How (and why) to get your business supplier diversity certification

Certification can open additional opportunities with government and corporate agencies, and it can be used as a marketing tool.

Tags: Best practices
Published: October 30, 2019

Are you in growth mode? Consider getting a certification for business supplier diversity. This certification offers access to expanded contracting opportunities and a higher likelihood of becoming a supplier to corporations and government agencies.

As a marketing tool, certification can also serve as a critical point of differentiation between your business and your competitors. Certification can especially help make an impact on corporations committed to creating a diverse supply chain and that have a targeted goal for spending with diverse-owned businesses (meaning a business owned by member(s) representing individuals from one or more inclusive diverse classifications, such as gender, ethnicity, race and many more).

What is a diversity certificate?

A diversity certification is a review process to verify a business is 51 percent or more owned, controlled and operated by a diverse applicant or applicants. An authorized third party or regulatory agency performs the diversity certification. Companies that are successfully certified are provided documentation in the form of a letter or a certificate.

How do you get certified?

Depending upon your diversity classification (such as: minority, female, veteran, service disabled veteran-owned or other) you will find that many federal, state and local governments have programs that certify diverse suppliers. Inquire with your local municipality or state for program participation. There are also national organizations that provide this service as well: 

    ●  National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

    ●  Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

    ●  National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

Some certifying agencies are fee-based while others require no fee at all. Additionally, your business and goals should help you determine the certification that is most beneficial. For example, if your customers are primarily corporate or in the private sector, then national certification would be more meaningful. In the public sector, government customers tend to prefer certifications from their own state government certification agencies.

You’ve gained certification, now what?

Let people know. Holding a diversity certificate does not guarantee sales, but it is a valuable tool used to open doors to opportunities, increase visibility and build relationships. Mention your certification at every opportunity and inform your current and potential customers that in addition to offering superior goods and services, your certification will assist them in meeting their supplier diversity goals.  Gaining certification is a true accomplishment and should be celebrated and socialized.  Make sure to use it as a key marketing tool by promoting it on social, your website and other places you talk about your business.


Interested in expanding your federal business? Continue reading to learn more about U.S. Bank’s Supplier Diversity Program.