1950s to Now: The History of the Supplier Diversity Business InitiativesAugust 31, 2021
- With the Small Business Act of 1953, Congress established the Small Business Administration to “aid, counsel, assist, and protect, the interests of small business concerns” and ensure that small businesses received a fair portion of government contracts.
- The Small Business Investment Act of 1958 provided programs for investment, such as small business investment companies and certified development companies.
- Neither of the Acts established in the 1950s required that small businesses be owned by a member of a minority group. That directive was authorized by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which called for an end of discrimination that gave greater opportunities to majority-owned companies.
- Another boost to anti-discrimination initiatives came in 1969 when the Office of Minority Business Enterprise was established. Two years later, the scope of the OMBE was expanded to provide grants so that business groups could provide technical and operational guidance to diverse suppliers.
- The OMBE expansion gave rise to the founding of the National Minority Purchasing Council, now known as the National Minority Supplier Development Council, in 1972. The group has a vast network that supports and facilitates minority-owned businesses into corporate and public sector supply chains.
- The Small Business Act of 1978 redefined minority firms as socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses and required federal agencies to establish contracting goals for major federal contracts. The act also established the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to heighten awareness among small and diverse businesses of federal contracting opportunities available within the federal government.
- In 1979, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to promote the economic growth of Hispanic-owned businesses.
- The U.S. Pacific Asian American Chamber of Commerce was created to represent the interests of the diverse pan Asian business and professional community.
- In 1987, the National Defense Authorization Act called for a 5% contracting goal for SDBs.
- The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 created a 5% contracting goal for women-owned small businesses.
- In 1997, two important events impacted supplier diversity:
- The launch of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council was launched in 1997 to foster the success and advancement of certified women-owned firms.
- The HUBZone Empowerment Act was passed in 1997 with the goal of awarding at least 3% of federal contract dollars to small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones.
- The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 established spending goals for Veteran-owned Small Businesses and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.
The 2000s and Beyond
- The National Veteran-Owned Business Association was founded in 2001 to create corporate contracting opportunities for America’s veterans and service-disabled veterans’ business enterprises.
- The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2002 to ensure the implementation of pro-business LGBTQ-inclusive policies at corporations of public entities.
- In 2010, the Small Business Jobs Act expanded access to capital for small businesses, increased exporting initiatives and strengthened contracting opportunities.
- Supplier diversity continues to gain momentum in the U.S. and around the world as more companies realize the benefits of an inclusive supply chain. Challenges likely lay ahead for corporations and entrepreneurs, but the path to a stronger economy and marketplace is paved with the benefits of engaging diverse suppliers.
The original article can be read here.