Now more than ever, consumers and companies alike are prioritizing businesses that are actively addressing diversity, equity and inclusion. They’re seeking out diverse suppliers – defined as businesses that are at least 51% owned, managed and operated by underrepresented groups – in an effort to address racial injustice and support minority entrepreneurs.

Being certified as a diverse supplier is more important than ever. Certification not only creates new business opportunities with larger corporations, it also increases access to resources and support. It serves as proof that your business is diverse, stable and ready to take on new growth opportunities.

At the Luminary Live Experience, a women’s empowerment conference sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, a panel of experts discussed how certification can be a game-changer for diverse business owners. Investing in this designation can provide your business with the opportunity to:

  1. Work with Fortune 500 companies. In 2021, 28 of these companies—known as the Billion Dollar Roundtable — spent $1 billion or more annually with diverse suppliers. (JPMorgan Chase is a longtime member of the roundtable.)
  2. Access critical resources and support. Diverse-owned business certification can connect you with mentors, a network of peers and access to capital.
  3. Grow for years to come. BDR spending with diverse suppliers has increased 150% since 2010. Many BDR members have also made long-term commitments to diverse-owned businesses.

The expert panel at the Luminary conference included Danielle Davis, Vice President at JPMorgan Chase; Angela Freeman, Senior Director at Houston Minority Supplier Development Council; Dr. April Day, President of the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance at WBENC Women’s Business Center; Branden Morris senior business consultant at Chase, and Kym Adams, CEO of The Business Team.

Why should diverse-owned businesses get certified?

DANIELLE DAVIS: With the right connections, diverse small business owners can develop new ideas, avoid common mistakes and uncover opportunities. Getting certified can help you build connections with hundreds of U.S. companies, representing billions of dollars in sourcing. Further, diversity certifications serve as proof that your company meets inclusion program requirements and can be considered for supplier contracts with large companies, such as JPMorgan Chase, that go through formal procurement processes, as well as the federal government.

What are the benefits for minority-owned businesses to get certified?

APRIL DAY: Certifying your business is an investment in your business. Corporations seek certified companies on an ongoing basis to ensure a diverse and competitive supplier base. The time spent now collecting documents and meeting with people can pay off for years to come.

Significant benefits include:

  1. Business opportunities. By getting certified, businesses are entered into a national database where customers go to find companies that can meet their business needs and advance their diversity goals.
  2. Access to capital. Certification provides companies with additional financing opportunities through banks and venture capital firms.
  3. Meaningful support. Certification organizations invest in their member businesses by providing educational sessions, training, networking events and matchmaking programs that can provide opportunities for connections and growth.

What does the official accreditation process entail?

ANGELA FREEMAN: Private sector supplier diversity certifications are based on national organization standards and guidelines that validate that a company is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more minorities, women, veterans, etc.  The National Minority Supplier Development Council is the originator of the certification process and is the nations ‘Gold Standard’ for certification.  Other national organizations that issue a certification through local or regional affiliates include the Women Business Enterprise National Council, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the National Veteran Business Development Council.  Government agencies and major corporations count on these certification standards to ensure that when reporting to the public, that they can count on the veracity of these verification processes to ensure that these programs are benefiting the underrepresented groups for which they are intended.

Why do you think there is reluctance among minority-owned business owners to get certified?

APRIL DAY: The certification process can be time consuming, so some minority-owned business owners hold off on getting certified. The rigor of the process ensures high standards and trust – but the result is being eligible for significant growth opportunities. We know that larger corporations are looking to expand their relationships with diverse-owned companies and we can help connect them. 

What resources does JPMorgan Chase provide to help diverse businesses get certified?

JPMorgan Chase has designated resources to help educate business owners about the game-changing effect of becoming a certified diverse-owned business. Business owners can learn more by accessing this how-to guide or visiting