About Supplier Diversity

  • UMN Supplier Diversity Logo - Round Maroon Logo with White lettering spelling out University of Minnesota and Office for Business & Community Economic Development surrounding the words Supplier Diversity

Targeted Business Program

The Office for Business & Community Economic Development strives to support business owned and operated by people of color, women and/or persons with a disability to meet the Board of Regents’ objectives in the area of Urban Community Economic Development.  As stated in the Policy, the goal of the Targeted Business Program is to meet:

“[T]he University’s outreach and public service mission mandates that it foster economic growth in the urban communities of which it is a part….[taking] advantage of opportunities, presented by its construction projects and its contracts for goods and services, to promote the training and employment of urban community residents in skilled trades and professions.” (Click here for full policy.)

Toward this goal the University is committed to the use of its purchasing power to enhance employment and business opportunities with Targeted Businesses.  The Office for Business and Community Economic Development is charged with outreach, monitoring and reporting data necessary to impact this goal.

As a result of its enduring commitment to this goal, the University has spent approximately $500M with Targeted Businesses over the life of the program.  The direct and indirect impact of these investments, the circulating and recirculating of these dollars within Minnesota’s urban communities, fosters the community and economic development outcomes needed to meet the Regents’ goal.

WMDBE Certification Criteria


To become a certified Woman, Minority or Disabled Business Enterprise (WMDBE), your business must meet the following requirements. Both current and historical facts are considered in determining ownership qualifications and participation in the management and operations of the company.

  • Your business is a for-profit enterprise.
  • Your business is physically located in the United States or its trust territories.
  • Your business is at least 51% ethnic minority-owned. For the purposes of NMSDC’s program, a minority group member is an individual who is at least 25% Asian, Black, Hispanic or Native American.
    • Asian-Indian: A U.S. citizen whose origins are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
    • Asian-Pacific: A U.S. citizen whose origins are from Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific or the Northern Marianas.
    • Black: A U.S. citizen who is of African descent (excluding Northern Africa).
    • Hispanic: A U.S. citizen of true-born Hispanic heritage, from any of the Spanish-speaking areas of the following regions: Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean Basin only. Brazilians (Afro-Brazilian, indigenous/Indian only) shall be listed under Hispanic designation for review and certification purposes.
    • Native American: A person who is an American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut or Native Hawaiian, and regarded as such by the community of which the person claims to be a part. Native Americans must be documented members of a North American tribe, band or otherwise organized group of native people who are indigenous to the continental United States and proof can be provided through a Native American Blood Degree Certificate (i.e., tribal registry letter, tribal roll register number).
  • The minority/ethnic owner(s) of the business are U.S. citizens.
  • The minority/ethnic owner(s) of the business must be active in management and daily business operations.
  • The minority owner(s) shall possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the firm and shall possess the capability of making day-to-day as well as major decisions on matters of management, policy and operations of the firm.  There shall be no restriction on the minority owner's ability to control which would prevent the minority owner from making a business decision without the cooperation or vote of a non-minority person.  Such control shall be known or at least tacitly acknowledged in day-to-day operations by employees and business references of the business.  Where licenses are required to perform the functional mission of the company, such licenses shall be held in the name and/or independent control of minorities.
  • The minority ownership and control shall be real and continuing and not created solely to take advantage of special programs aimed at minority business development.
  • The minority owner(s) shall enjoy the customary incidents of ownership and shall share in the risks and profits and shall have contributed capital, equipment and/or expertise to the business commensurate with his/her percentage of ownership.


An independent business concern:

  • At least fifty-one percent (51%) owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, or in the case of any publicly-owned business, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the equity of which is owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and
  • Whose management and daily operation is controlled by one or more of the women owners. 


To be eligible to be certified (according to ADA Standards) as a disabled business enterprise, a business must

  • Be at least 51 percent owned, operated, managed, and controlled by individuals with a disability who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Exercise independence from any other business enterprise;
  • Have its principal place of business (headquarters) in the United States; and
  • Has been formed as a legal entity in the United States.

Goods & Services

The University of Minnesota relies on Targeted Businesses for goods and professional services on both a system wide and departmental basis. Holding contracts or sub-contracting in a variety of goods and professional services industries, diverse suppliers play a critical role in adding value to the University’s operation. The Targeted Business Program serves as a first stop for certified targeted business wanting to explore potential opportunities to do business with the University. Learn more about how the University purchases goods and services by visiting our vendor links.

One tool used to increase the utilization of targeted businesses by University departments is the Awards Incentive and Recognition (AIR) Program. Designed to recognize University departments and individual staff persons who demonstrate exemplary efforts in supporting and doing business with Targeted Businesses; the AIR Program is a key means of recognizing program excellence.  Through this program Univesity departments can receive financial rewards based on their efforts to purchase goods and services from Targeted Businesses.  Individual staff is also recognized and rewarded for their work in assisting and creating business opportunities for Targeted Businesses.  Hosted annually, the AIR Luncheon is a time of celebration and acknowledgement for University employees and Targeted Businesses.  All prospective Targeted Businesses are encouraged to attend the annual Supplier Diversity Expo.


The University of Minnesota is committed to community and economic development. In partnership with community-based organizations, municipatilities, state representatives and primary contractors, the University strives to implement innovative strategies to build diverse labor force and maximize Targeted Business spend on all University construction projects.

The Office for Business & Community Economic Development in conjunction with U-Construction, Facilities and Capital Project Management provides assistance and programs to promote inclusion for minorityes, women or persons with disabilities.  At the start of every project, general contractors are required to establish levels of participation for Targeted Businesses. On a monthly basis, these reports are reviewed to determine if the projects goals are realized, and to identify areas for improvement. More details