Economic Prosperity Builds Healthy Communities
The term supplier diversity refers to corporate business programs and initiatives that promote and help create economic prosperity in underserved communities. As an innovator in enabling healthy communities, we seek out small and diverse organizations to participate in our supplier diversity program.
Each year we support different programs and partnerships to help support small and diverse organizations, and this year is no different. On May 16th we are hosting a unique event with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council. This event is called the Vendor Opportunity Power Net Matchmaker, where over 125 small businesses representatives are expected to attend.
Recently we were able to sit down with Dana Hill, who manages supplier diversity for Florida Blue and ask him a few questions about our program and the event.
Q: What is a diverse supplier?
A: A supplier is an organization owned by an individual(s) of specific gender or ethnicity, including:
- Minority Business Enterprises
- Woman-Owned Business Enterprises
- Disabled-Owned Business Enterprises
- Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones)
- Veteran-Owned Businesses
- Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business
- Small Disadvantaged Business
- Small Business
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Owned Businesses
Some suppliers qualify because they fall under a federally protected class like veterans.
Q: What does it mean to be a diverse supplier?
A: You have to be certified as a diverse supplier, and there are several requirements that need to be met; including: be a citizen of the United States, have 51% ownership and operational control of the organization. Florida Blue works with several organizations or agencies to certify diverse suppliers.
Q: What is the importance of small and diverse businesses to Florida Blue?
A: There are several reasons we seek out diverse businesses to participate in the process. Florida is one of the most diverse marketplaces in the country, so we strive to have our supply base mirror our customer base and the communities that we serve. It is also important to note that diverse suppliers are usually more contemporary in their partnership with Florida Blue.
Q: Dana, what do you mean by contemporary?
A: At Florida Blue, it is part of our company vision to foster innovation. The combination of community knowledge and innovation are powerful attributes. We look for suppliers to bring new ideas and deliver efficiency and excellence.
Q: How long have you been in the role?
A: I have been in this role for six years. The most gratifying thing about this opportunity is to realize because of the program, Florida Blue has assisted in the creation of jobs in our communities. Economically prosperous communities are healthier and jobs lead to that goal.
Q: What would you say to a diverse supplier that wants to do business with Florida Blue?
A: The first step is that you will need to become certified as a diverse supplier.
Q: How would they do that, Dana?
A: There are several certifying entities based on your classification. For instance, one of the largest certifying organizations for ethnic minorities in the United States is The National Minority Supplier Development Council. You also have the Women's Business Enterprise Council (WBNEC), the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and the Small Business Association (SBA).
Q: Can you tell us about the event on May 16th?
A: This event is unique for North Florida. We are partnering with two organizations that have a strong history of supporting small and minority-owned businesses, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council. The focus of the event is the matchmaking sessions where small businesses can actually meet one-on-one with procurement personals from several corporations to showcase their products and services.
Q: Dana, if a “certified” supplier is interested in partnering with Florida Blue, how would they do that?
A: They will need to go online to our corporate website, look under the About Us section and see the diversity area and follow the instructions for completing the registration packet. Registering is the first step in the process, once that is complete we match the needs of the business with a potential supplier.
Filed under: Innovation
Sharon is a daughter, sister, proud mother & well-loved wife. She calls herself a #socialmedia storyteller and definitely not a guru. She is a proud graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Follower her on twitter at @sharonlroy and @chefandbride.