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Supplier Diversity Blog by supplier.io

Top 9 Supplier Diversity Events to Attend in 2019


As more companies and diverse suppliers become aware of the benefits of supplier diversity initiatives, the number of networking conferences around the globe continues to grow. In addition to being powerful partnership opportunities, these events help business leaders learn how to manage and improve their procurement processes. If you’re looking to diversify your supplier base and grow your business, you should consider putting at least a few of these nine conferences on your calendar.

1. National 8(A) Small Business Conference

Event Website

Where: Nashville, Tennessee

When: February 11 – 13

Best Match for:

  • Small businesses and diverse/underrepresented businesses that are looking for opportunities to contract with large buyers and forge strategic partnerships

  • Large commercial companies and federal agencies that would like to expand their diverse supplier base, meet corporate supplier diversity goals, contract with smaller businesses, and encourage innovative supplier partnerships

About the Conference:
This conference is hosted by 8(A), a non-profit assistance program sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). The 8(A) program was created to help small and disadvantaged businesses gain equal access to economic growth opportunities. Their main initiative is this widely attended conference, which is known for matching government agencies with small businesses. Along with being a prime networking event, the conference includes contracting workshops and a variety of educational seminars.

2. Lesbians Who Tech + Allies San Francisco Summit

Event Website

Where: San Francisco, California
When: February 28 – March 2

Best Match for:

  • LGBTQ tech professionals and business owners who are looking to connect with other like-minded professionals and stay in the know on industry trends

  • All types of tech companies and startups that want to network and take part in relevant industry conversations, seminars, and workshops

  • LGBTQ coders or prospective coders who want to compete for the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship Fund to jump-start their careers in tech

  • Companies and professionals that are looking to forge innovative tech partnerships and identify up-and-coming business opportunities

About the Conference:
2019 will mark the sixth anniversary of this summit, which is currently the largest LGBTQ professional conference worldwide. Held in the tech epicenter of the U.S., this tech summit was created to empower some of the most underrepresented populations in the tech space.

Unlike other conferences on this list, the Lesbians Who Tech + Allies San Francisco Summit isn’t a supplier diversity-centric event. Although a myriad of diverse businesses and LGBTQ techies attend this conference, the lectures and workshops are all about the tech world. Topics range from popular tech trends to discussions about how tech will impact the future, how companies can evolve, and how to achieve career growth in such a competitive industry. It’s attended by all the biggest tech companies and is known for hosting a variety of compelling speakers (including Hillary Clinton). As a bonus, they’ve even published a “convince your boss to cover your #LWTSUMMIT ticket” letter to help you win over the higher-ups at your company.

3. Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Summit & Salute

Event website

Where: Houston, Texas
When: March 11 – 13

Best Match for:

  • Women-owned businesses that are seeking economic growth opportunities

  • Corporate executives, procurement representatives, and large companies that are looking to diversify their supplier base

About the Conference:
This women-centric national conference was created to encourage the growth and success of women-owned businesses. On their website, they highlight the fact that 92 percent of 2018 conference attendees made contacts that led to business opportunities. The conference attracts a variety of companies and hosts over 500 “matchmaker meeting” events between women-owned businesses and large brands. WBENC also hosts a National Conference & Business Fair, which will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 25 to 27.

4. CelebrAsian 2019 Procurement & Business Conference

Event website

Where: Houston, Texas
When: June 5 – 7

Best Match for:

  • Asian American and minority businesses looking for opportunities to contract with Fortune 500 companies, large corporations, and government agencies

  • Large businesses and government-contracting agencies that are seeking to expand their diverse supplier networks and improve their diverse procurement process

About the Conference:
Hosted by the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC), CelebrAsian is the largest professional networking and procurement conference for Asian American-owned businesses. The three-day conference includes a variety of educational programs on the procurement and subcontracting process (for both diverse suppliers and contractors) and plenty of networking events.

5. NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference

Event website

Where: Tampa, Florida
When: August 13 – 16

Best Match for:

  • LGBT and allied business owners that are seeking opportunities to grow their businesses and forge partnerships with top-performing Fortune 500 companies

  • Large companies that are looking to expand their diverse supplier networks and encourage innovative partnerships

About the Conference:
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) created this conference as an opportunity for LGBT and allied businesses to collaborate and network with Fortune 500 companies. The event offers a combination of networking events, business seminars, lectures, and a marketplace expo. It also provides LGBT and allied businesses with the opportunity to engage in one-on-one meetings with large corporations. 

6. National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange

Event Website

Where: Atlanta, Georgia
When: October 13 – 16

Best Match for:

  • Asian, African American, Hispanic, and Native American business owners who are looking to form strategic partnerships with large corporations to grow their businesses

  • Large corporations, procurement executives, and supplier diversity professionals that want to expand their diverse supplier networks and improve their supplier diversity programs

About the Conference:
This annual conference is sponsored by NMSDC and was designed as a networking opportunity for minority-owned businesses looking to partner with large, multinational companies. Along with providing a variety of workshops and networking opportunities, the conference is known for a black-tie awards banquet which names a select few businesses as “National Supplier of the Year.”

7. United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) National Convention

Event Website

Where: Los Angeles, California
When: September 30 – October 2

Best Match for:

  • Hispanic-owned businesses that are seeking powerful economic growth opportunities

  • Corporate executives who want to diversify their supplier networks and establish strong business partnerships

  • USHCC members from chapters across the country who are interested in forging strategic business partnerships and engaging in supplier diversity-related workshops and discussions

About the Conference:
The USHCC has played a pivotal role in representing over 4.37 million Hispanic-owned businesses. Like other conferences on this list, the USHCC National Convention is designed to be a competitive business networking opportunity. In addition to this National Convention, USHCC hosts its annual Legislative Summit which connects business executives with government officials and policy makers. In 2019, the Legislative Summit will be held in Washington, D.C., on April 2 and 3.

8. MSDUK 2019 Business Show

Event website

Where: London, England
When: September 17

Best Match for:

  • Ethnic minority-owned businesses in the U.K. that are interested in presenting their products or services to top global companies and investors

  • Multinational corporations that are looking to partner with diverse suppliers on new and innovative solutions

  • Potential investors who are looking to partner with up-and-coming businesses

About the Conference:
MSDUK is the largest non-profit diverse procurement advocacy organization in the U.K. Their business show was designed to give ethnic minority-owned companies the chance to showcase their products or services to top investors and corporations from around the globe. Unlike other conferences on this list, the MSDUK Business Show is primarily an expo focused on improving brand visibility and encouraging meaningful business connections.

9. Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) Diversity Procurement Fair

Event website

Where: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: April 16 – 17

Best Match for:

  • Canadian aboriginal and minority-owned businesses that are seeking compelling economic growth opportunities and looking for ways to secure more contracts

  • Multinational corporations that are looking to diversify their supply chains, expand their supplier networks, and learn how to improve their diverse sourcing procurement processes

About the Conference:
CAMSC is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to furthering supplier diversity education and creating opportunities for diverse suppliers to achieve economic success. Their Diversity Procurement Fair is an even mix of educational programs, workshops, and business networking opportunities. Because CAMSC is a thought leader in the Canadian supplier diversity space, this event attracts business leaders from a variety of sectors.

In addition to hosting the Diversity Procurement Fair, CAMSC hosts a Cross Border B2B Forum. The forum is focused on helping diverse suppliers become CAMSC certified and introducing them to project opportunities (along with project requirements and next steps) in both the U.S. and Canada. This year, the forum is scheduled to take place on June 4 in Windsor, Ontario.

Whatever conference(s) you choose to attend in the new year, remember to book early. Event seats fill up fast, and many conferences offer limited early-bird ticket specials. If you plan ahead, you’re bound to get the best spots and the best deals.

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The team has a long history in driving innovative solutions in supplier diversity. We believe that companies deserve solutions that are effective and provide measurable value and results. Started more than a decade ago, supplier.io has rapidly become a prominent provider of supplier diversity solutions to leading corporations. We currently support customers in automotive, healthcare, insurance, retail, manufacturing, education, and banking. One in five Fortune 50 company relies on supplier.io.