Frequently Asked Questions

CU Grow Program Eligibility

The CU Grow Vendor Development Program is the core of a multi-dimensional approach to assisting minority-, women- and local-owned (MWL) businesses by expanding their existing portfolio of business and contracts with large clients.   Participating firms with expert coaches who will help the firms identify key areas of growth in their business.

  • Business must be established for at least three years. 
  • Firms must be in the built environment including construction trades, professional services, suppliers, and commodities. 
  • All applicants must have at least 50% ownership in the business or be designated by owner 
  • Firm must provide a service or commodity that aligns with the needs of Columbia University 
  • Certified Minority-, Women-, or Locally owned firms *
  • Annual Revenue between $250K and $5M*

 *Locally owned businesses must be located in the following zip codes: 10025, 10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10031, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10035, 10037, 10039, 10040, 10

Program Elements

The program runs for eleven months from February through December.  

The program accepts firms in the built environment including construction trades, professional services, suppliers, and commodities with a minimum of $250K revenue. We reserve the right to select firms whose service and commodity offerings best match the current needs of the University.

The expert coaches are established professionals within Columbia University or at partner institutions with knowledge in business development, procurement, project management, marketing, and other professional skills. 

The Columbia University School of Professional Studies (SPS) designed the CU Grow curriculum and training. SPS provides a coaching engagement template, training, and support throughout the program. The coaching aspect is designed to support executive decision-making and strategic thinking regarding the management and growth of participants’ companies. The program elements include:

  • Participation in 7 coaching sessions identifying the firm strategy, finance, structure/processes, marketing, and leadership
  • Invitation to 4 procurement networking events
  • Professional guidance to create a growth plan for your business
  • Continued support from Columbia University’s Department of Construction Business Initiatives

Program Benefits

For the duration of the program, firms can expect:

  • Meet a new group of buyers and project managers within Columbia University
  • Tailored coaching for your businesses’ current stage
  • A customized plan to grow your business Greater understanding of large company procurement

There is no financial cost for the program! Payment is through your dedication and commitment to complete the program.

Program Onboarding

Space is limited. To keep the cohort size small and impactful, up to 20 business owners will be selected to participate.

We prefer that one member of the business, preferably the owner, participate in the program, however, we will allow a partner with ownership stake in the firm to participate as well, as long as both participants agree to participate in every session.

Applicants that are not selected will be notified and informed of other programs that can assist their business growth.

For more information and to access the application (during recruiting season) or to submit an interest form, learn how to apply.

Please email [email protected] with all additional questions.