people sitting at a table

A Supplier Diversity Study is a key strategy and tool for the County to move towards shared prosperity and an opportunity to reverse historical inequities by removing barriers for local, micro, small and diverse businesses to access the County’s procurement dollars.

Overview

We invite local vendors, contractors, consultants, and suppliers to participate in this important endeavor. This site provides an overview of the Study and its purpose plus links to the following information:

  • Key Study Outcomes
  • Study Project Team
  • Study Progress and Key Activities
  • How to Participate in the Study
  • Definitions of Key Terms
  • Library of Key Study Documents
  • How to Contact the Study Project Team
How to Participate
  • Local business and vendors, please answer our call! We are conducting phone surveys until November 2023 to understand the makeup of local vendors that could do business with the County
  • Learn more about the study by reading the PowerPoint presentation from our public meetings held in August 2023.

View our participate page for more information 

Supplier Diversity Study Overview

Overview. The County commissioned GCAP Services, Inc. (GCAP) to conduct its Supplier Diversity Study. The Study will reach out to local, small, micro, and diverse business enterprises (LSMDBEs) across the local marketplace to understand their barriers to doing business with the County.  The Supplier Diversity Study will help the County better understand the makeup of the existing County’s vendors and the availability of LSMDBEs that could benefit from the economic opportunities generated by the County. The County spends approximately $500,000,000 per year on goods and services that could contribute to expanding shared prosperity locally.

Purpose. The County is conducting the Supplier Diversity Study to:

  • Help the County understand any gaps between the County's existing use of local, small, micro, and diverse businesses and the availability of these businesses in the local market
  • Improve data collection and tracking of local, small, micro, and diverse business enterprises
  • Recommend tailored solutions to improve outreach efforts and capacity building of underrepresented businesses

The Study will provide an unprecedented range of data to inform inclusive procurement strategies, including building a dataset of LSMDBEs for proactive outreach to an expanded set of local businesses when bids become available, enabling improved access to County procurement opportunities.

Background. On March 8, 2022, the Board of Supervisor adopted an Anchor Institution resolution to align its business operations with equity values and goals. While San Mateo County enjoys robust prosperity, the economic benefits are not fairly distributed. According to the Brookings Metro Monitor, our metropolitan region is the second most prosperous region out of 56 large metropolitan regions, but it ranks 46th out of 56 large regions when it comes to racial inclusion. The County acknowledges that historic and current bias and discrimination create small and large barriers to economic opportunities for many communities and businesses within the County that have been underserved and marginalized. The Supplier Diversity Study is a deliberate step towards shared prosperity, economic vitality, and equity.

What are Anchor Institutions?​
  • Large place-based and mission-driven institutions with robust economic presence
  • Align business side of County efforts with the value of equity and mission of service
  • Ensure that County economic opportunities help to create conditions to allow more residents to reach their full potential.
Key Study Outcomes

The Supplier Diversity Study is one tool that the County utilizes to remove barriers for and strengthening the capacity of local, small, micro, and diverse businesses enterprises (LSMDBEs) to access the County’s procurement opportunities. The Study is a stakeholder engagement process to gather community input on the barriers and opportunities to access County’s procurement dollars. It is also a data analysis of existing County vendors and the local marketplace to inform appropriate solutions to develop sustainable change for LSMDBEs to access the County’s procurement opportunities. Specifically, the Study will:

  • Identify barriers to inclusive procurement in County systems

  • Examine contracts from last three years

  • Build a centralized dataset of existing vendors

  • Identify existing underrepresented LSMDBEs

  • Identify types of markets the County does business in

  • Identify the market area for County work

  • Assess opportunity areas for more inclusive procurement

  • Develop a database of LSMDBEs that are in markets that do business with the County

  • Identify actionable and practical recommendations

  • Improve outreach and capacity building efforts for LSMDBEs

  • Improve data collection and tracking of LSMDBEs.

Study Progress and Key Milestones

The Supplier Diversity Study was initiated in May 2023 and will be completed by the end of March 2024. The County and GCAP will provide updates on the status of each key activity throughout the course of the Study. Please check back periodically for those updates.

diagram of project schedule

Study Progress. (May 2023) The GCAP team is currently working closely with the County to collect data on contracts and agreements that were awarded in a 3-year period between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2023 (the study period) and on vendors that participated in those contracts. Additionally, GCAP is in the process of collecting and reviewing the County’s procurement related policies, practices, and programs for all 26 departments to provide recommendations for improvement.

Key Activities. The GCAP study team will conduct the following key tasks in the coming months to achieve the stated Key Study Outcomes:

  • Public meetings. The County and the GCAP study team will host six public meetings throughout the Study. Four public meetings were held in August, and the remaining two will be at the end of the Study. Check back for more information on dates, times, and locations for the remaining public meetings, by visiting the Events page.
  • Data collection. The GCAP study team will continue to work with the County to collect data on relevant contracts and agreements that were awarded during the study period.  This information will be used to identify the geographic areas in which the majority of firms seeking contracts with and receiving contract payments from the County are located. GCAP will also continue collecting and reviewing SMC procurement related policies, practices, and programs for all 26 departments to provide recommendations for improvement. Target start date: In progress.
  • Availability surveys. The GCAP team will identify the availability of ready, willing, and able LSMDBE vendors from the identified market areas that could meet County procurement needs. A “phone book” of relevant businesses in the geographic market will be developed in order to conduct extensive telephone surveys. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey process to help ensure an accurate and comprehensive survey process! Target start date: Fall 2023.
  • Utilization analysis and surveys. The study team will begin analyzing data that it collects from the County to assess the subindustries that account for the majority of the County’s contracting and the geographical area that is most relevant to the County’s contracting. The study team will also begin examining the percentage of total dollars that the agencies awarded to LSMDBEs during the study period. Telephone surveys will also be conducted with a sample set of vendors that had contracts awarded during the study period. Target start date: Winter 2023/24.
  • In-depth interviews.  In-depth interviews with business owners and trade association representatives throughout the local marketplace will be conducted. The interviews will provide the GCAP team with detailed information about marketplace conditions related to starting a business, trying to grow a business, working with local public agencies, and a variety of other topics. Target start date: Winter 2023/24.
  • Internal and External Stakeholder Advisory Committees: The County will coordinate quarterly meetings with internal and external stakeholders to provide ongoing input to the Study, support outreach efforts, help us identify blind spots in the process, and ground truth research findings as they become available.
Project Team

The Study project team for the Supplier Diversity Study consists of GCAP, the prime consultant for the Study, and four additional firms. This team possesses the expertise directly relevant to conducting the Study in a manner that meets the highest industry and legal standards.

  • GCAP Services, Inc. (GCAP). GCAP, the prime consultant for the Study, has over 25 years of experience providing market, procurement, availability, utilization, disparity, qualitative analyses, and remedies. GCAP is certified as a small business enterprise (SBE), minority-owned business enterprise (MBE) and disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE). The company is based in Costa Mesa and Sacramento, California. 
  • BBC Research & Consulting (BBC). BBC is an economic and diversity research firm and has completed more than 130 disparity studies for states, cities, transportation agencies, and other government organizations across the country. BBC is also considered a national expert in helping organizations develop and refine their implementations of small and diverse business programs. BBC will be leading the availability, utilization, and disparity analyses.
  • Davis Research. Since its inception in 1970, Davis Research has grown to be one of the leading survey data collection firms in the nation. The firm provides sophisticated telephone and web-based surveys with seamless programming, supremely qualified surveyors, and a customized look and feel. In addition, it offers professional computer-aided telephone interviewing services from its industry-best call centers. Davis Research has conducted business surveys for several disparity studies over the last three years.
  • Rosales Business Partners (RBP). RBP is a Hispanic American woman-owned consulting and policy firm specializing in contracting diversity, Proposition 209, and representing government agencies. RBP has a national reputation for its extensive experience in the disparity study field, including the legal defense of minority- and woman-owned business programs in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center (REN). REN is a local non-profit organization delivering a range of entrepreneurship services from training and consulting to business incubation, access to capital and networking. Founded in 1985, they serve the Bay-Area through five locations. REN will be providing public engagement support to local stakeholders and the County.
Library Participate Events

Contact Us


If you have any questions or comments regarding the Supplier Diversity Study, please contact: