The talent that lives within a diverse project team can provide the finest design, construction and consulting solutions that our projects demand. But first, we must provide access to the opportunities.
It takes intentionality and accountability to cultivate and maintain a diverse workforce and supplier base. When businesses have equitable opportunities to develop and grow competitively, the workforce begins to represent the diversity of the community it serves.
Businesses across industries are establishing diverse business utilization goals to build a culture of inclusion. Companies must be mindful to include the diverse business community in meaningful outreach activities, relationship building and teaming opportunities. To do so, it’s key to understand the various business classifications. Here’s a breakdown:
- Disadvantaged Business Enterprise — A for-profit small business where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least 51% interest and also control management and daily business operations. As recipients of Department of Transportation (DOT) financial assistance, state and local transportation agencies are responsible for certifying the eligibility of disadvantaged business enterprise firms to participate in their DOT-assisted contracts.
- Small Business — A business that is not dominant in the field of operation in which it is bidding; independently owned and operated; organized for profit; located in the U.S. and operated primarily within the U.S. or made a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of U.S. products, materials or labor.
- Small Disadvantaged Business — A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Businesses approved for the 8(a) program are automatically certified as Small Disadvantaged Businesses.
- Veteran-Owned — A business that is at least 51% owned by one or more veterans. If publicly owned, not less than 51% of the stock is owned by one or more veterans; management and daily operations are controlled by one or more veterans.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned — A business that is unconditionally owned and controlled by a Service-Disabled Veteran (SDV). The SDV must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense.
- Disability-Owned Business — An independently owned and operated business that is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more individuals who have a disability — a physical and/or mental impairment— that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- HUBZone Certified Small Business — These businesses are included in the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997; located in a qualified Census tract (1986 IRS code) or a qualified "non-metropolitan county,” that is not located in a metropolitan statistical area; the median household income is less than 80% of the state's median household income or has an unemployment rate that is no less than 140% the statewide average or is within the external boundaries of an Indian reservation. These businesses are owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens, at least 35% of its employees reside in a HUBZone and must be a small business.
- Minority-Owned Business — A business that is at least 51% owned by a minority individual who may be Black, Hispanic or Native American, including Eskimos, those of Hawaiian descent, Indian, or of Asian Pacific origin; if publicly owned, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more minority individuals; management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more minority individuals.
- Woman-Owned Business — A business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women; if publicly held, at least 51% of stock is owned by one or more women; management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more women.
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Business Enterprise — An independently owned and operated business at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by an LGBT person.
Working across the U.S. and around the world demands broad knowledge. A proactive approach to cultivating and maintaining a diverse workforce and supplier base allows companies to embrace local know-how. By leveraging diverse supplier partnerships, businesses can also strengthen the support of their local communities and achieve results that are critical for the success of all.
This post is part of Together By Design, a quarterly business diversity newsletter published by Burns & McDonnell to advance a community of inclusion. This newsletter features stories of great opportunity, leaders who bring out the best in others, innovative approaches, and diverse perspectives that shape the business community and the world at large.