BDR expands criteria to include more diverse firms
By Robert Stanton

Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. has become more diverse. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the organization decided to broaden its supplier-diversity criteria to include veteran business enterprises, disability-owned business enterprises and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT business enterprises.
The Billion Dollar Roundtable, created in 2001, is a nonprofit organization made up of 28 Fortune 100 corporations that each spend $1 billion or more annually with Tier 1 diverse suppliers.
BDR’s decision to expand its criteria “reflects the national best practice in supplier diversity of including all communities at the table of opportunity,” said Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of NGLCC, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“In the United States, LGBT-owned businesses are creating tens of thousands of jobs and adding over $1.7 trillion to the economy; much of that [addition is] due to inclusion in corporate supply chains,” he said. “We’re proud to see our businesses included in the criteria that rewards corporate excellence in creating new opportunities for diverse-owned businesses to thrive.”
Many BDR member corporations are already counting and reporting spending from certified VBEs, DOBEs and LGBTBEs. Since its inception in 1971, BDR reports at least $72 billion in spend with diverse-owned businesses. Because of its recent decision, the number of diverse businesses is expected to grow significantly, BDR officials said.
“The inclusion of disability- and LGBT-owned businesses presents more opportunities for diversity in the Billion Dollar Roundtable and will lead to more economic opportunity for people with disabilities,” said Jill Houghton, president and CEO of US Business Leadership Network.
BDR member companies — in industries ranging from automotive, retail and technology to consumer, health care and aerospace — annually achieve audited spend of $1 billion or more with diverse suppliers, including minority- and women-owned companies.
“In a country where one in five Americans has a disability, corporations are realizing the importance of disability inclusion across the enterprise,” Houghton said. People with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to be self-employed as people without disabilities, and almost one in 10 small businesses nationwide are veteran-owned, according to USBLN.
To qualify for BDR inclusion, diverse companies must be certified and audited by qualified entities. Veteran-owned businesses must be certified by the National Veteran Business Development Council, LGBTBEs by NGLCC and DOBEs by USBLN.
BDR President and CEO Sharon Patterson said the organization’s decision will not only help diverse businesses, but also the Tier 1 companies they do business with.
“We are happy to broaden our metrics for diversity spending to include veteran-owned businesses, disability-owned business enterprises and LGBT-owned businesses,” she said. “These vitally important groups play a key role in the vibrancy of the U.S. economy.”
BDR promotes and shares best practices in supply-chain diversity through the production of white papers. In discussions, members review common issues, opportunities and strategies.
What’s more, BDR encourages corporate entities to continue growing their supplier diversity programs by increasing commitment and spending levels each year. It inducts new members biannually.

For more information on BDR and its member companies, visit