Supporting Small and Diverse Businesses: A Case Study

Published on May 30, 2024
by Alysha Wilson

To create an inclusive environment with endless opportunities for small and diverse businesses, the support of state governments and service providers is critical. At Knowledge Services, we prioritize supporting small and diverse businesses, especially through our Managed Service Provider (MSP) initiatives. We have witnessed and actively contributed to the significant increase in the participation of small and diverse businesses for state-level projects. Through analyzing our management techniques and strategies, we highlight the importance of diversity to create a competitive, inclusive market. 


When Knowledge Services first stepped into the role of MSP for state government projects, we carried with us our aspirations and deep commitment to integrate small and diverse businesses into public sector work. This reflected our core belief that diversity strengthens businesses and brings fresh perspectives to drive innovative solutions.  

When Knowledge Services initially took on the role of MSP, the percentage of small and diverse vendors in the program was notably low – less than 65%. Recognizing the untapped potential, we set out a mission to increase the participation of diverse vendors, meet and surpass state expectations, and build a more inclusive vendor base that mirrors the diversity of the communities we serve.  

Our approach was strategic and multifaceted. We focused on understanding the unique challenges small and diverse businesses face and tailoring strategies to support their growth and integration into larger projects. This commitment to diversity ensures that small businesses can thrive and contribute meaningfully to public projects.  

“We understand the needs of small and diverse businesses because we started as one. As a woman-owned business that grew through hard work and a commitment to service, we know how important getting an opportunity is to the growth and development of small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses.”
– Julie Bielawski, Founder and CEO at Knowledge Services

Our dedication to providing opportunities for diverse businesses stems from a deep understanding of what it means to be on the less-represented side of organizations.  

Case Study 

When first awarded a contract to manage contingent labor as the MSP for one Midwestern state, we worked to develop a strong understanding of the State’s key goals to provide opportunities for all vendors of staff augmentation services, including small and diverse businesses. Significantly enhancing small and diverse business participation began with a comprehensive evaluation of existing practices and a commitment to change. As we navigated this transition, we focused on increasing numbers and enhancing the quality and sustainability of engagement with these businesses.  

Strategy and Implementation 

In collaboration with state officials, we embarked on a series of initiatives to understand and dismantle barriers that kept small and diverse businesses from participating in the Program. Through this collaboration, Knowledge Services focused on these key areas:  

  1. Addressing State Goals for Vendor Engagement: We aligned our strategies with the state’s overarching goals, ensuring that our efforts in increasing vendor diversity were not only supportive of our objectives but also of the state’s long-term economic and social goals. 
  2. Mentoring Small and Diverse Contractors: Recognizing the challenges faced by smaller vendors in navigating the technicalities of state contracts, we established mentorship programs. These programs were designed to build capacity and confidence among these vendors, fostering long-term partnerships. 
  3. Identifying Opportunities for Creating Efficiencies: We worked closely with state officials to identify and implement efficiencies that could streamline processes, making it easier for small and diverse businesses to participate in state projects without the burden of unnecessary administrative hurdles. 
  4. Exploring Innovative Ways to Deliver State Services: Innovation was at the heart of our strategy. We explored and implemented solutions that reduced costs and enhanced the quality of services delivered, making the case for small and diverse businesses as valuable contributors to state innovation. 
  5. Seeking Out Means to Perform Core State Functions More Effectively: Our team sought ways to enhance the core functions of the state, ensuring that every process was scrutinized for efficiency and effectiveness, thereby supporting the role of diverse vendors in these improved processes. 
  6. Demonstrating Transparency and User-Friendliness: To build trust and foster a transparent environment, we updated our processes to be more user-friendly and open. This transparency was crucial in encouraging more small and diverse businesses to participate, as it ensured they had clear, accessible pathways to engagement and could hold us accountable.


These tailored efforts led to a remarkable transformation. This growth not only demonstrated our commitment to inclusivity but also contributed to a richer, more competitive environment. By the end of the contract, 92% of the most active vendors in the MSP were small and diverse businesses. This significant improvement demonstrates the potential that can be unlocked through dedicated efforts to support and empower small and diverse businesses. 

Serving Those Who Serve Others 

Transforming the participation of small and diverse businesses within state government projects is a testament to what can be achieved with commitment, strategy, and collaboration. We remain steadfast in our dedication to supporting small and diverse businesses and understand true success lies in ongoing effort and consistent improvement. By dedicating efforts to exploring new strategies and adopting innovative solutions, we build a stronger, more diverse community that can drive real and lasting change.  

At Knowledge Services, supporting small and diverse businesses is integral to our mission. It strengthens our community, enhances our services, and upholds our values of equality and opportunity for all.