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Supplier Diversity

Supplier Diversity

Office of Procurement Diversity

The Supplier Diversity Program, formerly known as the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Supplier Diversity Program (MAWBE) is overseen by the Office of Procurement Diversity.

The University is committed to vendor diversification by ensuring that diverse businesses (see definition) are included in the University procurement process. The Supplier Diversity Program provides access to procurement opportunities by creating an equitable and competitive business environment through encouraging campus departments to proactively consider qualified certified businesses owned by minorities, females and persons with disabilities for their contracting needs.

The State of Illinois declares that it is the public policy of the State to promote and encourage the continuing economic development of minority, female and persons with disabilities owned businesses and are provided the opportunity to participate in the State's procurement process as both prime and subcontractors.

The Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities Act, "BEP ACT", (30 ILCS 575/) establishes that "not less than 20% of the total dollar amount of State contracts, as defined by the Secretary of the Council and approved by the Council, shall be established as a goal to be awarded to businesses owned by minorities, females, and persons with disabilities."

Through the Veterans Business Program (VBP), (30 ILCS 500/45-57) state agencies and universities are encouraged to spend not less than 3% of the total dollar amount of State contracts with VOSBs and SDVOSBs.

What is a Diverse Business?

Diverse BusinessAt least 51% owned and controlled/operated by a U.S. Citizen and one of the following categories or ethnicities:

  • African American
  • Asian American
  • Hispanic
  • Native American
  • Person with a disability
  • Women
  • Service Disabled Veteran*

*Must be Illinois resident and with home office in Illinois.

Searching for Diverse Vendors

The following Job Aid video shows a process for searching for Diverse Vendors. 

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE)

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) is an initiative sponsored by UIC's Chancellor Michael Amiridis. Local CASE Anchors such as University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, Rush University, City of Chicago and Cook County collaborate to foster strategic relationships with small businesses who can supply their needs to build economic vitality across Chicago's neighborhoods.

CASE Overview Video from Mimi Productions Chicago Video on Vimeo.

In the Spotlight

Highlighting our organization and the work we do is key to learning our business and our customers’ business. This is one way we have remained a valued and trusted advisor.

We are highlighting the Office of Procurement Diversity and their November 2017 Construction Summit, to share how this group and the particular event brings value to the University of Illinois System community. The Office of Procurement Diversity—OPD for short, oversees the Supplier Diversity Program, which is committed to including diverse businesses in the university-wide procurement process. A diverse business is one that is owned by minorities, females, persons with disabilities, and veterans.

OPD holds the Construction Summit every year and is a major event for architects, engineers, design professionals, and contractors to attend workshops and learn how to:

  • Become a successful proposer.
  • Understand the U of I System’s bidding process.
  • Meet the requirements for pre-qualification in Contractor Annual Prequalification System (CAPS).
  • Build relationships with diverse businesses in the System community.

With representation at the event from approximately 110 businesses, it is obvious that supporting one another’s work and striving to achieve similar diversity goals is a priority. However, one of the challenges in supplier diversity is that people don’t think that diverse companies offer the services they need or are used to using the same company over and over. Businesses and university employees must remember to: trust the growth process and keep in mind that in order to grow, they have to seek out diverse companies. Yes, you can still use ABC, but you should also try 123. However, in order to try 123, you must first know about them. Read more...

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