For Diverse Suppliers | Get Started

The University is committed to promoting robust supplier diversity by contracting with businesses owned and operated by BIPOC, women, and disabled persons. In FY22, the number of these Minnesota-based suppliers rose to 300 from 271 in FY21. In FY22, the University spent nearly $42 million with these suppliers for goods, services and construction.

If you own a business and belong to one of these protected classes, follow these four steps to start doing business with the University of Minnesota.

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Step 1. Get certified as a BIPOC-, woman-, or disabled-owned business

The University accepts certifications from the following six agencies:

The first three agencies listed above provide certifications free of charge. Learn more about eligibility requirements and apply to these three agencies all at once through the Small Business Certification Portal. Remember, you must be certified as one or more of these protected classes: BIPOC-, women-, or disabled-owned.

Need certification assistance? The Minnesota Department of Administration's APEX Accelerator can help. Contact a counselor today to get started.

Step 2. Get listed in the U of M Targeted Business Directory

The University of Minnesota relies on small and large suppliers to help us fulfill our core mission of teaching, research, and community service. Our university is a large, complex organization and we need a wide variety of products and services. If you can think of it, we probably buy it at some point during any given year.

Our Targeted Business Directory is intended to be the first stop for university personnel who are seeking to purchase goods and services from business enterprises owned and operated by BIPOC, women, and/or persons with disabilities. Join the directory today to be discovered by University decision makers seeking your good or service.

Submit Your Business

Step 3. Sign up on MBid to view bid opportunities

Large purchases made at the University are subject to policies which require an open and competitive bid (RFx) process to make sure the University obtains quality products and services at a fair and reasonable price. Targeted Businesses (certified BIPOC-, women- or disabled-owned businesses) gain a competitive advantage on the Supplier Diversity component of the proposal evaluations.

In all instances of competition, Purchasing Services will help ensure the University’s needs are met at the lowest possible cost under the most advantageous terms and conditions available.

Purchasing Services manages the RFx process on purchases that exceed the following dollar thresholds:

  • $50,000 for Goods and Standard/Professional Services
  • $100,000 for Design (Architecture & Engineering) Services
  • $250,000 for Construction Services

The University's current sourcing tool for issuing an RFx is called MBid. Suppliers can login (current users) or register to use (new users) MBid through the Purchasing Services MBid page.

Step 4. For Construction, Architecture, and Engineering RFPs: complete the online matchmaking forms in MBid

All MBid opportunities related to construction, architecture, and engineering projects feature an "online matchmaking form." Potential Respondents and/or Subcontractors are encouraged to register themselves on this matchmaking form. Once registered, the list of interested Respondents / Subcontractors for the RFP can be viewed on a corresponding matchmaking list. 

This is excellent opportunity for diverse subcontractors to network with primes bidding on the project, and vice versa.