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Small Business / Diversity Procedures

Swarthmore College seeks to create inclusive and equitable communities. Consistent with the College culture, the purchasing office has organized a small business / diversity procedure as a business strategy to enable community members in taking affirmative steps toward increasing business opportunities for these suppliers. This procedure is not quota based, rather it is a competitive process that is consistent with the College’s culture and policies.
A diverse supplier is a business that is 51% owned and operated by a minority, woman, disability-owned business enterprise, veteran, service-disabled veteran, or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender owned business and certified by a College-approved third party organization. Suppliers must provide certification documentation through a third-party certification organization to the purchasing office. It is the supplier's responsibility to keep certification documentation current.
There are approximately 17 Small Business / Diversity Designations [pdf] used to identify businesses. Common examples are Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), Veteran Owned Business (VOB), and Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE).
The College is best served by suppliers that provide quality products or services in a timely manner with competitive pricing. Other general qualities supporting the College's interests include suppliers that are financially sound/credit worthy and those that demonstrate good process/performance requirements.

Small Business / Diverse Supplier Procedure

Faculty and staff are encouraged to invite small businesses and diverse suppliers to bid competitively by following the suggestions below. Note that procurement with federal grants requires that affirmative steps be taken toward the inclusion of small business and diverse suppliers.
  • Tier I represents the direct relationship between the College and its diverse supplier.
    • Placing qualified diverse suppliers on solicitation lists
    • Assuring that diverse suppliers are solicited whenever they are potential sources
    • Divide total requirements, when economically feasible, into smaller tasks or quantities to permit maximum participation by diverse suppliers
  • Tier II occurs when the College has a direct relationship with a primary supplier that sub-contracts with a small business or diverse supplier. The College strongly encourages our primary suppliers to honor their commitment to inclusion by:
    • Subcontracting with small businesses and diverse suppliers (examples include construction, delivery, installation, etc.)
    • Retail companies may obtain product from small businesses and diverse manufacturers

Purchasing Office Responsibilities

The purchasing office supports the small business and diversity procedure by:
  • Identify qualified small businesses and diverse suppliers for the College community
  • Maintain vendor 3rd party supplier certification records
  • Including small business and diverse supplier status considerations in sourcing templates
  • Participate in local and regional small business or supplier diversity vendor fairs

Additional Information

To find additional information about local diverse suppliers, faculty and staff may visit the Enterprise Center website. The Enterprise Center provides access to capital, capacity building, business education and economic development opportunities to high-potential, minority entrepreneurs.
For further information on supplier diversity certifications, contact certifying organizations such as the PA Small Business Enterprises or Women's Business Enterprise National Council.