CREATING CONNECTIONS, ENABLING OPPORTUNITIES
Delivered by the Facilities and Operations department, the CU Grow: Vendor Development Program is a multi-dimensional coaching program developed to assist minority-, women-, and locally-owned (MWL) firms by expanding their existing portfolio of business and contracts with large clients. The program is at no cost to vendors and runs annually from February to December.
Read the welcome message from the Executive Vice President of University Facilities and Operations.
THIS PROGRAM IS FOR YOU IF:
- You are seeking a greater understanding of large company procurement procedures
- Provide a service or commodity that aligns with the needs of Columbia University
- Are a certified Minority-, Women-, or Locally owned firm with annual revenue between $250K and $10M*
- Your firm has been established for at least three years and is in the built environment, including construction trades, professional services, suppliers, and commodities.
In its first five years, CU Grow opened new doors to 84 firms and awarded over $102M in contracts to graduates for work across Columbia’s three campuses. Learn more about the program’s creation, the result-driven design model, its impact, and plans for the future.
What Alumni Are Saying
Read quotes from alumni below and learn more about past cohorts on our alumni page.
"CU Grow made me gain a different, fresh perspective. Many times, I questioned my ideas or second-guessed myself, but having a mentor helped me work out my strategies. She helped me understand and make a better, clearer picture of my ideas and how to use social media to express my ideas as a marketing technique."
"Through guidance and mentorship, we have been able to flesh out ideas and approaches, not only to ascertain whether they are feasible but how to implement them. Being held accountable is something I am not used to, but needed. I was focused on making the necessary changes for my strategic growth plan."
"The CU Grow team has helped place our company on the institution's radar screen through networking opportunities provided during the procurement events and introductions to buyers and other Columbia resources."
"The CU Grow Vendor Development Program has challenged me to document more. I relied a lot on memory, although it is not the best way to convey, analyze, gauge, or confirm progress or setbacks, etc. The program allowed me to adopt the RACI Chart and Key Performance Indicators. The SMART 3-year growth plan culminated the program."
"I discovered there is a science to running a successful business and a wealth of information and resources available to help you. Passion alone is not enough to become successful. It must be combined with knowledge, training, and skill. The tools and resources were new, different, and very effective. The prep work and coaching sessions forced me to get out of my comfort zone and think outside the box."
"The CU Grow program has given us tremendous insight and provided us with resources on how to record and formulate our growth. We’ve learned that taking the time to go through the worksheets and review the available literature can drastically change the course and direction of your company, if you follow through with its proposition. If anything, we’ve gained respect for the concept of strategic planning."
Business Owner Commends CU Grow Program as “Life Changing” for Her Business at Graduation Ceremony for Program’s Seventh Cohort
The 19 graduating firms in the seventh cohort of the CU Grow Program – a Facilities and Operations-led initiative designed to support minority-, women- and locally owned (MWL) businesses build capacity – specialize in areas including carpentry, construction, window treatments, welding, fencing, and more. CU Grow is powered by a Capital Readiness grant awarded by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).
Since 2017, the CU Grow: Vendor Development Program has supported minority-, women-, and locally owned (MWL) firms with critical business elements needed to work on University construction and maintenance projects.
The CU Grow Vendor Development program hosted its first procurement event of 2023 on April 19 at The Forum, bringing together the program’s seventh cohort of 21 minority-, women-, and locally owned (MWL) firms with program alumni and project managers from Columbia University Facilities and Operations (CUFO).