Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is supplier diversity?

A: Supplier Diversity is the condition of creating a base of suppliers and contractors that are highly representative of (the customer) the student body. This is accomplished by fostering an inclusive procurement and contracting process that encourages maximum participation of all vendors, including historically underutilized businesses, SBA defined small businesses, and minority, women, veteran, LGBT, or veteran owned businesses. This ensures the University's access to quality goods and services at competitive prices which creates the opportunity for significant cost savings. 

Q: What do the terms MBE, WBE, MWBE, and CBE refer to?

A: These acronyms refer to businesses certified by the State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE) as being owned and controlled by either minorities, women, or a combination.
  • An MBE is a Minority Business Enterprise that is owned 51% by a minority
  • A WBE is a Women's Business Enterprise that is owned 51% by a woman
  • An MWBE is a Minority Women's Business Enterprise that is owned 51% by a minority woman
  • A CBE is a Combination Business Enterprise that is owned 50% by a minority male and 50% by a non-minority female.

Q: My business is not certified by OMWBE. Does the University acknowledge certifications from other agencies?

A: The reports submitted by the University to State of Washington only include businesses that are certified by the State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE). However, businesses certified by other agencies such as the US Small Business Administration (SBA), Northwest Minority Supplier Development Council or the Women's Business Enterprise National Council will be included in internal University reports.
The University encourages qualified businesses to contact OMWBE for more information about their certification process.

Q: My business is certified by the SBA. Does the University acknowledge their certifications?

A: Yes. The University receives significant funding from federal agencies for research. Federal law requires the University to submit a small business subcontracting plan when a federal contract exceeds $650,000 to ensure that small business enterprises have an equitable opportunity to compete for subcontracts.

Q: Does the University have a set-aside program for use of minority or women owned businesses?

A: No. Washington State Law does not permit the University to show preference or discriminate in the awarding of contracts based on the ethnicity or gender of business owners. While the University may not establish set-asides or mandatory goals for the use of minority and women-owned business, the University maintains a commitment to providing maximum practicable opportunity to participate in any and all procurement and contracting by the University.

Q: Who advises and provides direction to the Business Diversity Program?

A: The Business Diversity Program is supported by a campus-wide Advisory Board. This committee is an internal group of UW leaders, representing several different UW Departments and Schools/Colleges who:
  • Serve as BDP Champion/Liaisons in their respective departments/schools/colleges
  • Work with BDP staff to create and prioritize business diversity goals in their respective departments/schools/colleges
  • Are campus advocates for business diversity
  • Partner with BDP staff to create and manage the UW business diversity message
  • Meet quarterly (or as needed) with BDP staff to provide strategic input on program policies and procedures
The Business Diversity Program also receives regular strategic input on program policies and procedures from its Business Diversity Advisory Board consisting of business, community and University leaders.

Q: Does the University participate in any business opportunity fairs?

A: Yes. The University hosts an annual Business Diversity Supplier Fair which is an opportunity to promote small-, minority-, and/or women-owned businesses to UW personnel. The Business Diversity Program staff also regularly participates in a variety of small business forums and trade shows including the Regional Contracting Forum, Alliance NW,  and Northwest Minority Supplier Development Council's MBE Showcase.