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History of Supplier Diversity

Supplier diversity began in the late 1960s and early 1970s in conjunction with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Through executive orders and federal legislation, minority-owned firms were included in opportunities to bid on government projects and those of major corporations supplying the government.

Rigorous third-party certification of minority status was needed to reduce incidents of fraud and misrepresentations of the minority status of a business.  The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) was formed during the 1970s to certify businesses as Minority Business Enterprises. Since that time, other national organizations have been created to address the needs of different affinity groups, including women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) individuals, and individuals with disabilities. 

Below are the key milestones

March 5, 1969 The Beginning

President Nixon signed Executive Order 11458 which required government agencies and their contractors to contract with minority-owned companies and to report the results against pre-established goals.

1970s It’s the Right Thing to Do

MBDA Founded in 1971

NMSDC Founded in 1972

Small Business Administration launches loans for MBEs

Supplier Diversity Professionals are:

Public Relations and Community Affairs, MBE Coordinator / Community Affairs Specialist

1980s Government Compliance

Expanded MBE Focus by SBA

Governments Begin Reporting

Supplier Diversity Professionals are:

Compliance Manager, Minority Purchasing Manager

1990s Value Proposition

NMSDC Experiences a Renaissance 

Corporate Programs Begin to Grow

Supplier Diversity Professionals are:

Supplier Diversity Program Director / Minority Purchasing Program Manager

2000s Awards and Recognition


Increased Recognition of Strategic Importance

Supplier Diversity Professionals are:

Supplier Diversity Program VP / Global SD Director

2010s Focus on Return on Investment

NMSDC Continues Growth

Focus on quantifying the value proposition

Supplier Diversity Professionals are:

Global SD Director / SVP of Supplier Diversity