The power of supplier diversity

The power of supplier diversity

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Ryan Nearing
Manager, Membership, and Supplier Diversity, Canada's LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce

Canada is home to over 100,000 LGBT+ entrepreneurs. Collectively, our businesses generate $22 billion in economic activity - and employ over 435,000 employees - or the entire population of Halifax.

The profile of LGBT+ entrepreneurs also tends to be quite unique. Compared to the average Canadian businesses, LGBT+ owned businesses are more likely to be self-employed, more likely to be younger entrepreneurs, more likely to serve more domestic markets––and incredibly more likely to employ and work with other diverse-owned businesses.

In other worlds - LGBT+ business is big business. However, significant barriers still remain.

In 2018, Nielsen conducted a landscape study on the state of LGBT+ entrepreneurship in Canada. That study found that one in two LGBT+ businesses have purposely hidden the fact their company has LGBT+ ownership. One in three believe they have lost opportunities because of their businesses’ LGBT+ ownership - and three in 10 have faced discrimination.

These barriers are preventing LGBT+ entrepreneurs from fully participating in the Canadian economy - which is detrimental particularly as we continue to recover from COVID-19.

Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) works to reduce those barriers.

Established in 2003, we are a membership driven, broad-based coalition of LGBT+ businesses and entrepreneurs, allies, government liaisons, corporate members, community partners, and students of business collectively advocating for and working towards a more inclusive Canadian economy - one connection at a time.

Our general membership is open to both individuals and businesses - as well as members of and allies to the LGBT+ community. This big tent approach allows us to create the broadest coalition possible advancing LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship in Canada.

From our general membership, there is an opportunity to participate in any of our four streamlined programs - including our Supplier Diversity Program. Our Supplier Diversity Program works to fill the tables of progressive organizations looking to diversify their supply chains with innovative LGBT+ certified suppliers who can competitively meet their purchasing needs.

CGLCC acts as Canada’s certifying body for LGBT+ owned businesses. This means we certify Canadian, for-profit entities that are at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a member of the LGBT+ community as LGBT+ certified suppliers - or LGBT+ Business Enterprise (LGBTBE).

Then, we connect these LGBT+ certified suppliers with corporate and government members who are actively looking to diversify their supply chains with more underrepresented groups.

Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce is also a member of a broader coalition, called Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada (SDAC). Each SDAC member (WBE Canada, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, and Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada) certify Canadian, for-profit entities from their respective constituencies––connecting them with purchasing and procurement opportunities.

Simply put - supplier diversity is an opportunity to implement diversity and inclusion best practices into general business operations. This is how you can truly and sustainably contribute to economic empowerment of the LGBT+ community.

We also work very closely with corporations across Canada to advance and champion internal diversity and inclusion efforts. Specifically, this includes our Rainbow Registered LGBT+ Friendly Accreditation Program.

Not only is having LGBT+ friendly policies in your company the right thing to do – it’s also good for business. So, what does it mean to be rainbow registered? Rainbow Registered is a national accreditation for LGBT+ friendly businesses and organizations. When you see a Rainbow Registered symbol, you know the business or organization meets a stringent set of standards to ensure LGBT+ customers feel safe, welcomed, and accepted.

The accreditation program grants a time-limited recognition to businesses and organizations for demonstrating compliance with the quality standard. Accredited businesses are deemed market ready for the LGBT+ customer and given the right to be associated with the program’s prestigious Rainbow Registered designation mark.

For our corporate members, we offer tailored diversity and n training for your entire team.

As a final takeaway, I’d like to highlight how you can support supplier diversity.

If you are eligible for certification, contact Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce or the certifying body that represents your constituency.

If you are already a diverse certified supplier, explore how to maximize your certification.
If you have an established supply chain, discuss how to establish your own Supplier Diversity Program.

And no matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber Commerce is here to help.

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