Business and Ethics / Campus Community

SU Awarded Grant to Bolster BIPOC Businesses & Vendors

Written by Tina Potterf

August 3, 2021

Photo of exterior area of Albers School of Business and Economics.

Image credit: Yosef Chaim Kalinko

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center and campus partners will work to expand diversity of suppliers.

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) at Albers—in collaboration with the Center for Community Engagement and Seattle U’s Procurement Office—was awarded a $750,000 grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation to implement the “SU Diversity for Inclusive Recovery Supplier” (DivIRS) program.

With this funding, Seattle U will be able to advance efforts—over the next five years—to increase by 10 percent procurement spending with diverse local businesses.

“With support from JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the DivIRS program will both direct wealth to local diverse businesses and engage our local BIPOC and especially Black communities and businesses,” says Amelia Marckworth, interim director of the IEC, who will lead the grant in collaboration with campus partners.

Additionally, the DivIRS program will help to increase the resilience of the local business ecosystem by increasing university spending with local Black- and BIPOC-owned businesses; build capacity of community businesses to engage large institutional procurement pipelines; support local business in building networks; and develop a model to facilitate sharing and growth of neighborhood-focused supplier diversity efforts among peer universities and anchor institutions.

This grant extends the center’s previous work focused on implementing RAMP.up, a program that collaborates with Central District entrepreneurs in growing their capacity. The new supplier diversity program builds on RAMP.up’s foundation to support potential institutional vendors in Seattle and develop procurement-readiness among local businesses owned by BIPOC community members, with a priority for Black-owned businesses near campus.