Connecting With Diverse Local Suppliers

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Did you know your local CVB can connect you with diverse local suppliers? Here are five cities that pride themselves on their ability to do just that.

Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) and city Chambers of Commerce offer a host of useful services for meeting and event planners—including, in some cases, a database that can directly connect planners with local, diverse event suppliers.

Here are 5 cities that create connections with the diverse world of suppliers that service local area events.


Meet Boston recently launched the Workforce Development and Supplier Diversity Initiative that expands the bureau’s network of suppliers to include businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and other historically marginalized groups in the hope of driving economic growth for communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. The initiative also aims to empower individuals from all backgrounds with training opportunities designed to enhance their skill sets and employability. Both initiatives are guided by a task force comprised of organizations including The Black Economic Council of MA (BECMA), Urban League, Amplify Latinx, and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Since 2019, Meet Boston has supported a listing of Black-owned businesses.


This popular Mid-Western city is proud of the wide range of diverse vendors it can offer to service meetings and events. Its website includes a database of these diverse vendors, broken down by category: minority-, veteran-, women- and LGBTQ-owned. Each category offers listings by grid, list, “recommended” and “near me,” and includes a map so planners can pinpoint where each is in relation to their meeting venue. Individual listings include, as applicable, a description of the business and its services, Yelp reviews, available amenities, events that business has served, hours of business, and a link to its website.


The city of Columbus, Ohio, includes an office of diversity and inclusion that has a database of city-certified diverse businesses that is searchable by certification, business name, business description, commodity code, contact person and location. The City of Columbus Certified Vendor Directory includes in its database local businesses that are certified as Emerging Business Enterprise, LGBT Business Enterprise, Minority Business Enterprise, Small Local Business Enterprise, Veteran Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise.

Los Angeles

The City of Angels also offers a database of minority-, women-, LGBTQ+ and veteran-owned event suppliers through its Business Connect program, the official supplier diversity program of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission. The network is comprised of small, minority-owned business suppliers representing more than 25 disciplines in meeting, convention and event production, including AV, décor, entertainment, security and transportation. Rather than searching a database, planners can connect directly to program-certified suppliers — some of whom have served high-profile events such as Super Bowl LVI — through the LA Tourism team.


In Portland, Ore., the city celebrates its diverse business community with My People’s Market, held twice a year since its inception in 2017. The market features more than 100 of the city’s BIPOC vendors, including those who serve pantry and snacks, sweet treats, hot foods, beverages, health/wellness/beauty, home goods/art/music and fashion/accessories. As Visit Portland notes on its website, “Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are fundamental, and Travel Portland wants to support you and your meeting to deliver these values. Whether it’s connecting you with BIPOC-owned vendors via My People’s Market, providing diverse promotional photo and video assets or recommending culturally relevant activities, we help your event walk the EDI talk.”

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