Back to Top
Supplier Diversity

Supplier Diversity Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Does the University of Illinois System have a supplier diversity program?

A. Yes, the University of Illinois System is committed to and supports supplier diversity because it is essential to the system's mission and core values.
The Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) unit Office of Procurement Diversity administers the University of Illinois' supplier diversity program.


Q. Does the University of Illinois System have supplier diversity goals?

A. Yes, the mission of Supplier Diversity is to expand procurement opportunities to businesses that have been historically underrepresented in the procurement process by increasing utilization of businesses owned by minorities, women, and persons with disabilities to at least 20% of allowable expenditures and 3% for veteran-owned businesses.


Q. How do diverse firms participate on University of Illinois System contracts?

A. Diverse firms may participate as prime contractors or subcontractors.  Diverse firms may also participate as joint ventures with majority-owned firms or with other diverse firms.


Q. Do State of Illinois agencies and universities have a searchable database to locate certified diverse firms to participate on University of Illinois System contracts?

A. Yes, certified diverse firms are included in a searchable database maintained by the State's Business Enterprise Program (BEP), which can be found at: 
Additionally, Office of Procurement Diversity Staff would assist with searches.


Q. Does the University of Illinois System guarantee work for diverse businesses?

A. No, the U of I System does not guarantee work to any supplier, but we are committed to working with diverse suppliers to the University's procurement processes.


Q. What types of goods and services does University of Illinois System purchase?

A. U of I System purchases a wide variety of goods and services to support academic, research, and health programs. Procurement opportunities are posted on the Illinois Procurement Bulletin Public Institutions of Higher Education at:


Q. What is certification?

A. The certification process verifies that a business is at least 51% owned and controlled by an eligible minority, woman, disabled person or veteran.


Q. How does a minority, woman, a person with a disability or veteran-owned firm get certified?

A. Diverse suppliers can apply for certification through the State of Illinois' Business Enterprise Program (BEP). Detailed information about BEP, eligibility criteria and an online application is available at:


Q. Does a minority, woman, person with a disability or veteran-owned business have to be a certified diverse vendor to do business with the University?

A. No, but being a certified diverse firm allows you to potentially participate as a subcontractor to meet the University of Illinois System's diversity spending goals. 


Q. Are there any benefits of certification?

A. Yes, once certified a business is entered into a public database that is accessible to any business or entity that desires to do business with a diverse firm. Certified diverse firms can be utilized by prime vendors to meet a solicitation diversity goal.


Q. Does my firm have to be certified to be counted towards a diversity goal?

A. Yes, a diverse firm must be certified at the time of bid submission to be counted towards a diversity goal.


Q. Does the University of Illinois System's accept other certifications such as, from the federal, state or city municipalities?

A. No, U of I System only accepts certification from the State of Illinois' Department of Central Management Services Business Enterprise Program (BEP).


Q. How long is the certification process?

A. The State will grant certification within 60 days if it determines that your firm meets its eligibility criteria and has submitted all of the required documentation and forms.


Q. How do diverse businesses learn about current and upcoming opportunities to do business with the University of Illinois System?

A. To download solicitation documents, receive Email notifications of opportunities, and take advantage of other vendor services, diverse businesses are encouraged to register for a "My Bulletin account" with the Illinois Procurement Bulletin Public Institutions of Higher Education at:


Q. Can required documents be submitted prior to responding to a University of Illinois System procurement solicitation?

A. Yes, the Illinois Procurement Gateway (IPG) allows prospective vendors to provide disclosures, registrations and other documentation needed to do business with a State agency or university in advance of any particular procurement. Please visit the IPG website for additional information at:


Q. What is IPHEC?

A. The Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative (IPHEC) was formed in 1975 to consolidate common requirements for various state universities on one bid with subsequent orders being placed by each individual university for the contract period.
The thirteen campuses of the nine Illinois public universities participate in the Cooperative. One university initiates and receives bids on the consolidated requirement of a particular commodity. Upon determination of the lowest bid IPHEC member universities each establish individual contracts with the selected vendor for the commodity and orders are issued accordingly.
For information about IPHEC bids, contact the sponsoring university.


Last Updated: July 9, 2020

Give us feedback about this page Submit Feedback