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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Minority Business Program detailed

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 28 - April 13, 1995

The university is committed to improve the level of business activities with minority-owned business enterprises. The university has had a state-mandated minority goal since fiscal year 1986-87. The goal has been set at 3 percent of total discretionary purchases. Despite the minimum goal of 3 percent, the actual achievement for fiscal years 1986-87 throughout 1988-89 were 1.0, 0.66, and 0.83 percent respectively.

In an attempt to increase the minority participation, the Minority Business Program was developed and endorsed by the university administration in October 1989. Minoo Damanpour was appointed to lead this program. The implementation of the plan began immediately. To comply with the plan, a number of actions have taken place in the Purchasing Department as well as other departments to increase participation. For instance, efforts began to identify minority vendors and compile a list. The definition of a minority-owned or woman-owned business is as follows: "Minority-owned Business Enterprise" (MBE) is a business enterprise that is owned or controlled by one or more socially or economically disadvantaged persons. Such disadvantages may arise from cultural, racial, chronic economic circumstances or background, or other similar cause. Such persons include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Spanish-speaking, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Eskimos, and Aleuts. A "Woman-owned Business Enterprise" (WBE) means a business enterprise that is owned and controlled by one or more females.

Since 1989, the Purchasing Department has identified and compiled a directory of minority-owned businesses. This directory is available on the University Info system and Gopher. To access the Minority directory do the following (A or B):

A. University Information (INFO)

Minority Vendor List or
Search Minority Vendor List

B. Gopher

Purchasing Information
Minority Vendor List or
Search Minority Vendor List

The Minority Vendors List is divided based on commodity, and includes name, address, and phone number of each vendor. The Search List is also based on product or service; e.g., chemicals, furniture, builder's supplies, hospital equipment, etc. The directory can be printed in whole or in part.

The Purchasing Department library holds several national and regional directories such as Try Us, Department of Minority Business Enterprise Directory, Regional Directory of Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprises, and US Directory of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses. A number of minority publications such as Minority Business Entrepreneur, Business Briefs, and Minority Business News USA are also available in the Purchasing library.

Other actions have included presenting the university at minority trade fairs around the state, providing MBE's and WBE's with training seminars on how to do business with Virginia Tech, establishing a mandatory procedure that buying and contracting staff members include minority sources in all their solicitations, and encouraging the university community to include minority vendors to the greatest extent possible in purchases under $2,000 when using speed purchase orders.

In addition, products and services where a large number of minority vendors exist have been identified. One of these areas is construction and renovation.

As a result of all activities in the past few years, Virginia Tech reported as the actual goal achieved 1.12, 1.88, 2.45, 2.04, and 2.23 percent for fiscal years 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, and 1993-94 respectively.

Despite the efforts and increases in minority achievements, more must be done to reach the 3-percent goal and beyond. The university community's involvement is necessary to include MBE's and WBE's in transactions.

It should be noted that the Minority Business Program is a state-wide as well as university-wide program.

Minorities are a segment of the society that must be included in all business transactions. A university-wide participation and commitment is needed to make this program successful.

For more information about the program or any comments or recommendations, please contact Minoo Damanpour, Purchasing Department, 144 Southgate Center, 1-3752 or PURMD.