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Business Sense

When Your Goal is Inclusion, Remember Your Supply Chain

When most business owners hear the word "inclusive," certain things likely come to mind. Are they an equal opportunity employer welcoming of diverse perspectives?  Are their facilities, tools and technologies accessible to all workers?  And do they offer a flexible workplace to those employees who need it? 

Clearly, these are all important aspects of being an inclusive organization, and they have significant benefit in today's increasingly diverse America. But companies that want to go even further also look externally, at their supply chain. Whether you're a small business purchasing office supplies or a large manufacturer sourcing raw materials for your products, the suppliers with whom you do business say a lot about you and your company culture. And in today's marketplace, a genuinely diverse supply chain includes businesses owned by people with disabilities, including disabled veterans.

A program managed by the U.S. Business Leadership Network® (USBLN), an ODEP Alliance Partner, is linking businesses with firms that are 51% or more owned, operated, controlled and managed by individual(s) with disabilities. This Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) serves in an advocacy and certification role, linking disability-owned businesses to information, resources and contract opportunities with corporate America, government and other buying organizations.

In order to gain access to potential contracting opportunities, individuals and veterans with disabilities who own their own business should consider becoming a USBLN® certified disability-owned business. Moreover, companies nationwide, regardless of size, can use the DSDP to find these firms and further their commitment to diversity and inclusion — in every corner of their business.

To learn more about the DSDP, visit

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