How Buyers Can Diversify Supply Chains


Buying from small and diverse businesses strengthens our local economy by creating jobs, helping improve and maintain our local public infrastructure through tax revenue, and benefiting our communities both socially and economically.    

The state benefits from a stronger competitive base with a more diverse supplier pool, can better respond to emergencies, and provides more continuity in the supply chain and better adaptability to fluctuations in the economy.  Below are the steps you can take to create a more diverse supply chain.

1. Identify funding sources and understand legal parameters

Funding will impact what you can implement and understanding legal parameters will help you establish a program that is legally defensible and compliant. When providing preference based on race or gender, the program must be narrowly tailored and follow strict scrutiny.

2. Use data

Define terms and supplier classifications to measure supplier utilization. Determine if you accept self-certified (self-identified) classifications or if you require certification to accept the business ownership designation. A certified supplier is considered more credible as the supplier has to complete a process where another entity certifies or validates their supplier ownership designation. Use data to understand what is being purchased (total spend) and compare it to what you spend with small and diverse suppliers.  

For construction, look at reporting by prime contractors on their utilization of small and diverse subcontractors. Identify barriers and find solutions to remove them by creating community groups with internal stakeholders to inform your work.

3. Create policy

Create a policy for the utilization of small and diverse suppliers. The policy should address why it is important, how it will be implemented, and when implementation will begin.

4. Find opportunities

Make a conscious effort to include small diverse suppliers in your supply chain. Use small and diverse suppliers with small-dollar spending (state and local government, public institutions of higher education, and K-12 schools have established spending thresholds for small-dollar purchases, also known as discretionary spending).  

Using small and diverse suppliers for these purchases presents a big opportunity for both buyers and sellers!

5. Ask for certifications for small and diverse businesses or diversity plans

Ask contractors for an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA) plan to understand your supplier’s efforts in using a small and diverse supply chain and having inclusive employment practices.

6. Use tools and create your own supplier lists

Find small and diverse suppliers (see the links below) and contact these suppliers when opportunities are available.

7. Community outreach

Include information on your agency website on how suppliers can work with you for both small and large dollar purchases.

Participate in trade shows, expos, and events to meet and talk with small and diverse suppliers and use procurement data to inform where to focus outreach efforts.


Find Small & Diverse Suppliers


You are all in and want to do business with small and diverse businesses but where do you find them?  There are many options to identify these small and diverse suppliers and we have compiled a list of ways you may be able to find small and diverse suppliers. More opportunities to find small and diverse suppliers can be found on our certifications for small & diverse businesses webpage

State and Local Government

Colorado Department of Transportation Certified Suppliers

City & County of Denver

Federal Government 

Private Sector 

If you often find yourself using Amazon for purchases, check out Amazon’s supplier diversity setting and set your search criteria to highlight small and diverse suppliers.

Find other Chambers of Commerce through the Colorado Chamber of Commerce.


  Colorado Supplier Diversity Navigator

Connecting small and diverse businesses with the resources to be successful in state contracts and procurement.


Services Provided

  • Assistance with responding to solicitations for State contracts*
  • Availability of opportunities
  • Interpretation of solicitation documents
  • Solicitation response procedures and best practices
  • Bond assistance

*Assistance does not imply guidance that will give a respondent an unfair advantage when answering a solicitation.