Supplier Diversity Program

The University is committed to developing mutually beneficial relationships with small, minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged, veteran-owned, HUBzone, and local business enterprises. The Supplier Diversity Program is Northwestern's initiative to create opportunities for vendors to market their products to the University and to encourage University departments and schools to offer opportunities to such vendors.

Learn more by reading the NU Statement on Supplier Diversity.

Find Participating Vendors

  • Vendor profiles identify all participating NU Preferred Vendors, which have been pre-screened by PRS. These vendors can also be identified on the Preferred Vendor Matrix.
  • You can also contact Purchasing Resource Services at 847-491-8120 to find diverse vendors.

Program Objectives

  • Create contracting opportunities for diverse vendors, which includes:
    • LBE: Local Business Enterprise
    • MBE: Minority Business Enterprise
    • WBE: Woman-Owned Business Enterprise
    • DBE: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
    • SB: Small Business
  • Develop partnerships between diverse vendors and University departments/schools that result in lasting business relationships
  • Promote diversification of the University's contractor vendor base through increased opportunities for diverse vendors who have not worked directly or indirectly with the University
  • Maintain a high standard of quality in all products and services provided
  • Comply with Sponsored Program requirements regarding goal attainment of small business subcontracts

Information for Vendors

Interested in participating in the supplier diversity program?

  • Download the Supplier Diversity Brochure pdf icon (pdf) for additional information.
  • Complete the PRS Vendor Registration Form pdf icon (pdf). This form is for registering as a minority-owned, disadvantaged, woman-owned, or local Evanston business in Northwestern's Supplier Diversity database. This database is for use by NU's Supplier Diversity Program and will not be shared with outside sources. Send in the form in one of the following ways:
    • Email:
    • Fax: 847-467-5400
    • Mail: Purchasing Resource Services
      Supplier Diversity Program
      Northwestern University
      2020 Ridge Avenue, Second Floor
      Evanston, IL 60208-4303
  • Purchasing Resource Services (PRS) has established many Preferred Vendors that departments and schools are strongly encouraged to use. However, Northwestern has a decentralized, non-mandated purchasing environment. Departments and schools make many of their own purchasing decisions. As such, we encourage you to contact departments and schools that may utilize your products and services directly.
  • As a private University, Northwestern does not have formal percentage goals (percentage of total spend with diverse vendors) such as those at many public schools and government organizations.
  • When PRS sends out an ITB (Invitation to Bid) to establish a Preferred Vendor, we will include diverse vendors from the PRS internal vendor database. It doesn't guarantee you will be awarded a contract, but you will be invited to submit a proposal.
  • PRS will make information and diverse vendors from the internal vendor database available to departments and schools when necessary.
  • PRS also accesses diverse vendors in the internal vendor database when creating a small business plan for departments and schools to include with grant proposals to the Federal government.
  • PRS attends various diversity conferences, such as the CMBDC (minority), WBDC (women), and the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, where we meet vendors to add to our internal vendor database.
  • We have a formal Purchasing to Payment Advisory Board, consisting of individuals from various departments and schools that meet quarterly to give us feedback on purchasing. One of the sub-committees from the Board specifically discusses Supplier Diversity.
  • PRS Supplier Diversity Contact: Purchasing Resource Services, 847-491-8120.

Information for University Buyers

Departments and schools should contact PRS for information on diverse vendors.

Facilities Management is the only department that uses the Supplier Diversity Subcontracting Plan Forms for vendor contract proposals:

Small Business Plans

Purchasing Resource Services also assists in the creation of Small Business Subcontracting Plans for inclusion in grant proposals. A final proposed budget is necessary to create a subcontracting plan. Please allow five business days for creations of a subcontracting plan. For more information, contact Kimberly Li at 847-467-0837.

  • SF-294 and SF-295 – Required for government contracts with small business subcontracts. These forms are submitted bi-annually on April 30 and October 31. PRS fills out the forms in conjunction with Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs (ASRSP). PRS supplies ASRSP with the breakdown of spending with small, small disadvantaged, woman-owned, HUBzone, veteran-owned, and large businesses for each government contract. Forms are available from ASRSP.

Supplier Diversity Symposium

Periodically, Northwestern holds Supplier Diversity Symposiums that highlight a select group of diverse vendors who provide professional services. View the list of 2012 Supplier Diversity Symposium vendors.