Patience Pays Off for Woman-owned, Minority Business
Kent State University prides itself in being a diverse institution — in students, faculty, staff and vendors, evident by its new partnership with woman-owned, minority office supply vendor Going Beyond Expectations (GBEX LLC).
GBEX, a distribution company located in Cincinnati, Ohio, expressed interest in working with Kent State three years ago through Kent State’s Supplier Diversity program.
Timothy Konczal, director of procurement at Kent State, says GBEX was chosen as the new office supply vendor based on its customer service, products and competitive pricing.
“They have exceptional skills in terms of tracking the spend within the assigned commodities,” Konczal says. “And they do a good job of promoting the brand.”
“GBEX has an extreme amount of value,” says Veronica Cook-Euell, manager of the Supplier Diversity program at Kent State. “It is helping the university come up with the best practices on an economic buy effort.”
Because of its standing as a woman-owned, minority business enterprise, GBEX was invited to register in Kent State’s Diverse Vendor System, where minority, women-owned and veteran-owned suppliers desiring to do business with Kent State can register.
Cook-Euell says companies register with the database, allowing university purchasers to access company information when looking for new vendors.
“The database creates an internal capability statement that is shared with buyers, procurement professionals and end users at their fingertips,” Cook-Euell says. “It is an excellent tool to share with those who have purchasing authority internally and provide significant insight into the business owners’ core products and services.”
Chris Ellington, president of GBEX, says with Kent State supporting small, diverse businesses, this decision impacts the economic growth and development for communities in Ohio.
“Jobs afford more Ohioans the opportunity to better themselves and the communities in which they live, not to mention the positive economic impact to the state of Ohio,” Ellington says.
Ellington believes GBEX will simply be able to provide more cost savings for Kent State, while also fulfilling Kent State’s decision to support small diverse businesses in and around the region.
The university has a goal to spend 15 percent of its purchases with minority or woman-owned businesses, says Cook-Euell.
“Currently, we have inclusive spending toward this requirement with many other suppliers – it is the collective spend that will account for the 15 percent goal,” Cook-Euell says.
The university also has worked with Brown Enterprises Solutions for computers and AG Print Promotions for promotional products, Cook-Euell adds.