Supplier diversity is a strategic and intentional business process that proactively engages, supports and enables businesses owned by indigenous peoples, minority ethnic groups, women and social enterprises to be engaged in supply chains. This is known as business to business (B2B) procurement. Its aim is to level the playing field so these businesses have fairer access to customers and markets.
The benefit for clients and buyers is a more competitive market for goods, services and works, and potential for innovation and accessing untapped markets. Having strong supplier diversity and development practices creates a competitive edge for businesses tendering for public sector contracts where supplier diversity is a requirement.
Many countries – for example, the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, South Africa and China – have supplier diversity initiatives, including intermediaries (like He Waka Eke Noa) and policies for public sector social/sustainable procurement requirements. All the international evidence shows that supplier diversity initiatives ensure that indigenous, minority ethnic and women-owned businesses have opportunities to share in economic opportunities and prosperity and grow entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in their communities.
Here in Aotearoa, our experience is that Māori and Pasifika businesses are the untapped change agents in creating a more inclusive, and more sustainable, NZ Inc. Entrepreneurship is one of the key ways Māori and Pasifika can build wealth for their families and communities, and the businesses we work with employ proportionately more Māori and Pasifika peoples than other businesses.