Delaware Governor Jack Markell passed Executive Order (EO) 14 on December 22, 2009, which creates a supplier diversity program for the state. Under the EO, each state agency will create a supplier diversity plan and appoint a supplier diversity liaison. Public supplier diversity programs are efforts to ensure that a state's or city's vendor pool matches the diversity of its taxpayers.
The supplier diversity program will be under the direction of the state's Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise (OMWBE), headed by L. Jay Burks. The OMWBE certifies and provides training to minority and women owned businesses.
The EO also establishes the Governor’s Supplier Diversity Council which will consist of 11 members. One of the duties of the Council is to research the feasibility of the state conducting a disparity study to determine specific procurement disparities, barriers, and tailored solutions for various small business groups in Delaware. The state already participates in the DelACCESS Consortium which is an effort to publicize public and private procurement opportunities in Delaware and surrounding regions to the region's small businesses.
The supplier diversity program came about through the extended efforts of OMWBE Executive Director Burks who recently participated in a state peer-to-peer exchange sponsored by the Insight Center's Inclusive Business Initiative. During the spring 2009 exchange Burks traveled to Florida to study that state's Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD), while Florida OSD Director Torey Alston later visited Delaware.
The Inclusive Business Initiative studied all 50 states' minority and women business programs in 2007 and found that Florida's voluntary supplier diversity program was one of the best practice programs. The state peer-to-peer exchange and the 50-state policy scan were made possible by funding from the Ford Foundation.