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Historically in the United States, small and diverse businesses have been underutilized as suppliers by large corporations. A policy of promoting supplier diversity by large businesses, like Cisco, creates a greater opportunity for all businesses to participate in subcontracting opportunities.

The types of diverse businesses supported by Cisco are: small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, disabled veteran-owned small business, minority-owned business, and women-owned business concerns and business enterprises. More detail on diverse business definitions further in this report.

Supplier diversity enhances Cisco's competitive advantage by enhancing our relationships with our partners and the communities in which we operate. It also better positions Cisco to meet the requirements of our customers. Many of our customers are significant suppliers to the U.S. government and as such are contractually required to procure a proportion of their goods and services from diverse suppliers. By developing our own network of diverse suppliers, we can help them meet these procurement targets.

Expanding Suppliers

The Cisco Supplier Diversity Business Development (SDBD) Program, established more than 14 years ago, was created to expand Cisco's network of diverse suppliers.

The SDBD team identifies potential suppliers and facilitates relationships between them and Cisco representatives who can potentially use their products and services.

In addition, Cisco supports a variety of initiatives to promote diverse businesses. We are sponsors of the Industry Council for Small-Business Development (ICSBD), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting large-business contract opportunities for diverse businesses.

In 2000, Cisco, in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the City of San Jose, established the San Jose Entrepreneur Center. The center's mission is to provide entrepreneurs with a full range of support services in one location to help them succeed in today's competitive environment. The services include financial services, technical assistance, training, technology, and advice on procurement and international trade.

The SDBD team conducts supplier diversity training throughout Cisco's business units on an ongoing basis. Externally, we hold quarterly "How To Do Business with Cisco" seminars, which are conducted at Small Business Administration (SBA) centers in San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco, California.

The SDBD program is a sponsor of the Management Development for Entrepreneurs Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management. The program teaches participants business theory and practice. Participants work with faculty Fellows and MBA students to formulate a Business Improvement Project (BIP), a blueprint created by students to develop a business using the skills and knowledge gained through the program.

The SDBD team regularly speaks about supplier diversity and doing business with large corporations at events and conferences throughout the United States. These include the Reservation Economic Summit (RES), U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), Industry Council for Small Business Development (ICSBD), National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), Carolina's Minority Supplier Development Council, Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council, SUPERCOMM, U.S. Pacific Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPACC), and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).


Cisco is committed to maintaining a quality and substantive Supplier Diversity Program and has steadily increased efforts to accelerate program growth.

For the past three years, Cisco has received recognition for our supplier diversity efforts as sponsored by DiversityBusiness.com. Cisco ranks as one of the top 50 U.S. companies providing multicultural business opportunities, based on feedback received from more than 350,000 women- and minority-owned businesses. In FY2005, Cisco received the Hall of Fame award from the Northern California Supplier Development Council (NCSDC) for our efforts in promoting diverse businesses for NCSDC and the business community at large.


Our goal is to be a world-class company recognized as a leader in supplier diversity and as a partner with the best suppliers. Moving forward, Cisco plans to expand its supplier diversity efforts further into our supply chain as well as internationally.

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