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Ingram Micro launched Nov. 5 its Diversity Partner Network, a niche program to give more assistance to its GovEd Alliance members.

The DPN will target partners that hold small or diverse business certifications, including 8(a), HUBZone, Woman-Owned or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned status, the distributor said.

Announced at the distributor’s GovEd Alliance Invitational held Nov. 4-7 in Austin, Texas, the DPN is one of three business-building resources Ingram unveiled Nov. 5. The Santa Ana, Calif., headquartered distributor also announced an alliance with public sector financing provider De Lage Landon and the Spex GSA, a custom database of images and product details to help partners identify products and images for use in online marketing and sales collateral.

In conjunction with The Zone, its social networking portal launched in October, Ingram’s DPN program gives GovEd Alliance partners access to dedicated sales support, custom marketing, access to workshops and face-to-face events, and a Government Policy Advocate to keep members abreast of policy and legislative changes. Using The Zone, GovEd Alliance members can network, partner and share best practices. DPN members with a strong services background can post their credentials and security clearances and indicate their business certification status to gain visibility and attract a greater share of business, the distributor said.

Of the distributor’s 2,300 GovEd Alliance partners, about 300 currently hold “disadvantaged” business certifications, said Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager of Ingram government and education sales. But without The Zone, it was nearly impossible to identify, much less support, those partners, he said. Once they were identified through The Zone it was easier to develop marketing, training and support initiatives that Laclede said could help them take on larger competitors for a share of the $50 billion to $60 billion federal market. “We can help the smaller and midsized players compete with the big guys on more equal footing. If they have the disadvantaged business designation, they have something there that the bigger players don’t have,” Laclede said.