Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is supplier diversity?

  • Supplier Diversity is the utilization of small, diverse, local businesses in our community. They can be women, veteran, disabled, or minority owned businesses
  • Supplier Diversity is about bridging or linking local, small, women, minority or veteran owned businesses to opportunities to work with our institution

What does the Supplier Diversity Program do?

  • The Supplier Diversity Program is about diversifying the University’s spend. This involves changing or adjusting the way we purchase.

How does this benefit the community?

  • Diversifying institutional spend benefits the community through sustainable practices
  • Sustainability can be summarized through the 3 E’s: environment, equity, and economy
  • Purchasing locally is environmentally friendly as it can help reduce our carbon footprint
  • Spending with local suppliers supports the local economy through circulating money within the community spurring growth

How does outreach to suppliers work?

  • There are opportunities for suppliers to connect with our campus through an annual Diverse Supplier Fair held in the Fall. You can find more information on the Supplier Diversity main page
  • Our website includes lists of local and diverse businesses under the Toolkit for Campus

Does the University prioritize the use of minority or women owned businesses?

  • No, Washington State law prevents such programs that would give priority to some businesses over others. State Initiative I-200 prohibits discrimination and preferential treatment toward any entity. Visit State Initiative I-200 for more information


Why supplier diversity?

  • The purpose of supplier diversity is to diversify institutional purchasing by spending with more small and local suppliers
  • This ties in with several University diversity initiatives such as the University of Washington’s Diversity Blueprint and Diversity Action Plan

How does this apply to my department?

  • Each department has a budget to make purchases using state funds, supplier diversity allows for those funds to benefit the community by choosing to spend with local businesses

Local businesses can be more expensive to purchase from.

  • By purchasing with local businesses we are strengthening our relationship with the community we are a part of and showing our involvement
  • Local businesses often have local suppliers they purchase from which helps reduce our overall carbon footprint

How do I find the supplier I am looking for?

  • Our website has lists of diverse and local supplier that fit your purchasing needs; such as caterers, florists, and office suppliers
  • If you are looking for a more specialized supplier, contact our Supplier Diversity Team


My business is small/minority-owned, but it is not certified by the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises or other state agency.

  • While you may not be a state certified business, there is still opportunity for you with the University through becoming a UW contracted business
  • Keep in mind that state certification allows you to be recognized by public institutions as small and diverse more easily. You may view the different types of certifications at the OMWBE website

What is the Supplier Orientation?

  • The Supplier Orientation is hosted by Procurement Services for vendors interested in contracting with the University
  • This is an informative session meant for vendors to learn about the procurement processes at the University of Washington
  • The orientation is also an opportunity to network with other businesses interested in working with the University

I became a UW Contracted supplier. What are my next steps? Will people begin purchasing immediately?

  • Becoming a UW Contracted supplier will help you gain visibility with some purchasers at the University however this does not guarantee that people will immediately begin purchasing from your business
  • Once you are set up in the system, you may consider reaching out to the departments who might have reason to purchase with you

Who do I contact if I have questions about my contract?

Do I need to sign up for ePayables?

This is a University of Washington requirement for payment to suppliers

  • More sustainable option and helps to reduce paper waste

What is Washington Electronic Business Solutions (WEBS)?

  • WEBS is where you will find solicitations over $10,000
  • This is separate from the UW Supplier Registration, however registering with them will allow you to receive free notices of UW bid opportunities via email