Two shop owners with an Open sign

Supplier Diversification Program

Seattle University's Initiative Committed to a More Sustainable and Inclusive Economy

Aligning Mission and Values with University Spending

Launched in 2021 through a $750,000 grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Seattle University's Supplier Diversification Program was created to guide university-wide efforts in increasing procurement spending with diverse local businesses.

The program aims to build the strength and breadth of diverse local businesses, increase equity, and create a more resilient and integrated community. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Albers School of Business and Economics, the Sundborg Center for Community Engagement (CCE), and Seattle University's Procurement Office.


JP Morgan Chase logo

Supplier Highlight: Dirty Dog

Three diners snacking on hot dogs"Simply the best hotdog in Seattle!!"

That is an actual Yelp review of Dirty Dog, a hot dog cart that's the stuff of legend in Capitol Hill. Owner Binyam Wolde, who migrated from Ethiopia when he was 15, started his business in 2010. He offers beef, vegetarian, spicy or Polish dogs with a choice of fixin's that hit the spot for late-night revelers.
Apart from serving Capitol Hill diners, Wolde also does concerts, sports events, private catering, and corporate functions. His food has been featured by publications such as Eater Seattle and the Seattle Times. Wolde is more than happy to elaborate on what a Seattle-style hot dog is. 

"Simply put, a Seattle-style hot dog includes onions and cream cheese," he said in a blog post. "While many people on the East Coast use sauerkraut and mustard, Seattle gets its signature taste from onions and cream cheese. Yes, it might sound bizarre, but you will not know what we are talking about unless you try it."

Dirty Dog is a participating business in the Resource Amplification & Management Program (RAMP-Up) of the Albers School of Business and Economics. RAMP-Up offers business coaching, resource connections, business planning, project management assistance, and other technical support to underserved local businesses in Seattle's Central Area and surrounding neighborhoods.

Photo of Dirty Dog diners courtesy of Dirty Dog.

Goals and Spending

Supplier Diversification Program Goals

  • Create a new diverse supplier procurement model for Seattle University
  • Increase the capacity of local BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and other people of color) small business owners to contract with large local purchasers
  • Build an ecosystem of comprehensive small business support services
  • Create a pipeline of inclusive procurement purchasing
  • Increase the number of DBEs (diverse business entities) providing goods and services to Seattle University
  • Disseminate lessons learned

Two men standing outside a store frontTo achieve its goals of increasing procurement spending with DBEs and annually doubling the number of DBE, BIPOC and Black vendors contracted, Seattle University plans to:

  • Identify DBEs and designate them in the internal procurement system; work with the RAMP-Up program to bring more DBE suppliers to the university; include DBEs in all RFP’s over $50,000; track spending with DBEs; and regularly share DBE spending percentages.
  • Develop a supplier diversity model, including analyzing current vendors and spending; developing procedures and a procurement system that facilitate diverse purchasing; and sharing best practices with like-minded institutions.
  • Pursue BIPOC community engagement through utilizing and strengthening the university's BIPOC network to help with the procurement readiness pilot; reaching out to local BIPOC, and especially Black community leaders, to initiate networking; and hiring consultants from the community to complement internal leadership.

Photo of Mediums Collective co-founders Roger and Cesar Maldonado courtesy of Mediums Collective.

Got questions about SU's Supplier Diversification Program?

Contact us at