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To Suppliers and University of Missouri Systemwide Employees

Supplier diversity has become an important strategy for American business. The demographic shifts and changes in the U.S. have become today's reality. With a minority population expected to be more than 40 percent of the U.S. by 2040 and with women currently comprising more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, new business growth as well as the prospective recruits for colleges among these groups continues to steadily grow in Missouri and nationally. Regardless of what business sector firms are in, these shifting demographics affect all of American business and how we work and manage. This certainly includes the University of Missouri System.

So why supplier diversity? Looking at the demographic changes in the U.S., the issue of job creation and wealth building particularly among the minority population continues to lag behind the general population. In a study done several years ago by Yankelovich Research, 10,000 minority-owned businesses (MBE) were polled. On average about 75 percent of the hires at these firms were someone of an ethnic minority group. There have been other studies done that suggest the same occurs with women-owned businesses (WBE) as well. Supplier diversity can help to close the income and wealth gap if done correctly. It creates jobs. The inclusion of small and  diverse suppliers can many times lead to greater competition in the supply chain creating lower and more efficient cost structures. From a purely economic standpoint, if corporations and universities as well as government entities can collectively help close the job and wealth gaps, America's overall spending potential increases. Ultimatly, it is in our best interest to have a strong supplier diversity effort.

For suppliers, what does this mean for you? You need to be prepared and ready when you do business with the University of Missouri systemwide. We will assist and help you when we can. But, we will always choose best value for our customers. What the university will do is be inclusive in firms it looks at for prospective business relationships. For our largest current suppliers, our go-forward expectations are that you have an inclusive supplier base as well. The expectation is that you utilize supplier diversity as part of fulfilling your contracts with the university. We've done well with inclusion in the design and construction areas over the years. We expect that to continue and improve. Going forward the university will have deeper conversations and greater expectaions with our procurement suppliers on improving their results through 2nd Tier purchasing.

I have personally spent the better part of the last 20 years helping to not only improve supplier diversity results but also to create strong minority and women-owned businesses in America and in Missouri. I believe, when done right, large institutions can improve economic opportunities for these groups. We can also see greater long-term financial health in our businesses. That ultimately means a stronger economic base for Missouri and across the U.S.

Signature of Daryl Hodnett

D.M. (Daryl) Hodnett

Director-Supplier Diversity and Small Business Development

University of Missouri System

Campus links University of Missouri-Columbia University of Missouri-Kansas City Missouri University of Science and Technology University of Missouri-St. Louis

Reviewed 2014-01-28.