Minority-, Women- and Locally-owned Business Enterprises

Promoting diversity is a central focus of every aspect of the University’s endeavors. At Facilities and Operations, we are committed to local hiring and diversity across all aspects of our work – including the businesses we contract with, the workforce of our construction contractors and vendors, and our own staff.

If you are part of a certified minority-owned or woman-owned firm, or a firm that is located in the Columbia local catchment area (see map below), and are interested in doing business with Columbia, contact our Office of Construction Business Initiatives at [email protected].

Need to become certified?  Review the list of certifying agencies that Columbia University recognizes for minority- and woman-owned business enterprise certification.

For construction firms or workers looking for an opportunity to be a part of construction at Manhattanville, please visit the Manhattanville Jobs and Opportunities website for current bid opportunities and contacts.

Our Goals

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At least 35 percent of construction and maintenance spend with minority-, women- or locally-owned businesses

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At least 40 percent of hours worked on construction and maintenance will be performed by minority, women and local workers

Current Initiative

CU Grow Vendor Development Program

The CU Grow 2018 cohort stand with their coaches while displaying their certificates at the graduation ceremony
The CU Grow 2018 cohort with their coaches

The CU Grow Vendor Development Program is the core of a multi-dimensional approach to assisting minority-, women- and locally-owned firms by expanding their existing portfolio of business and contracts with large clients.


In order to participate in contracting opportunities as a minority and/or women business enterprise, firms must be able to demonstrate that they are certified minority- or woman-owned business.

Typically, certification by established governmental and quasi-governmental agencies is required. Columbia accepts certifications from the agencies listed below:

In the event a firm is certified by an agency other than those listed above, the Office of Construction Business Initiatives may provide a waiver at its discretion.

Map of eligible local zip codes


The University principally defines its "local" catchment area as those communities located in 13 zip codes in Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood (10025, 10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10031, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10035, 10037, 10039 and 10040) and four zip codes within the South Bronx (10451, 10454, 10455 and 10474).


May 06, 2022

Facilities and Operations Adds Columbia Law as Resource for Vendor Growth Program

Student attorneys from Columbia Law's Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC) provided contract guidance to current participants in the CU Grow Vendor Development Program during a legal pop-up clinic, which provided assistance in strategizing, negotiating, drafting, and reviewing contracts and agreements, is a newly added component to the CU Grow program’s curriculum.

April 20, 2022

CU Grow Hosts First Procurement Event of 2022

The CU Grow Vendor Development program hosted its first procurement event of 2022 on April 13th. The virtual event brought together the program’s current cohort of 21 minority-women- and locally owned (MWL) firms – the sixth cohort in the program’s history – with program alumni and project managers from Columbia University Facilities and Operations for a networking event to learn about upcoming business opportunities and resources available.