Kent State Goes Above and Beyond Supplier Diversity GoalsPosted Mar. 24, 2014
Kent State University's strong relationship with many of its diverse vendors has enabled the success of its supplier diversity program.Vendor involvement and feedback have led to the program’s success and an enhanced vendor database at Kent State.
The most recent benefit of this collaboration is that Kent State surpassed its minority business enterprise goal of 15 percent twice. The first quarter of Kent State’s fiscal year ended with a total of 15.11 percent minority vendors, and the second quarter increased to 21.19 percent. This is fresh off the heels of a November 2013 nomination for the Northern Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council’s Corporation of the Year award.
The combined efforts of Kent State and its vendors have resulted in recent accomplishments and long-term success. The SMART diverse vendor database has raised awareness on all eight of Kent State’s campuses, bringing accessible and important information to buyers, purchase-card holders and architects using the new paperless database available to them. The online database creates an internal capability statement outlining minority- and women-owned companies.
“We need to make sure we have good data, and the supplier diversity database was designed to do just that — there is none other like it,” says Veronica Cook-Euell, supplier diversity program manager at Kent State and creator of the SMART database. “The data we collect gives us significant information to help our buyers, end users and project managers make a decision to take a closer look. Often times, that closer look can and has resulted in a contract opportunity.”
Outreach efforts across Northeast Ohio also have led to Kent State’s resounding success. Cook-Euell has taken active roles in the community with major inclusion programming. Kent State has promoted minority inclusion through events such as the Global Business Connection, the Commission on Economic Inclusion and the State of Ohio Reverse Trade Fair.
Kent State has brought opportunities directly to campus by hosting several matchmaker events. These events bring together vendors and contractors with Kent State’s purchasers and project managers, resulting in the creation of business relationships and opening the door to possible contract opportunities.
“We at Kent State value supplier diversity and are committed to inclusion of diverse businesses,” Cook-Euell says. “We want that perfect world where our supplies are just as diverse as the products and services they provide.”
That world may soon be realized as Kent State continues outreach efforts with vendors around Ohio and adds to its growing list of diversity accomplishments.
For more information about supplier diversity at Kent State, visit www.kent.edu/procurement/diversity/index.cfm.