employee base, or open another location.
Call The Supplier Diversity and Small Business Growth Experts at Rafael Marrero & Company to Maximize the Value of your Minority Owned Business!
Minority Certification Services®, a Division of Rafael Marrero & Company, a certified MBE, is a management consulting company specializing in helping other minority-owned business secure new contract opportunities via minority certifications, while positioning themselves for optimal success as strategic suppliers. You can learn to identify lucrative opportunities and determine the best methods of moving forward with our help while also devising a strong plan for growth and increased capacity.
Contact Rafael Marrero & Company today to find out how your firm can become Minority Certified, or how your existing Minority Certified firm can become a strategic supplier in the public and private sectors. Call 1-888-595-6221 for a free consultation, or email email@example.com.
Rafael Marrero & Company is a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business with an A+ business rating.
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