The Wisconsin Diverse Supplier Program
The Wisconsin Supplier Diversity Program (SDP) certifies Minority-Owned (MBE), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (DVB), and Woman-Owned (WBE) businesses to provide opportunities for them to do business with the State of Wisconsin.
The SDP also assists the State of Wisconsin in achieving its goal of spending 5% of state dollars on Minority-Owned businesses through state contract bidding. For the first time in six years, Wisconsin met this goal by spending $137.3 million or 5.4% of state dollars on contracts with Minority-Owned businesses. More information about the SDP is available here.
How does Wisconsin spend 5% of state dollars on MBEs?
Suppliers must bid on projects to get contracts with the State of Wisconsin. For the most part, the lowest, most responsive, responsible bidder is awarded the contract. Certified Minority-Owned businesses (MBEs) may receive a permissive 5% preference when bidding on State Contracts. This means that when the State of Wisconsin is reviewing bids, its goal is to grant 5% of the money allocated to partner with MBEs on said contracts. The Wisconsin Diverse Supplier Program (SDP) ensures that MBEs have equal access to state contracts and opportunities to do business with the State.
How do you find and apply for these State Contracts?
The first thing your business will need to do is apply for State of Wisconsin certification. To start the process, click here. Next, your business will need to become MBE certified. To do so, click here and follow the instructions for the MBE application process.
Once your business has been certified by the State of WI as an MBE, you can search these sites for bidding opportunities:
Additionally, your business will also be registered in a database. State agencies looking to contract with MBEs may use this database to locate qualified businesses. To maintain your business's MBE certification, you will submit an annual update and recertification.
Diverse Business Development Program
The Diverse Business Development program (DBD )is administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which works collaboratively with other agencies, corporations and nonprofit minority business associations to provide operational and financial assistance, resources, and networking opportunities to minority entrepreneurs and business owners.
The DBD program is designed to support minority, women, LGBT, and veteran business development through direct grant assistance to nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin. Funding provided to eligible non-profits is intended to promote investment and job retention and creation in diverse communities and underserved markets by increasing access to capital and business development training opportunities.
For a nonprofit to be eligible for a DBD grant, the organization must provide business financing, training or technical assistance to the diverse business community. The DBD program has a continuous application process. Applicants for a DBD grant should complete an application through an Account Manager at WEDC.
If you think that your business would be a good fit for a DBD grant, start the application process today! Contact WEDC here to get started.
Additional Resources for Minority Owned Businesses:
- Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC): Assists individuals who are interested in starting, strengthening or expanding businesses by providing direct lending, quality business and financial capability education and one-on-one technical business assistance. Services are open to anyone but their primary focus is women, people of color and people of lower wealth – those most likely to face barriers in accessing financing or educational support.
- Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation: In addition to the Diverse Business Development (DBD) program, WEDC also provides many financial development opportunities to businesses as well as support for entrepreneurs and training programs.
- Wisconsin Procurement Institute: Provides assistance to businesses applying for certifications and bidding on federal, state and local contracts.
- Wisconsin's Department of Transportation's (WisDOT) Office of Business Opportunity and Equity Compliance (OBOEC): In addition to certifying diverse suppliers, OBOEC offers a mentor/mentee program, networking events, and other training opportunities.
- Small Business Association (SBA): In addition to their loan programs, SBA has training on growing and sustaining businesses.