October 20, 2015

SIU to host diverse business opportunity fair

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Representatives from Illinois public universities and business owners from across the state will gather at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for a higher education diverse business opportunity fair on Tuesday, Oct. 27, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The fair will be held in the Student Center, 1255 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale.

The fair is an opportunity for minority, women, disabled and military veteran business owners to meet face-to-face with university buyers from across the state to learn about procurement opportunities and the benefits of becoming a certified diverse vendor with the state of Illinois. The fair also includes workshops and panel discussions focused on the procurement process and other resources to assist business owners.

The outreach event is part of an ongoing initiative to stimulate interaction between public universities in the state and diverse businesses, according to Sharla Roberts, director of procurement diversity for the University of Illinois with campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The goal is to create partnerships and ultimately produce more contracting opportunities with diverse firms.

“State of Illinois public universities want to create a more open and transparent playing field for small and diverse businesses to benefit from procurement opportunities,” she said.

Aaron Carter, executive director of the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative (IPHEC), emphasized the importance of this fair and the essential role that state public universities play in business development. “Small, local, and diverse businesses are key to job creation and economic development in the great State of Illinois. Business owners should be aware of the variety and scale of the state universities purchasing activities and work to learn about the process and engage with all those involved.”

The fair is sponsored by the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative (IPHEC) Purchasing Advisory Council (PAC) Diversity Working Group. It is free and open to any vendor seeking business with state public universities.

Event information and registration is online at: https://www.conferences.uillinois.edu/hedbof/2015-siuc