Welcome to the University of South Florida Office of Supplier Diversity Website!
We are here to connect small-, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses to opportunities within the USF System and provide educational tools and resources to promote the economic development and sustainability of diverse businesses in the Tampa Bay region.
Here we have several resources available to you including information on upcoming events, educational tools and resources and bid opportunities.
As an organization, we empower those who have purchasing authority on behalf of the USF System and encourage them to utilize diverse businesses when making purchases on behalf of the University of South Florida.
Because the vast majority of our system purchases are decentralized, I would like to offer the following five tips for success on how you can maximize your time and efforts when exploring how to do business with the University of South Florida.
1. We encourage all eligible diverse businesses to be certified with one of the state's certifying entities. For a listing of those entities, please click here. Remember to always look at your certification as a marketing tool. Supplier diversity is not a social program targeting specific groups and it is not intended to create an unfair advantage for women or other historically underutilized groups. It's about leveling the playing field so that all potential suppliers can participate in and benefit from the opportunities available within the USF System. It does not mean a guarantee of business for certified firms. Supplier diversity is a market access opportunity for businesses, enabling them to have a fair opportunity to compete for contracts. After that, it is business as usual – women- , minority-, and veteran-owned businesses must go through the standard procurement process, and be gauged on their merits with no regard to race or gender.
2. Create your target list of colleges and departments you desire to do business with. Invest your time and do research upfront on these departments so you are aware of their procurement practices and their needs. Sometimes offering innovative solutions is a gateway and can sometimes turn into additional business with other areas within the USF System. For a listing of departments by college, click here.
3. Network and build business relationships. Identify who you should know. Buyers, Tier 1 Suppliers, C Suite Executives and your Office of Supplier Diversity team of professionals. Take advantage of the networking opportunities and connect with those in the supply chain who can help grow your business. Work to build those key relationships because they could turn into contracting opportunities.
4. Make sure your business has the potential for future scalability to provide quality service and/or products on large contracts. University contracts tend to be larger so make sure your business is prepared to demonstrate that you have the capacity to deliver. This may require creating strategic alliances or official joint ventures in order to compete and meet the requirements of larger contracts. Find other certified businesses that may provide complimentary services to increase your capacity allowing you to be competitive in the areas of pricing and service.
5. You are a game changer! As of 2012, there are over 9.8 million women-owned businesses in the United States and over 8 million minority owned firms generating together over $2 trillion in annual receipts. That is a game-changing economic impact and we want your business to be a part of the great things happening within the footprint of the USF System.
We are here to connect small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses to opportunities within the USF System and provide educational tools and resources to promote the economic development and sustainability of diverse businesses in the Tampa Bay Region.
As we move forward in building the University of South Florida supplier diversity program, we are committed to you and my hope is that you prosper and be fulfilled in all you do!
Terrie Daniel, Assistant Vice President
University of South Florida
Office of Supplier Diversity