Supplier Diversity Programs in the Public Sector
When supplier diversity programs began, the nation was ripe for economic change and inclusion. The federal government is the largest, longest-running, and most comprehensive program for diverse businesses. However, many other industries that are part of the public sector have formalized their processes and efforts to become viable and lucrative business partners for small and diverse businesses to consider. According to Brian Tippens, noted supplier diversity expert and Director, Global Procurement Sustainability and Innovation for the Hewlett-Packard Company, “many companies’ supplier diversity programs in the United States are built around a compliance core. These programs are designed to help ensure that the company meets compliance requirements mandated by its public sector customers. The US federal government requires that any company that provides goods and services to it, above a certain mandated minimum level, meets aggressive goals of subcontracting spend with a list of enumerated categories of underrepresented small businesses. These categories include ethnic-minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.