This year we decided to do something different, profiling a SDMWVLGBTBE (Small Disadvantaged or Disabled, Minority, Women, Veteran, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered Business Enterprise) and a specific diverse certification. Samantha Smith interviews potential businesses, so email us with a request to be included — no, you don’t have to be a GetDiversityCertified.com client. Next up, SourceOne Innovations, Inc.
SourceOne Innovations is a business and executive coaching firm working with both innovative companies and small and diverse businesses to increase their sales, productivity and teamwork, so that they can decrease the amount of time spent on employee issues. As founder and President of SourceOne Innovations, Bill Hooker became certified with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). The NGLCC is the only national not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities of the LGBT business community. The NGLCC also offers its corporate members a national LGBT Business Enterprise database—MyNglcc as well as an expedited process to businesses already certified with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Disability:IN (formerly the USBLN). One challenge Hooker discovered during the certification process was the effort in proving not only the legitimacy of his business but that of his identity as well. He was required to provide a witness of sorts, who could confirm his identification as a gay man. This is meant to prevent fraudulent non-diverse businesses from swooping in and taking the opportunities set aside for minorities.
Now that SourceOne Innovations is fully developed and certified, he is able to refer his clients to various diversity-certifying organizations. That’s where his alliance with GetDiversityCertified begins.
“We found one another while waiting in line somewhere,” he says. An off-chance encounter that has proved to be helpful when it comes to helping his clients through the certification process. “I often have clients who need to get certified with states or need to get certified with third-party agencies and they don’t know how to do it, so I’m often asked to help them get certified.” His alliance with GetDiversityCertified allows him to refer these businesses elsewhere, freeing him to help them in different ways. “My time is better spent doing other things,” he explains. He consults with businesses to implement training programs, secure stakeholder buy-in, and identify areas for skill development. However, he was glad to certify his business with NGLCC. Since many of his clients are diverse-owned small businesses, it is encouraging for them to know that they’re placing their trust and time in the hands of another diverse small business.
When asked how diversity certification should be viewed by the business, whether as a marketing tool or a provider of community and support, his response was automatic. “I think both, absolutely.” Certification best serves you as the one opening the door to certain opportunities, whether that be access to national conferences, supplier diversity initiatives, or, simply, a seat at the table. While most agree that certification will not solve a faulty business plan or smooth-out a poor financial situation, it can help level the playing field for those hoping to expand their business. He continues, “[Certification is] a way to drive generational wealth amongst the underrepresented and under-served communities—that very much what supplier diversity should do. It should give diverse and small businesses the fair access to what we refer to as the buying table.”
To learn more about Hooker’s business, visit the SourceOne Innovations, Inc. web site.