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 Initiatives

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.

An employee of County Cleaners Corporation cleaning the inside of a tall window at Henry R. Kravis Hall using a hand-held squeegee with the Riverside Drive Viaduct visible outside the windows.
County Cleaners Corporation, an MBE participant of the ASCEND Regional Program, completing a comprehensive cleaning at the new Columbia Business School buildings.

Columbia Facilities and Operations partners with the Ascend Program, a business development program for minority business enterprises (MBEs) to help connect firms owned by people of color to new contracting opportunities. 


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).


April 10, 2023

Facilities and Operations Supports New Cohort for Pre-Apprenticeship Program to Prepare Diverse and Local Job Seekers for Union Careers in Construction

Columbia University Facilities and Operations has partnered with the New York City Small Business Services (SBS) to support the launch of a new cohort for Pathways to Apprenticeship’s (P2A) Direct Entry Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship, a workforce development program that provides New York City residents from socially and economically disadvantaged communities a pathway toward a stable job with benefits in the construction industry.