Supplier diversity initiatives have existed in the business community for at least three decades, going back to the inception of such nation-wide groups as the National Association of Women Business Owners and the National Minority Business Council, both founded in the early 1970s to promote the inclusion of these under-utilized entrepreneurial groups. Furthermore, there are federal initiatives such as the Center for Veterans Enterprise that is designed to assist United States' veterans in launching and thriving in private business. These initiatives intend to give more equitable opportunities to those would-be small business owners who are more like to face social and practical barriers to success.
The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce began certifying LGBTQ-owned small businesses in 2002, a process that requires substantiation of majority LGBTQ ownership in a business and verification of a business' good standing in the community.
Supplier diversity initiatives are a win-win relationship for both the LGBTQ-owned small businesses and the businesses that contract them. By courting LGBTQ-owned businesses, companies such as IBM and Marriott International and law firms such as Jenner & Block demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ inclusion, and reap the benefits of working with businesses in the diverse communities in which they operate.
The HRC Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index surveys on supplier diversity programs under the Public Engagement section of our criteria. While a best practice, LGBTQ-owned businesses do not need to be certified with the NGLCC for a company to earn credit for contracting with such diverse businesses. In the 2013 CEI, 50% of employers reported having supplier diversity programs. Of these 57% reported that their diversity programs include LGBTQ-owned businesses.