Diverse Vendor Networking Fair brings out more than 300 people

More than 300 people attended the recent Diverse Vendor Networking Fair, including more than 160 members of our faculty and staff. That strong presence demonstrates the university’s commitment to paving the way for new opportunities.

NIU is focused on expanding its diverse vendor portfolio and increasing spend with small businesses and companies owned by women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Over the past few years, the university nearly doubled its partnerships with companies that are certified through the state’s Business Enterprise Program (BEP) and increased spend with diverse vendors by nearly $4 million from FY18 to FY19. That is a significant year-over-year increase, but there is more work to do. The team in Procurement Services and Contract Management will partner with units on campus to continue to build off this momentum.

The Board of Trustees and President Freeman have been leaders in this effort. They have set a very obtainable goal for campus to achieve – increase the BEP spend by 2% in FY20. That can happen if we are all strategic in making the best use of university resources.

More than 50 vendors attended the networking fair. Members of all university departments and divisions are encouraged to be diligent in the effort to establish new partnerships with BEP vendors. Search the state’s BEP certification directory and find vendors that offer the products and services your unit needs. Consider them as you plan to make a purchase.

Staff in the Office of Procurement Services and Contract Management is available to assist and provide insight on how to expand your unit’s opportunities to partner with a BEP vendor. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Antoinette Bridges at 815-753-1671 or via email at abridges3@niu.edu.

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