USF Supplier Diversity Program Has Big Impact its Inaugural Year
Supplier Diversity staff worked to increase university spending with diverse-owned businesses by nearly $10 million
As one of the Tampa Bay region’s largest economic engines, the University of South Florida System’s commitment to supporting the diverse small business community is as strong as ever.
Established in 2017, the USF Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) has made tremendous strides in strengthening the relationship between the university and minority, woman and veteran-owned organizations interested in opportunities across the System. OSD has developed rich partnerships with countless local organizations, continued to educate vendors about USF’s procurement process and is hosting the second annual Supplier Diversity Day to connect various businesses with units across campus.
Along with its external efforts, OSD has also implemented training programs for USF employees to educate them on best practices in the procurement of goods, services and other contracts.
The efforts have paid off. In the most recent fiscal year, the university spent $27.5 million with diverse-owned suppliers, or roughly 8 percent of USF’s total addressable purchases, a nearly $10 million increase from just one year earlier.
Assistant Vice President Terrie Daniel, hired last year to build the supplier diversity program, says the improvement is an undeniable reflection of USF’s targeted investments in the area.
“In a short period of time, we have implemented a foundation for success, and we’re already seeing new opportunities created for our suppliers every day,” she said. “Because of the leadership of our Board of Trustees, President Judy Genshaft and other key contributors across the USF System who are champions for this initiative, we are making significant progress that will be transformational for our campus climate.”
Daniel says that while the university’s improvements will continue to propel it to reach even higher, the real success is in the tangible impact OSD has had on local businesses across the region. One such success story is Bay Coffee & Tea Company – a campus coffee supplier with a newly opened brick and mortar store in USF’s Argos Exchange.
“For us, it’s humbling to have this extraordinary relationship with such an incredible university,” said Carole Colvin, co-owner of Bay Coffee & Tea Company. “The university is an iconic representation of the best the Tampa Bay area has to offer. So, having the chance to work with USF is incredible.”
Started more than a decade ago as a popular stand at local farmers’ markets, Bay Coffee & Tea Company has only recently began working with USF. Colvin says their relationship with USF Dining Services/Aramark, as well as the critical support from Daniel and her team at OSD, has helped benefit the company’s bottom line while also providing them the chance to spread their message of sustainability to a new audience.
As a minority owned business,
OSD recognized the potential for even greater collaboration with Bay Coffee
& Tea. After participating in the university’s first Supplier Diversity Day
in 2017, Daniel has continued to support and promote Bay Coffee for even
greater opportunities – efforts that helped spur the company’s physical
footprint on campus.
“We are creating an eco-system of economic development and growth for the diverse business community and it is exciting to be a part of something much bigger than myself,” Daniel said. “However, we cannot rest on our laurels but will continue to promote this initiative and raise awareness internally and externally.”
And while successes like Bay Coffee & Tea Company continue to pile up for the Office of Supplier Diversity, Daniel says they are only just getting started. With plans to increase the total addressable purchases with minority-owned businesses to between 13-20 percent, Daniel says she is thrilled with their momentum and excited to see what her office, with help from the entire USF and Tampa Bay community, can achieve next.
To learn more about the USF Office of Supplier Diversity, visit their website.