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Introduction to Supplier Diversity Certifications

Leanne Strickler
Published September 08, 2021

Get yourself familiar with diversity certifications and how to apply for one

Updated 2/28/2022

The initial goal of Supplier Diversity programs was to combat social injustices in the United States by supporting growth and jobs at underrepresented small businesses. Over the last few years, buyers have also realized that effective inclusive procurement also delivers significant benefits to the bottom line and can drive innovation. 

Following the old axiom “What gets measured gets done,” many corporations with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs measure the effectiveness of their supplier diversity efforts by “counting” every dollar spent with diverse suppliers in all categories. To be sure they are measuring correctly, most companies tend to utilize third-party processes to validate the diversity data.

Diversity Certification for Suppliers is Important

All of these are important to you as a supplier. Why? A “certified” version of you is more attractive to a corporate buyer with a CSR program than a “not certified” version of you (all other things being equal – quality, performance, customer service and price are all still very important.)

Hence, if spending with certified suppliers is deemed more reliable and thus better to count, the smart move is to become certified and make it easier for your prospective customer to pick you.  

Now that we know how important inclusion is to your customers, it’s time to do all you can to leverage your position as a diverse-owned business. If you’re curious about how to identify if you’re a diverse-owned business specifically, check out this article for a more in-depth breakdown of different classifications.

Traditional Supplier Diversity Certifications

Below is a list of traditional supplier diversity certification entities. This list is not exhaustive, and there are many more certifying bodies both at the local and state levels depending on where your business is headquartered.

Supplier Diversity Certification in the Digital Age

SupplierGATEWAY uses advanced technology to enable sole proprietorships and small businesses who have limited resources (time and budget) to become certified and ultimately expand the opportunity to do business with major companies.

The Enhanced Digital Certification™ (EDC) is a fast and inexpensive way for a small business to get certified as a diverse-owned organization while at the same time exposing to new opportunities afforded by being in the SupplierGATEWAY network. EDC certifies all of the following categories and you can have more than one diversity category in your certification: 

To learn more, please visit here.