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Supplier Diversity

As a part of our efforts to strengthen ISU's supplier diversity initiatives, our Supplier Diversity Coordinator will be able to help you find certified diverse businesses to solicit quotes from for your purchases. Our preferred certifying programs are the Business Enterprise Program (BEP), which certifies minority-, women-, and persons with disabilities-owned small businesses, and the Veteran Business Program (VBP), which certifies veteran-owned small businesses. If you identify a vendor who is certified through another certifying body, please contact our Supplier Diversity Coordinator at

A supplier diversity program can lower the cost of goods and services by increasing competition among viable vendors, while also widening the opportunities for diverse vendors to do business with the University. In order to achieve this goal of improving the fiscal health of the University while making the University more inclusive for diverse and small businesses, we need your support in building expanded vendor networks.

Consider some of the following best practices you can implement to build a diverse network of vendors:

  • Forecast expenditures several months to a year in advance whenever possible.
  • Set reasonable quote deadline goals for vendors to prepare and respond.
  • Reach out to many vendors for price quotes, going beyond the required two.
  • If a vendor isn't interested in providing pricing, see if they are willing to explain why not.
  • With Purchasing, arrange for on-campus meetings with vendors who may be interested.
  • Encourage vendors to subcontract or purchase project supplies from diverse vendors.
  • Develop a competitive process for purchases under $20,000 if appropriate (copiers, construction, etc.)

To learn more about how to locate a certified diverse vendor through the CMS BEP/VBP vendor directory, we've prepared a guide for you.

While it takes effort to break from using an incumbent vendor for small purchase needs, reaching out to multiple vendors for quotes—and seeking quotes specifically from vendors who are otherwise unrepresented in the University's business environment—can maximize the value of every dollar you spend on the goods and services you purchase throughout the year.

Please note that some IPHEC (Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative) awards, which have already been competitively solicited and allow you to waive the multiple quote requirement, have BEP Utilization Plans in place for the awardee(s). When using an IPHEC award for a purchase, ask the awardee about any diverse subcontractors or suppliers they may utilize for your procurement. To learn more about IPHEC awards available for your use, visit the awards page on the IPHEC website.

If you have any questions regarding ISU's supplier diversity resources, contact Brienne Reid in the Purchasing Office.