When it comes to supplier diversity, President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill and the $1.2 trillion compromise that was just announced, could pose an outstanding opportunity for underrepresented suppliers. Even though the approval process for this massive bill is still underway, government procurement agents are likely ramping up their networks to find vendors and suppliers to fulfill the coming projects. Suppliers and vendors should be doing everything they can to help themselves stand out among the many vendors that will be bidding, and having diversity classifications can help.
Supplier diversity programs have become popular in many government agencies, with the goal to support underrepresented groups by allocating a percentage of diverse suppliers who the department wants to hire. The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) offers a nationally recognized certification, Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®), which could help businesses owned by members of the LGBT-owned business community secure corporate and government contracts. For a company to qualify for a diversity classification, the general rule is that 51 percent of the company is owned and operated by a member(s) of an underrepresented group.
Benefits of becoming Certified LGBTBE
As supplier diversity initiatives and the drive to help underrepresented groups succeed grow, there are some clear benefits of becoming certified through the NGLCC. As noted on their website, just some of the benefits include:
- Becoming part of the NGLCC network with both government and corporate partners looking to engage in contracts with LGBT-owned businesses, in addition to the B2B opportunities presented by other certified businesses
- Reporting shows that certified businesses stay in business about twice as long than the average American small business because of resources and opportunities that are presented by the organization
- Inclusion in the searchable database of certified businesses as well as in-person networking opportunities
- Ability to participate in mentorship programs, leadership trainings and scholarship opportunities
How do you qualify?
This is a certification program, so all businesses must apply and qualify to become a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise. Qualifications listed on the NGLCC website include:
- Be at least 51 percent owned, operated, managed and controlled by an LGBT person or persons who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
- Exercise independence from any non-LGBT business enterprise
- Have its headquarters in the U.S.
- Have been formed as a legal entity in the U.S.
The organization also offers a Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Task Force as well as a Communities of Color Initiative (CoCi) that could be incredibly helpful to advancing supplier diversity for these groups.
Take the time now
The NGLCC website notes that the approval process can take between 60 and 90 days from the receipt of a complete application. LGBT-owned businesses looking to become certified should start collecting their application materials and apply as soon as possible to ensure their certification is processed before any infrastructure funds become available.
Does your business qualify for the national LGBT classification? How will you make sure that your certification is completed before bidding for Infrastructure Bill projects?