Coalition History

The Supplier Diversity Development Coalition of Greater Lafayette formed in 2004 between members of leadership at Evonik (at the time, it was named Lilly, Tippecanoe Laboratories) and Purdue University. The following realizations and objections were noted: 

  • Both Lilly and Purdue wanted to expand the participation of diverse firms in their procurement and contracting programs.
  • To be considered a diverse firm, a firm must have MBE, VBE or WBE certification authorized by an appropriate certifying entity.
  • At that time there were few MBE/VBE/WBE firms doing business in Tippecanoe County.
  • MBE/VBE/WBE businesses located 60-120 miles from Tippecanoe County would have to see a benefit in order to participate.
  • There had to be substantial purchasing power with numerous large businesses in the community including but not limited to several factories, school corporations and hospitals. 
  • A significant number of MBE/VBE/WBE firms must be successfully performing for firms to have major business operations in Indiana, and those firms needed to be identified.
  • MBEs/VBEs/WBEs needed an even playing field on which they could compete.

Coalition Growth

The creation of the list above was paramount as it enabled discussions with other organizations in Tippecanoe County to determine their interest in joining the supplier diversity initiative that was underway. A number of procurement leaders readily understood the desirability of participating in such a venture, and MBE/VBE/WBE firms started meeting on a monthly basis to share about their business and capabilities with other businesses in the coalition.

Relationships to Partnerships

The Coalition held its first annual gathering in 2006 to renew acquaintances and share current procurement needs of member organizations. This annual event became known as Relationships to Partnerships (R2P) in alignment with the group's objectives of creating relationships with one another and ultimately forming partnerships for provided services. A variety of keynote speakers have attended R2P events over the years. 

The monthly meetings and annual R2P gatherings described above continue today.

Supplier Diversity Day

Tippecanoe County and the Cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette have declared the third Friday of each November to be Supplier Diversity Day. Proclamation is signed annually by both Mayors and the Tippecanoe County Board of Commissioners President.

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