Supplier Diversity Digest: A newsletter from the Office of Supplier Diversity
December 2016
Hello, 2017!

Whether this is your first year or 22nd year of business, congratulations! You did it! Keep up the hard work and continue to invest in your business. Here are some ideas to help you, as a small business owner, to learn, network and grow in 2017:

  • Network: Plan to attend a Supplier Diversity Exchange—after all, where else can you meet with more than 30 state, local and federal organizations in one room? Exchanges are held in Pensacola, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Orlando. Register now for events in the new year: Pensacola (February 7, 2017) and Jacksonville (March 2, 2017).
  • Keep Learning: There is always something new to learn, especially with changing trends and advancing technology. Take the time to attend in-person or online training from OSD, MyFloridaMarketPlace or other resources like the Small Business Administration and Small Business Development Center. Stay tuned for training opportunities in Gainesville with the University of Florida and in Tallahassee with Florida State University in 2017.
  • Back to the Basics: Life and work keep us busy, so saving a little extra time makes a big impact. Try bookmarking helpful webpages like OSD’s Vendor Resource page, where you can see available bid opportunities and schedule time on your calendar every week as a reminder to see what new projects are available.
  • Celebrate Success: No matter how small, take the time to celebrate successes and milestones. A small break can often provide the renewed energy you need to tackle the next project.

Small Business Update
Provided by the Florida SBDC Network

The Florida SBDC Network's Government Contracting Services provides in-person educational training that covers current and practical information on various federal, state and local government contracting topics ranging from the basics to more advanced issues. There are a number of workshops from now until December 14, 2016. Workshops will continue in mid-January 2017. View and register for workshops here.

Tips to Help Small Business Owners Obtain a Loan
Provided by Barbara Melvin, Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development Member and Chair of the Research and Emerging Trends Committee

The following are a few tips to help small business owners obtain capital to start or grow their business:
  1. Know and understand your finances, including your personal credit score and history. Obtain your free credit report and review it for accuracy.
  2. Determine how much money you will need and whether you will need collateral.
  3. Know the types of loans available, including the differences between an unsecured loan (no collateral needed) versus a secured loan (some type of collateral is needed to back the loan).
  4. Get to know a banker. These individuals can be your mediator and will work on your behalf to help you obtain a loan.
Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program
Applications Due December 14, 2016

Are you one of the nearly one in four active duty service members and veterans looking to open and operate your own business? The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program offers tuition-free, online and on-campus instruction in the nationally recognized Lean Startup method (a methodology for developing businesses and products) .

The program is open to Florida entrepreneurs who
  • Have been honorably discharged, are active duty (within one year of separation) or are Reserve/National Guard;
  • Reside in Florida; and
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship.

Applications are due by midnight on Wednesday, December 14, 2016. Don’t delay—apply today!

Become a Designated Florida Unique Abilities Partner

Recently launched by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and to assisting organizations that support them. Participating businesses demonstrate their dedication to strengthening communities and the economy by helping these Floridians with untapped talents become more independent and by partnering with other businesses, organizations and state resources in this endeavor.

Business entities designated as Florida Unique Abilities Partners will receive name recognition on the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program website and special designation in the Employ Florida Marketplace (if currently listed). Partners will also receive the Florida Unique Abilities Partner logo for commercial use and window display.

To learn more about the program, apply online or to print an application, visit

Ambassador Agreements

The Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) continues to strategically work alongside organizations that support small businesses. On October 19, OSD signed an ambassador agreement with University of Florida Small Business & Vendor Diversity Relations at the university’s Women’s Business + Leadership Conference. The agreement develops and fosters a mutual understanding and working relationship between the two entities.

On November 3, at the Orlando Supplier Diversity Exchange, OSD and the U.S. Small Business Administration North Florida District signed a strategic agreement to increase participation and exchanging of information for OSD-certified vendors and SBA's programs.  

Enhancing Your Brand

The Office of Supplier Diversity offers a way for you to enhance your brand—through certification. Designations such as woman-owned, veteran-owned or minority-owned small businesses can stand out when you’re applying for job opportunities with local, state or federal government. In order to obtain certification, small businesses must meet these eligibility requirements:

  • Be a registered business in MyFloridaMarketPlace.
  • Be a small business that is independently owned and operated, has a net worth of no more than $5 million and employs 200 or fewer full-time permanent employees or is recognized as a certified business by the federal government.
  • Be 51 percent owned, managed and controlled by an African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Native-American, American woman or Florida veteran who is a citizen of the United States and a permanent resident of Florida. (If a professional license is required for the industry, the minority owner must be the license qualifier.)
  • The minority owner(s) shall not have acquired their majority ownership of at least 51 percent of the applicant business through a transferal of ownership occurring within a minimum of two years, when the previous majority ownership interest in the business was by a non-minority who is or was a relative, former employer or current employer of the minority persons on whom eligibility is based.
  • Be engaged in commercial transactions (currently doing business).
  • Be a business that is legally registered to do business in Florida.

To start the process of obtaining certification with OSD, review the documentation list to gather all of the necessary items. Be sure to send in all documents as OSD is unable to review incomplete files.

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The content of this newsletter is intended to serve as informational only.  It should not be construed as business advice or an endorsement of any particular organization by the Office of Supplier Diversity or the Florida Department of Management Services.