Small Business: Our Corporate Social Responsibility to Supplier Diversity
Supplier diversity not only benefits underrepresented businesses but also uplifts local communities.
- By Mensah Alkebu-Lan
- 15 September 2022
Table of Contents
- Do We Abuse the Word?
- What is Supplier Diversity
- Our Corporate Social Responsibility
- Our Place in Space and Time
Do We Abuse the Word?
Even though I think the word is abused, I have a deep appreciation for diversity. It is my sentiment the abuse of the word cheapens the word. I wonder to myself how is it we are always using the word, yet we see so little of it.
Maybe it’s because we speak about it too abstractly. Maybe we need examples of it that are easier to understand.
Let me share something with you from my experience. It always fascinates me when I drive my daughters up the street to the playground. Every time we go, I see children I’ve never seen before. Perfect strangers.
Be that as it may, my daughters can walk up to perfect strangers on the playground, and start playing with them. They ask each other what games the other knows, and then they decide on a game to play. Maybe it’s hide & seek or some other game. Maybe they just take turns going down the slide. And then when they’ve played that game long enough, they decide on another game.
At some point, the parents decide it’s time to go home. They say their goodbyes and then return to the playground days or weeks later to do it all again with more perfect strangers.
How is that? Do they know something we don’t?
What is Supplier Diversity?
Given Universal Equations, Inc. is itself one of the United States’ dynamic minority-owned businesses, we certainly have an appreciation for the value proposition of diversity equity and inclusion. It is a cornerstone of our commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Supplier diversity not only benefits underrepresented businesses but also uplifts local communities. In communities where diverse businesses are properly supported, there is a measurable economic impact on the community in terms of job creation and other metrics.
I should also point out such initiatives can improve a company’s bottom line. Companies also have to acknowledge many of their employees want to work for a company that has a supplier diversity and inclusion program.
This extends to diverse suppliers. A diverse supplier is a business owned and operated by an individual or group that is part of a traditionally underrepresented or underserved group. If the company is owned by a group, then generally organizations require this ownership group to be a least 51 percent made up of a traditionally underrepresented or underserved group before it is considered a diverse supplier.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility
A diverse supplier base in the procurement of goods and services is an integral part of our procurement strategy. Whether we’re competing for state contracts or business opportunities at large companies, we are conscious of our social responsibility.
While our supplier diversity program is not as extensive as larger organizations, we take great interest in putting safeguards in place to allow diverse suppliers ample opportunity to compete when procuring products and services. We’ve gone so far as to establish spend goals as a rule of thumb in our supplier diversity efforts. We understand inclusive procurement delivers broad societal benefits.
Common classifications of diverse suppliers are:
- Small Business Enterprises (SBEs)
- Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBEs)
- Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs)
- Service Disabled Veteran Businesses (SDVBs)
We pay homage to the early proponents of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). We ourselves appreciate the fact we are certified as a Minority Business Enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Diverse certification was certainly an important milestone in the life of our organization.
Our Place in Space and Time
Supplier Diversity Programs are a product of the momentum of the Civil Rights movement. For example, Public Law 95-507 established a program to encourage government contractors to include minority-owned businesses in their supply chains.
We are grateful to government agencies and other organizations such as the Small Business Administration, Chamber of Commerce, and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council for their efforts. More broadly, we are appreciative of all supplier diversity initiatives and the economic growth in disadvantaged communities that comes as a result.
We not only appreciate cultural diversity, but also the diversity in thinking that often comes from small and diverse businesses. We recognize a positive impact can come from both.
Potential suppliers should go to our contact page at https://www.uequations.com/contact-us to inquire about our supplier onboarding process.
1. “Why You Need a Supplier-Diversity Program.” Harvard Business Review, 17 August 2020, https://hbr.org/2020/08/why-you-need-a-supplier-diversity-program. Accessed 14 September 2022.
2. “What Is Supplier Diversity and Why Is It Important?” Supplier.io, 9 January 2017, https://www.supplier.io/blog/what-is-supplier-diversity. Accessed 14 September 2022.
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