Boost your business with a diversity certification

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A diversity certificate from a third-party agency can help minority-owned businesses thrive. In a highly competitive supplier landscape, a diversity certification could be the difference between winning and losing new business or gaining access to new capital.  

These certifications quickly and reliably differentiate businesses that have at least 51% ownership by a person (or persons) of a diverse background. This is especially important to businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies that are looking to increase their diverse spending (as these types of organizations often have supplier diversity goals).

On top of that, diversity certifications often come with a host of other benefits, like networking opportunities, ongoing education and training, discounts and even specialized support from Voya. Having one or more diversity certifications is a great way to stay competitive for years to come.

Who qualifies for a diversity certification?

Diversity certifications are granted by third-party certification agencies. These agencies may have different criteria for eligibility, but in general, your business should qualify based on the following criteria:

  • The business owner is a United States citizen
  • The company is at least 51% owned by an individual or group of business owners who fit the target criteria (whether that’s based on race, gender, sexual orientation or another status such as being a veteran)
  • The diverse owners carry out the management and daily operation of the business
  • The company is located in the United States or one of its territories

How can a minority-owned business receive a diversity certification?

Although any business or supplier can self-classify as diverse and say they meet the specified criteria, only third-party organizations can give your business or nonprofit a diversity certification after a formal review.

This process typically involves documentation, interviews and potential on-site visits. While the application may take a bit of effort and patience on your behalf, you could almost instantly become more attractive to supplier diversity programs, corporations and government contracts.

Where can I attain a diversity certification?

Here are a few of the top agencies that offer widely accepted diversity certifications:

5 benefits of diversity certifications for your business or nonprofit

1. An added differentiator

Companies and nonprofit organizations might focus on supplier diversity because their customers have requested it or the organization sees it as a way to stand out from their competition.

In the past, many organizations were driven by a need for compliance, whereas now they realize it's a core corporate responsibility for them to help serve their community.

This focus on supplier diversity is not confined to for-profit entities: diversity certifications can open the door to lucrative government contracts, given that many have strict supplier diversity goals.

2. Access to more capital

According to a survey by the Federal Reserve banks, “Even among firms with good credit scores, firms owned by people of color were less likely to have their financing needs met.”1

As a diversity-certified organization, you can connect with exclusive loans or grant programs agencies may offer as a benefit to their members. You can also leverage your certification in applications for small business loans or in third-party investments for your organization.

3. Political advocacy

Many of the agencies that offer third-party diversity certifications are also lobbying organizations that work to keep your best interests front and center for politicians. They keep their finger on the pulse of upcoming local or national legislation and work with the appropriate politicians to make sure your group’s viewpoint is considered. They may also provide guidance to their members on how to deal with upcoming changes.

4. Enhanced marketing

Once you achieve diversity certification, your company will be included in searchable databases that corporate and government entities turn to when they are looking for diverse suppliers. You can use the approved badges on your website, signage, business cards, presentations and other branding. The certification also adds credibility to your advertising and promotions.

There are lots of different methods minority-owned businesses promote their brands online. Certification agencies may provide training or resources to help boost your marketing or could point you in the direction of minority-owned marketing and advertising firms who understand your unique positioning and differentiators.

5. Training and networking opportunities

Certification agencies typically offer a robust slate of educational programming, whether its access to content, networking or mentoring tailored to diverse business needs. Many host webinars, record podcasts and organize other kinds of meetings.


These tools, whether live or on-demand, may help business owners navigate challenges, such as inflation, and explore new ideas for products and services. They may even open different avenues for business opportunities and revenue.


Support from Voya for diversity-certified organizations

As a part of Voya’s ongoing support for minority-, women-, LGBTQ+- and veteran-owned businesses and nonprofits, we offer our Just Right Advantage™ program. This first-of-its-kind program was created to help employers and organizations within undercapitalized, underserved and "under-saved" communities by offering education, guidance and a fee credit when they establish or retain their retirement plan with Voya.

This program was launched in 2021 to help certified minority-women-veteran-disability-LGBTQ businesses and not-for-profit organizations supporting these communities bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic. It was soon after evolved to help business owners navigate many other challenges such as inflation. If your company has a diversity certification, be sure to contact us about joining the Just Right Advantage™ program for your workplace benefits and savings.










This post has been updated from the original, which first appeared on May 3, 2021.

Related Items

1: Small Business Credit Survey -2021 Report on Firms Owned by People of Color.pdf (

This information is provided by Voya for your education only. Neither Voya nor its representatives offer tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax or legal advisor before making a tax-related investment/insurance decision.

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