Supplier Diversity Professionals (SDPs), also known as Small Business Liaison Officers, achieve certification through successful completion of coursework and an exam administered by a certifying organization.
Training typically includes a multiday series of classes led by an instructor or cadre of trainers that offers in-depth insight and discussion on the variety of responsibilities necessary to manage an effective supplier diversity program.
SDPs learn to conduct outreach, locate qualified small businesses in all applicable socioeconomic categories (e.g., Woman-Owned Small Business, Veteran-Owned Small Business), set small business goals for contracts, monitor performance against those goals, and report results to internal and external customers.
Training equips SDPs to broaden the supplier base for prime contractors and government customers by assisting small businesses in improving performance and growing business. Formal and informal mentor-protégé programs administered by SDPs establish a mutually beneficial relationship between large and small businesses.
For large business firms performing federal contracts, SDPs ensure maximum practicable opportunities for small business participation and report results to the government in compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulations. SDPs also learn about small business subcontracting plans and small business participation plans, as required by requests for proposals.
Coursework for supplier diversity training informs SDPs how to prepare for an audit or customer review and what to expect during the process. Participation in a program for supplier diversity certification provides a great opportunity for networking with industry peers and establishing a community of colleagues to share best-practice solutions for common issues.