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Socially Responsible Purchasing: Featured Stories From This Term

February 28, 2022

Last year, Drexel University reaffirmed its commitment to increasing supplier inclusion and sustainable procurement practices after a year in which both the global and local economies were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout fiscal year 2022, Accounts Payable (AP) and Procurement Services will share resources and success stories related to this initiative — from inspiring interactions with local businesses to interesting and sustainable surplus sales — to keep the momentum going and hold ourselves accountable. Below are just a few highlights from this term demonstrating the team's commitment to their goals, and to the community at large.

Drexel Participates in Inaugural Construction Inclusion Week

Construction Inclusion Week Supplier Diversity Panel

In 2020, a group of general contractors created a "Time for Change" consortium with a single purpose: identify ways to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in construction. Through this effort, Construction Inclusion Week was born. Last October, AP & Procurement Services participated in the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week via a panel discussion webinar hosted by Turner Construction. The event touched some important topics, such as how large institutions view diversity certifications and why they matter. Allen Riddick explained, "At Drexel we encourage diverse businesses to certify, but also feel it is important to allow businesses to self-identify their classification." The discussion also emphasized the importance of relationships. Craig Williams, CEO of Pride Enterprises, shared with the 200+ audience on how a 20-year relationship helped him develop one of his largest contracts and strategic partners. Others on the panel discussed their experience on how business development can take time and how developing and maintaining relationships is a major key to success. You can watch the event recording above.

Drexel Supports Philadelphia's First Annual Black Business Expo

Philadelphia Black Expo

Tari Wright, founder of Not Wright Brand, recently hosted Philadelphia's first Black Business Expo, in which business, health and community converged with an entrepreneur-focused basketball tournament. With the help of Drexel Business Services, the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as support from Barnes & Noble, Drexel sponsored a vendor table offering resources to the entrepreneurs, and provided gift prizes and Drexel apparel to the finalist. Read about this event on 6ABC Action News and

B Smart: Pitch & Present

Pitch and Present: Business Pitch Competition

Procurement Services & Accounts Payable participated as part of a panel of judges for the 2021 Fall Drexel Beachell Family Learning Center B Smart Program, Pitch & Present. Pitch and Present is a competition that serves as the culmination of a ten-week intensive workshop training for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The event took place both virtually and in-person at the University City Science Center on Dec. 2nd, 2021. During the program, entrepreneurs came with their best presentations and elevator pitches. It was exciting to see the innovation and witness how the businesses evolved in such a small period of time. In addition to presenting on their service, each business also worked to develop their own business plan. Many thanks to Kevin Williams, business specialist at Drexel's University & Community Partnerships, for another year of putting together talented entrepreneurs. And congratulations to Cobbs Creek Publishing and African Expressions who were the finalists and will receive funding to help expand their entrepreneur efforts.

The Hurdle Fund Available for Local Minority-Owned Businesses

Hurdle Fund Display

As part of Drexel's initiative to promote supplier inclusion and economic equity, we inform our supplier community of resources available from both the University directly and our community partners. Recently, Philadelphia's Anchors for Growth & Equity (PAGE), a partnership between the Economy League, the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia-area anchor institutions, has established the PAGE Hurdle Fund.

Seeded by the Social Venture Circle, the PAGE Hurdle Fund has been initiated to allow businesses to use grant money for certain expenses. The fund works to eliminate barriers for Black and Brown businesses while assisting minority business owners in their efforts to secure contract opportunities. The grant can help fund items such as certification, equipment, insurance and other types of business expenses.

Donated Cotton Candy MachinePopcorn Machine for the Trenton Circus Squad

Student Life at New College Building had a popcorn machine they no longer needed. University Sustainability Officer Bo Solomon initially sold the machine for Student Life, but once he saw to whom he sold it, he refunded the non-profit organization and donated it instead. The buyer was Trenton Circus Squad: Through free circus programs, squad members learn how to cooperate, push themselves and serve their community — all through the astonishing practice of circus arts.

General Surplus Update

Drexel Surplus sold or donated hundreds of student desk chairs, electronic equipment, audio visual equipment, industrial cooking cabinets, servers (no hard drives), printers, toner, lab and hospital equipment and a broken golf cart in 2021. 114 auctions sold for over $52K, cost avoidance from dumpster fees were approximately $20K. Departments received over $45k. 170+ student chairs were donated to a community group in Baltimore, helping them with free student seating while keeping these chairs from landfill.