Kent State University Supplier Diversity Program Connects University with Wide Range of Local Firms
As part of its supplier diversity initiative, Kent State University served as a title sponsor for The Profit Factor conference in Cleveland on Aug. 25. The Supplier Diversity Program hosted a business matchmaker workshop to connect entrepreneurs with architects, project managers and procurement staff to showcase current university opportunities.
More than 50 minority-owned businesses met with staff from the Office of Procurement and the Office of University Architect in 15-minute increments to impact supplier diversity initiatives on a larger scale.
“Businesses were thrilled that they had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with the person that would be instrumental in putting forth a RFP (request for proposal), or the end user in many cases,” says Veronica Cook-Euell, Supplier Diversity Program manager.
Tim Konczal, director of procurement, agrees. “We felt it was an outstanding event and provided many opportunities for Kent State University to pursue in the future,” says Konczal.
Launched in 2004, the Supplier Diversity Program aims to increase the university’s spending with diverse suppliers from economically disadvantaged groups, including African-American, Asian American, Native American, Hispanic and women-owned businesses.
“It’s simply a smart way for Kent State to do business,” says Cook-Euell. “Diversity and inclusion is truly a business imperative.”
Kent State is one of the few universities in Ohio with a supplier diversity program aimed at fostering relationships with minority-owned businesses.
“As we strive toward inclusive excellence in every aspect of the university, supplier diversity is without question an area of active engagement that brings in diverse talent and experience,” says Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity equity and inclusion. “Supplier diversity is a high priority.”
To view a brief video shown featuring Cook-Euell at The Profit Factor conference, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGnm1vovU60.
For more information on the Supplier Diversity Program, visit https://www.kent.edu/procurement/diversity.