Launch of new, diverse business directories at Day of Dialogue and Action – The Source
On the recent 2022 Day of Dialogue and Action, staff from the Department of Supplier Diversity at Washington University in St. Louis launched a new online tool designed to facilitate partnerships with diverse companies for the campus community and the entire St. Louis area.
The new directories — one focused on all industries providing goods and services, the other specifically for construction — are at university Supplier Diversity Website and allow comprehensive and customizable searches in just a few clicks. Within the directories, departments can access approximately 2,000 self-identified diverse businesses providing goods and services ranging from foodservices to computer systems design.
“We are excited to share this new tool with the entire WashU community,” said Janelle Turner, Director of Supplier Diversity. “Although the university has made great strides in engaging various companies, especially in the areas of construction, we know there is still a lot to do. We hope the directories will make it easier to partner with a host of diverse businesses — and more in mind — for WashU departments, schools, and centers that use outside vendors.
WashU’s enhanced commitment to hiring and sourcing from a variety of companies comes in part from its membership and involvement in the St. Louis Anchor Action Network. Formed out of conversations that began in December 2019, the network seeks to address inequalities in employment, income and wealth experienced within majority black and brown communities facing high rates of poverty in the region. of Saint Louis.
“The network aims to take definitive action when it comes to advancing equity in the St. Louis area,” Turner said. “While these directories represent a big step forward from WashU, we are excited to see what lies ahead as we all collaborate and commit to leveling the playing field for diverse businesses and their employees.”
WashU’s new directories include businesses in the St. Louis area as well as others from across the country. Many have a proven track record with the university, having previously performed work or provided products or services. Others are new to the community. As suppliers register on the portal, Supplier Diversity staff connect with each of them. Directories are also open to the public to increase awareness and opportunities for listed businesses.
“Bringing WashU’s Supplier Diversity Directories from concept to reality was not easy, but it was rewarding work,” said Sanjana Are, supplier diversity intern and recent graduate of Olin Business School. “We are thrilled to offer these important resources not only to our campus community, but to anyone else interested in hiring a diverse company or business.”
Although listing in directories does not guarantee a bidding opportunity or contract, it can lead to greater visibility and increased awareness of a company’s offerings and capabilities. Businesses interested in listing in directories are encouraged to complete an online profile. The directory is updated regularly.
“We expect all companies included in the directory to bring their A games,” Turner said. “They must meet the university’s high standards for value, quality and timeliness. The bottom line is that companies will be awarded jobs and contracts based on their capabilities, and we look forward to engaging with more potential partners as we continue this effort.