Happy New Year! Or is it?
Before I get into all the good news for supplier diversity, I want to tell you I understand if you’re skeptical. My new year did not start out as the happiest.
My family and I spent the holidays with COVID this year. It would have been nice to then spend the holidays together because hey, we already have it! But, we felt to crummy to even try. My oldest child was the only one who tested negative (twice!) until he went to school for one day and came home feeling sick. Yep, COVID. We’ve been home for what feels like months and this week is the first week (fingers crossed) we’ll be back in the routine.
2022 does not necessarily feel like a whole new year, fresh start. It’s perhaps not the mixed bag that 2021 was at this point but resilience in the face of uncertainty and instability is still just as critical.
We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. this week and with that a reckoning of how far we still have to go in uprooting systemic racism.
The question as we look back on our past and to where we are going: What IS new? Or simply, what is the good news?
Despite what the preceding paragraphs would have you believe, I’m an optimist. Glass half full, the sun will come out tomorrow – the whole thing. And while I’m not willing to say that things are completely changed, I did feel a tingle of hope that this Omicron wave looks like it’s peaking in the Northeast. History shows us we have met challenges to racial justice before and as Dr. King said, with democracy, anything is possible.
Your new customers
For your business, then, what is the good news? I tell my clients that this is a great time for diverse suppliers and these are some of the reasons why:
- Companies have more energy (ie more budget and C-suite support) around supplier diversity initiatives since 2020. Diverse companies are those enterprises owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and veterans. Supplier diversity programs are geared for these diverse suppliers to connect with large purchasing organizations as vendors.
- I was at a WBENC conference in November where they said that since 2020 they have had 140 new members. That’s 140 companies who have a commitment to buying from diverse suppliers, and who may have big mandates they need to meet.
- In fact, this year is WBENC’s 25th anniversary and (fingers crossed) they are holding their major national conference, in person, in Atlanta in June. The November conference indicated to me that everyone is ready to get back together and make connections, which will make this an epic conference (God willing and the COVID don’t rise).
- Because of the renewed focus and new companies involved, there is an emphasis on doing things differently. Stakeholders are focusing on mega-size MBEs (and, we hope WBEs soon) and rethinking how supplier diversity programs provide access to business owners.
I’m here for you
Well, happy new year, indeed. I talked myself into it! And if you’re reading this thinking that you’d like to take advantage of some of these options – you are in the right place at the right time. Get in touch. If you’re a diverse supplier, now is a great time to leverage that certification. If you’re not certified, it’s a good time to check it out.