Procurement seeks to increase engagement with small and diverse businesses

Author: Gwen O'Brien and Marissa Gebhard



On July 1, Procurement Services announced an update to the procurement policies for purchases using both federal and non-federal funds. The Uniform Guidance Bidding Policy identifies that purchases over $150,000 will be part of a competitive bidding process. As a continuation of efforts to streamline and improve the effectiveness of University procurement practices, Procurement Services, in collaboration with the Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Economic Development, implemented an expansion of the competitive bidding program on January 1, 2019 to stimulate the participation of small, women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses in formal Request for Proposals (RFPs) for University purchases exceeding $150,000.

The competitive bidding process formalizes the University’s efforts to do business with these types of businesses. The program complies with federal requirements encouraging institutions that receive federal grants or funding to solicit all business types and sizes.

Faculty and staff who are involved in the procurement process will be asked to do the following:

  1. Evaluate the suppliers' proposals to select the best option for the University.

  2. Approve suppliers whose bids are the best value for the University, not purely on the basis of whether a business is small, women-owned or minority-owned or diverse.

As part of the program, Procurement Services will actively search for and collect a list of small and diverse businesses, and provide the companies with information on how to do business with the University. Procurement Services will promote the program, and will need your support  to review the vendors.

For purchases less than or equal to $10,000, a department creating a requisition should follow their own judgment in identifying and obtaining a quote from a potential supplier. Procurement Services can supply lists of preferred suppliers, negotiate discounts, and provide support as requested. For purchases above $10,000 but below $150,000, written quotations still must be obtained from at least three qualified sources. In these cases, formal competitive bids are not required. Faculty and staff may contact Procurement Services if they have any questions.