Federal, state and local governments purchase billions of dollars worth of products and services each year. Recent federal mandates require that a certain minimal percentage of government and corporate procurement opportunities be set aside for small businesses and, more particularly, small minority-owned businesses.
Supplier Diversity is the proactive business process of sourcing products and services from previously under-utilized suppliers such as diverse-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, service disabled veteran-owned, historically underutilized business and SBA defined small businesses. Supplier Diversity is defined by the creating of partnerships which contribute to the growth and prosperity of minority-, women- and disadvantaged-owned businesses. It has become an integral part of modern corporate culture and a vital element to success. Corporate Supplier Diversity Objectives also include the maintaining of a diverse workforce and working with suppliers that represent and reflect the communities they serve.
Diverse and women-owned business enterprises are among the fastest-growing segments in the U.S. economy, the former generating over $495 billion in annual revenue and employing nearly 4 million workers since 1997, and the latter accounting for some $2.5 trillion in annual sales and employing over 19 million people. Veteran-owned (VOB) and Service Disabled Veteran-owned businesses (SDVOB) are among the most prominent groups of entrepreneurs currently being sought after by corporate supplier diversity directors.
Before your business can begin to do business with the government or large corporations, however, it is first necessary to obtain the proper certifications. Small business certifications are similar to professional certifications in that they document a special qualification, capability or status of that business. While certifications are not required in order to operate a business legally, whereas permits and licenses are, it may be necessary to obtain certain certifications in order to take advantage of business opportunities, such as government contracts. Certifying your business can definitely help you successfully compete for contracts bidded out by large corporations and government entities.
Business Certification Benefits vary, depending upon the type of certification. Some general benefits might include access to:
- Private and public contract opportunities
- Supplier/Supplier Diversity Contacts
- Prime / Subcontractors / Tier 1 / Tier 2/ Tier 3 Contacts/Contracts
- Databases of other businesses
- Exclusive vendor events
- Educational/Training programs
- Percentage Bid preference
- Advantages on payments
- Preferred vendor opportunities
- Restricted Contracting opportunities
Is Your Business Certification Ready?
Certifications aside, there is the issue of business capability and compliance. Is your business truly at the level of capability where it could benefit from being certified to begin with? It could be that it is in need of a “tuning”. In addition to certification, the following criteria and capabilities are what Procurement Representatives look for in your business before they will want to do business with you. Being deficient in one or more of these areas may preclude your business from even being considered for contract bids:
- EDI- Electronic Data Interchange
- Financial Stability
- Ability to Serve Multiple-locations, if necessary
- History of Successful Projects
- Good Business & Practices
- High Quality, Cost-Competitive Goods
- OSHA- Occupational Safety and Health Administration Compliant
- Ethical Business Conduct
- Federal ID#
- Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S® Number
- (Specific to Particular Business Size Requirements) NAICS- North American Industry Classification System Codes and Small Business Standards Compliance
- Basic Contact Information
- Insurance Documentation
- Annual Sales Records for previous three years
- Minimum of Three References
- “Greening” – Sustainable and Green Business and IT Capability/Compliance
When your business is fully capable and compliant in all of the above areas, you are ready for the next step, Certification!
LBA Partner Certifications
The LBA is proud to partner with other companies and organizations in providing various Business Certifications. LBA Partner Certifications include:
- California Department of General Services (DGS)
- National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council (SCMSDC)
- Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO)
- California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
- U.S. Small Business Administration- Business Development Program SBA 8(a)
- California Department of Transportation (CalTrans)
- Metropolitan Water District SBE Self-Certification
LBA Corporate Partner, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), recognizes certifications from various Agencies. View the roster of Certifying Agencies- Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).
LBA/LBA-Institute Supplier Diversity Boot Camp Training Program
The Latin Business Association, in collaboration with its sister-organization the Latin Business Association Institute proudly present the LBA/LBA-Institute Supplier Diversity Boot Camp Training Program, a comprehensive, seven-week course designed to provide business owners the knowledge and tools they need to become certified, qualified for and able to successfully obtain diverse contract opportunities!
Read the details about the upcoming LBA/LBA-Institute Supplier Diversity Boot Camp Training Program- Series II, running June 22nd through August 3rd in Los Angeles!
Read about the 2012 LBA/LBA-Institute Supplier Diversity Boot Camp Training Program, which took place June 2 through July 14, 2012,