More than 160 locally owned business enterprises introduced themselves Tuesday to many departments within Syracuse University who could potentially buy their goods or services in the future.
The “Building Local Procurement Fair” placed a special emphasis on businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans. VP of Community Engagement Bea Gonzalez says the initiative goes along with other programs the university has supported.
"Through the South Side Innovation center and WISE (Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), this is an opportunity for all the work they've been doing over the years to bring their clients into this buy local strategy."
Gwen Webber-Mcleod is the CEO of a certified Minority Women's Buisness Enterprise called Gwen, Inc. Her leadership development company focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workforce. She’s based in Auburn and has clients across the US.
"There could be some alignment and some partnership between my company and various schools at the university where they're truly educating students because of their being millenial women or people of color, will breaking the glass ceiling the minute they graduate. And I suspect some of those students might be doing that right here on campus, being a 'first and only' in their respective schools and classes as well."
A local printer, Sarah Parsons of Plus Signs and Graphics has been hired by university before. She and her husband, Mark Strodel work together to process the orders. She plans to introduce herself to other departments at SU.
“I'd like to fortify my existing relationships with those departments, and hopefully cultivate new relationships. Everything is based on networking and relationships in business to succeed. This is going to be perfect for that.”
Parsons started the business ten years ago and it just took off from there. SU’s Gonzalez says research shows that for every local dollar spent with a local business, another four to seven dollars is generated.