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Diversity Classifications: Businesses Owned by People with Disabilities

Diversity classifications can help underrepresented groups secure government contracts. As supplier diversity programs become more popular in government procurement departments, businesses that meet diversity classifications would benefit from securing those certifications and including them on their bids. Especially as it was just announced that a deal has been made for $1.2 trillion in potential funding as President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill continues to work its way through the legislative process. 

Disability: IN is a nationally recognized certification program for business enterprises owned by people with disabilities (DOBE®), business enterprises owned by veterans with disabilities (V-DOBE®) and business enterprises owned by veterans disabled during service (SDV-DOBE®). This certification is recognized by both the government and private sector, making it particularly appealing and helpful for business owners looking to participate in an organization’s supplier diversity program. 

What are the benefits of Disability: IN?
The goal of Disability: IN is to make working environments more inclusive for employees with disabilities. They work directly with companies and government agencies to reach their mission, and they also provide resources to companies owned by people with disabilities. By becoming a certified DOBE, V-DOBE, or SDV-DOBE, companies will be included in the Supplier Diversity Sourcing HUB, which helps both corporate and government buyers find qualified suppliers that meet their supplier diversity requirements. The organization also hosts a variety of events including their annual conference in the U.S., a global summit, and has affiliate offices across the U.S. for a more personal touch. They offer strategic alliances with other organizations that promote supplier diversity for other underrepresented groups. Disability: IN also provides information and resources, policy advocacy, and a networking and business matchmaking service. 

How do companies qualify?
This is a certification program, so all businesses must apply and qualify to access program benefits and include the Disability: IN status on their upcoming bids. Qualifications listed on their Get Certified page include: 

  • DOBE – A business which is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a person(s) with a disability
  • V-DOBE – A business which is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a veteran, but disability was not incurred during their time of service
  • SDV-DOBE – A business which is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a veteran, who sustained their disability during their time of service
  • Must make day-to-day business decisions for the company

Don’t wait to certify
While it may seem like the Infrastructure Bill spend is still a ways off, you’ll want to be ready to go once it’s approved. Companies that feel they qualify for Disability: IN can check out their certification checklist and start the certification process all online. Once approved, DOBEs, V-DOBEs and SDV-DOBEs will be able to include this certification on their upcoming Infrastructure Bill bids to help them stand out and meet agencies’ supplier diversity goals.   

Are you the owner of a business that also has a disability? How could a program like Disability: IN help you secure both fundings from the upcoming Infrastructure funding or even connect with private corporations to get new contracts?