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The Quarterly Connection: January 2024

Highlighting the Supplier Diversity Initiative

Welcome to the The Quarterly Connection, where we dive a little deeper into our programming as well as share upcoming activities and opportunities for you to engage in.  We would like to start out the year by highlighting the Supplier Diversity Initiative, which serves to connect local businesses in North Aurora and Northeast Denver with departments on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.  By including and supporting diverse businesses in our supply chain, we create opportunity, promote innovation, and stimulate growth that enriches our community as a whole.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (ODEICE) partnered with the City of Aurora Small Business Development Center, On Havana Street, the Center for Community Wealth Buildingand the University of Colorado System Procurement Service Center to create the Supplier Diversity Initiative (SDI).  Through this initiative we aim to build and maintain strong relationships with local businesses that can meet some of the University's needs for goods and services, which provides a benefit for both the campus and the nearby community. 

This initiative is focused on small and minority-owned businesses in the areas surrounding the CU Anschutz Medical Campus (specifically Adams, Arapahoe, and Denver Counties).  To start, the services we are focused on include caterers, restaurants, translation, and marketing services.  These categories were selected because they are services frequently used by campus departments and are available in Northwest Aurora and Northeast Denver.  

In conjunction with the SDI, our office has guided the creation of the El Alba catering cooperative, which has resulted in nearly a dozen catering businesses being developed by residents who live nearby campus.  Seven of those caterers have grown beyond the cooperative to operate on their own, and four continue to participate with El Alba cooperative which is an official SDI vendor.

Collage of four photos showing members of the El Alba catering cooperative

Members of the El Alba catering cooperative.

The SDI is now a year old, and we are grateful to all of the departments who have purchased from the many suppliers of goods and services on our website.  More than $100,000 in products and services have been purchased since the SDI's inception and we hope to see that number grow as more of our campus colleagues become aware of and engage with this initiative.

One way we plan to spread the word will be through the first CU Anschutz Neighborhood Catering Expo which we will host on campus next month.  The purpose of this event is to provide an opportunity for event and meeting planners at CU Anschutz to connect with up to 15 caterers from the community to sample their food and learn about their services.  

We encourage anyone with purchasing or event planning responsibilities to consider utilizing a vendor from this initiative to not only meet your unit's business needs, but to also have a tangible, positive impact on our neighbors.  A list of our current vendors can be found here and we will continue to add vendors and services as the program grows.  Any small business owner interested in partnering with us is encouraged to fill out a vendor application.

Image of a hand holding a W-4 with "small business" written on it, there is money, a calculator, and glasses in the background
Support small business.



In 2021, CU spent the following amount by County:

  • Adams: $45,420,598
  • Arapahoe: $78,449,374
  • Denver: $339,796,991

The more we are able to funnel that money to our local businesses, the better off our communities will be.

By having a positive impact on community members' financial wellbeing (or health), we have the opportunity to help shape their physical and mental health outcomes for the better.  Read more in this 2020 study on the topic (an abbreviated version can be found here).