2020 will be remembered by businesses as the year of supply chain disruption. Before the travel restrictions and lockdowns caused by coronavirus, the key to success in many industries was to maintain a lean, just-in-time method of receiving supplies and inventories. As early as February, 70% of US businesses had to access their supplies on hand to determine which were impacted by lockdown. By the time the US had lockdowns of their own, the general public had become aware of supply chain issues surrounding food, toilet paper, and PPE. While 97% of all global businesses were impacted by coronavirus, the businesses who suffered the most from supply chain disruptions were small businesses. According to Avinandan Mukherjee, Dean of the Lewis College of Business at Marshall University, “small companies are at the mercy of large retail buyers and suppliers…. So bargaining power definitely creates some risk for smaller companies.” For over half of the businesses that had to close during the pandemic, the shutdown is permanent. Minority business ownership declined nearly twice as much as white, with Black Americans losing 41% of their businesses. These depressing figures are more than just personal losses for the business owners and their employees. Massive loss in minority business ownership is a setback for racial equality. says Robert Fairlie, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Minority businesses [are important] for local job creation, economic advancement, and [decreasing] longer-term wealth inequality,” Thanks to other events from 2020, however, public interest in diversity and racial equality has exploded. Among the Millennial generation, 70% chose to shop with brands that demonstrate diversity and inclusion. 53% of adults aged 18-34 expressed distaste for working in a company that failed to speak out during the protests of summer 2020. Companies all across the board promised more diversity; now it is time they follow through. when diverse workers come together to innovate. Diversity is not a trend. It’s better for business Businesses using local suppliers bring about flourishing communities. It’s high time firms move beyond diversity compliance and embrace diversity as a business strategy.