By Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD
In case you didn’t know this, MEDiAHEAD is a Woman Owned Business. Yes, 100%. Our fearless leader is Kat McDaniel-Ditch.
There are several steps to take to get certified as a minority owned business. If you’re looking into doing this type of structure at your business, I recommend doing the research first. It’s an extremely daunting task! It ends up being well worth it, but it does take a considerable amount of time to earn this designation.
We are certified in Missouri, Kansas, the City of Kansas City and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). There are several advantages of being a minority-owned business. One advantage is that many organizations want to do business with minority-owned businesses and prefer to do so.
Making Companies Stronger
Business leaders are aware that supporting minority-owned businesses isn’t just good for public relations, it can also make their companies stronger. Adding more diversity to a company’s supplier base allows a business to better survive an economic downturn, deal with labor strikes or shortages and bring new products to market more quickly.
When you are a minority owned business, you can participate in special government programs, including government contracting opportunities. Federal government agencies are mandated to reward a substantial number of contracts to certified minority-owned businesses. Anywhere from five to twenty-five percent of the money spent on contracts for certain projects must go to minority-owned businesses.
Large companies benefit from working with minority-owned businesses and some have set goals around expanding their partnerships with them. Also, many corporations have a supplier diversity program in place. For most companies, the commitment to minority and women-owned business purchasing is goal-focuses and measured. The pressure for more supplier diversity initially was created by affirmative action; however, most companies now see many benefits when working with smaller, minority owned businesses. Small businesses, women, and minorities make up their customer base. Government contractors understand the importance of supplier diversity for winning contracts.
Most large corporations have sizable staff, large budgets, and large dollar amounts devoted to supplier diversity. For example, roughly 97% of the Fortune 500 companies set percentages or dollar goals on supplier diversity. In those Fortune 500 companies, the staff to support supplier diversity is growing as well, with an average of two to three individuals assigned to this function. As budgets have increased, so have the requirements for personnel, programs, advertising, marketing, training, conferences and seminars.
Secondary programs, such as mentor-protégé and training, are growing as more companies seek to help minority suppliers gain more training and access to contracts.
Purchasing-based association advocates are also gaining clout. The Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and Women Business Development Council, the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Women Business Owners Corporation, the Minority Business Round Table and the Latin American Management Association are gaining influence with corporations.
As more money is spent with suppliers, pressure will increase as interest groups send report cards to corporate CEO’s diversity councils, and Boards. The government and media pay attention to supplier diversity programs, and awards and recognition in this area are on the rise. They actually have a checklist; they have to report on.
Supplier Diversity Program Checklist:
- Total dollars per year
- Dollars spent last year
- Percentage of total procurement
- Executive Support
- Executive Diversity Council
- Board of Directors
- Structure and Staffing
- Provide staff leadership
- Provide structural support
- Communicate goals and results
- Publish goals and results
- Use internal and external publications as well as the Internet
- Highlight some of their suppliers
- Ensure accountability for meeting or exceeding the Supplier Diversity Goals
- Measure results
- Award performance
- Penalize deficiencies and goals not reached
- Link to performance evaluations
- Provide periodic reports
- Encourage Special Programs
Best-practice companies should always evaluate vendors to find the ones with the most experience, knowledge, and capability needed to provide products and services that reflect the diversity of their company. A huge factor of these efforts involves nurturing relationships with typically underutilized businesses and working to incorporate these companies into their network of vendors whenever possible.
Growing a diverse supplier base only makes sense. We see increasingly diverse markets that companies serve in this global age. Companies that combine outstanding supplier diversity initiatives and outcomes with other best-in-class diversity and inclusion programs will maintain a competitive advantage, win new business, support local businesses, retain customers, and reinforce their brands.
Support Minority Owned Businesses!
MEDiAHEAD supports diversity in the workplace. What is diversity? It means that a company employs a wide range of diverse individuals. People with different characteristics. Diversity in the workplace includes individuals of varying gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, languages, education and other attributes.
Some of the benefits of diversity:
- Variety of different perspectives
- Increased creativity
- Higher innovation
- Faster problem solving
- Better decision making
- Higher employee engagement
- Reduced employee turnover
- Better company reputation
- Improved hiring results