The FCC Hosts a One-Day Supplier Diversity Workshop

Workshop with include networking opportunities for small businesses including women-owned, minority-owned along with other diverse groups

Today (Monday, June 5) the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) and Media Bureau (MB), in partnership with the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE) is hosting a one-day supplier diversity workshop for small businesses owned by women, and other diverse groups.

For the last 8 months, I have had the pleasure of serving on the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE) and chairing the Digital Empowerment and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group. (To learn more about the advisory group’s charge visit https://www.fcc.gov/advisory-committee-diversity-and-digital-empowerment.)

A Mission of Empowerment 
The mission of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Commission on how to empower disadvantaged communities and accelerate the entry of small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities and other diverse groups, into the media, digital news and information, and audio and video programming industries, as owners, suppliers, and employees. The Committee is also charged to provide recommendations to the Commission on how to ensure disadvantaged communities are not denied the wide range of benefits and opportunities made possible by broadband networks and advanced technologies.

It is within this context that our Working Group partnered with the OCBO and the FCC’s Media Bureau to host a workshop for small and diverse businesses and for corporate supplier executives. During the workshop the small business entrepreneurs will learn from industry leaders how to navigate corporate supplier diversity programs, identify successful strategies utilized by diverse entrepreneurs who do business with corporate entities, and will be able to participate in confidential one-on-one networking sessions with participating firms to increase awareness about the expectations of procurement managers responsible for goods and services contracting.

The engagement of small diverse businesses is important to me – particularly small, women-owned businesses.  In March, I wrote a blog celebrating Women’s History Month on the important role women have played in advancing technology since the 1950’s and the gender gap in technology jobs which can be traced back to the early eighties.  While the article addressed gender disparity in technology, it is also important to be mindful of the gender disparity in entrepreneurship.

Women entrepreneurs have a harder time securing funding and investments. An article published by Forbes in December 2017 stated that 17 percent of startups were women-led and yet they receive less than three percent of venture capital investments.  Yet women-led businesses move forward with limited resources and tend to create and yield comparable, if not higher, returns on investments.

However, it is not all bad news. Study after study illustrates an increase in women-owned businesses. Between 1997 and 2017, the number of women-owned businesses has grown by about 114 percent[1]. While we have made tremendous strides in creating opportunity for women-entrepreneurs to thrive, there is much work that still needs to be done.  This is why this one-day supplier diversity workshop is critical helping to create dialogue between women business owners with corporate entities that share insights and strategies for engagement and securing contracts.

If you would like to learn more about the event please click here here for the FCC’s Public Notice or go to the website https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2018/06/supplier-diversity-conference-and-workshop. If you want to follow the event on social media via Twitter, please use the hashtag #FCCLive or #FCCSupplierDiversity.

[1] American Express, “The 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report”. 2017. http://about.americanexpress.com/news/docs/2017-State-of-Women-Owned-Businesses-Report.pdf.

 

 

About the Author:  Heather Gate is the Director of Digital Inclusion for Connected Nation. She is responsible for strategy development and implementation of programs that impact Digital Inclusion for all people in all places. She provides project management services including identification of program challenges and goals as well as day-to-day oversight and funding research.  Heather also serves on the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE).

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