Business Diversity

Working to make diversity and inclusion business as usual

The University of Chicago’s commitment to enhancing diversity goes beyond creating a welcoming and inclusive campus for our students, faculty, and staff. It also applies to how we conduct business. Fostering and maintaining a diverse portfolio of partners and vendors ensures that the University has access to the most creative and innovative talent, while strengthening the business community both locally and nationally. 

From large-scale projects to small ventures, the University seeks to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses that offer a range of professional services, from IT and construction to catering and other goods and services. In addition, we foster meaningful relationships with local business interests designed to promote an environment of mutual benefit.

Tap into a wealth of local resources

When you use local vendors and suppliers for UChicago projects, you help those businesses and the local community thrive. Whether it's an upcoming construction project, event, or meeting, consider using a local resource. The list below can help you get started. 


Below are a few of the ways the University works to enhance business diversity.

The Office of Business Diversity works to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms to compete for business in the University of Chicago’s goods and services supply chain—including professional services—as well as new construction and renovation projects. Below is just a sampling of current programs.

Professional Services Symposium

Annual event held with UChicago Medicine to connect prominent minority- and women-owned professional service firms from around the country with senior University leaders

Direct Connect Program

Links diverse firms to the University, giving them one-on-one time with department heads and purchasing decision makers

South Side Business Development Initiative

Provides business enhancement workshops and seminars to local South Side minority- and women-owned businesses so that they can compete on University contracting opportunities

Economic Impact Program

Provides access to opportunities for certified minority- and women-owned business enterprises; minority and women journey-workers, apprentices, and laborers; and residents in surrounding communities and throughout Chicago

ACE Tech Summer Internship Program

Developed by UChicago’s Facilities Services and ACE Technical Charter High School to offer internships for local Chicago Public Schools students to gain professional experience at construction sites, engineering and trades shops, and office environments

The business diversity initiative extends to UChicago Medicine, where leaders work closely with the Office of Business Diversity to create and extend opportunities to certified minority- and women-owned firms.

The office focuses its efforts in three main areas:

Professional Services Symposium

Since 2008, more than 20 minority- and women-owned firms have received contracts with such UChicago Medicine departments as human resources, legal, marketing, and finance through this annual event held with the University’s Office of Business Diversity.

Goods and Services

UChicago Medicine engages local, regional, and national goods and services providers in its core medical surgical area, as well as all additional services needed to run a major academic medical center.

Facilities Design and Construction

To date, UChicago Medicine has paid more than $220 million to minority firms and workers for construction, renovation, and plant projects, including nearly $100 million for the construction of the Center for Care and Discovery.

Run through the Office of Civic Engagement, UChicago Local partners with local organizations to support business and career growth for local residents, housing opportunities in our community, and economic growth that benefits all residents. 

To achieve this, Civic Engagement focuses on three main areas 

Buy Local

Provides support to businesses seeking to sell goods and services to the University of Chicago, to UChicago Medicine, or with the University’s vendor network

Hire Local

Connects job seekers to employment opportunities across campus. The University partners with local workforce organizations and collaborations to place individuals in positions at the University, UChicago Medicine, and its vendor network. 

Live Local

Assists full-time, benefits-eligible University of Chicago and UChicago Medicine employees with home purchase or rental reimbursement in our neighboring communities

The Inclusive Construction Initiative is a joint effort between the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, Facilities Services, and UChicago Medicine to create opportunities for minorities, women, and local residents to work on campus projects. The Inclusive Construction Initiative works to promote the hiring of minority- and women-owned businesses for construction projects in and around campus.