UW Bothell welcomes diverse businesses

Small business fair

Suppliers show their wares at business fair. (Marc Studer photos)

The University of Washington Bothell encourages local small businesses — especially those owned by women, minorities and veterans — to serve as suppliers for the office supplies, catering, awards, flowers, photography and other goods and services that are part of the university's daily functions.

To help these businesses and members of the campus community become better acquainted with each other, UW Bothell held its first Business Diversity Program Small Business Fair on Sept. 5 at the North Creek Events Center. More than a dozen businesses staffed tables, providing brochures and samples to UW Bothell faculty and administrators.

“It falls in line with our mission to help women and minorities and also local businesses. We want to be part of the Bothell community,” said Ruth Johnston, the vice chancellor for administration and planning. 
The program is one of the initiatives Johnston pushed after coming to UW Bothell about a year ago from the Seattle campus where she oversaw the UW business diversity program as associate vice president and chief of staff, planning and management.

“I care deeply about this,” Johnston said. 

UW Bothell's director of administrative services, Therese Grant, organized the fair and created the program’s website, where businesses can find campus opportunities and faculty and staff can connect with local suppliers.The suppliers and customers can also connect on Facebook.

Bandi WilliamsAt the fair, The Catering Company drew visitors to its table with snacks. Event coordinator Bandi Williams says the Kirkland company has been in business for 17 years and has served both the UW Seattle and Bothell campuses. Williams welcomed the fair “to get our name out there a little more.” The company caters events for as few as 10 people, and the UW share of its business “has been growing a lot,” said Marty Fredrickson, sales director.

Gary AndersonNorthwest Trophy of Woodinville also has worked with the Seattle campus and is looking for more business with UW Bothell, said Gary Anderson, a member of the four-generation family business that has been supplying trophies and awards since 1938. When a recognition event comes up, Anderson hopes people will “remember the guy at the trade show. That’s how things get established.”

Judi Tsuchida and Eddie SmithLocated at Totem Lake in Kirkland, Fena Flowers has done business with the UW in Seattle, but not UW Bothell – yet, said Judi Tsuchida, president. “Even if you get one contact, it’s worth it,” she said. The full-service florist can provide table centerpieces for events or deliver an arrangement to an employee.

In 2016, Washington state agencies and educational institutions combined to spend nearly 3 percent of their dollars with firms certified by the Office of Minority Women’s Business Enterprises, according to its website. Gov. Jay Inslee set a goal of 16 percent to promote equity in public contracting and procurement for businesses owned by minorities, women and disadvantaged persons.

Here are the other participants at the fair:
Alexa's Catering Inc., Bothell 
Allison Claire allisonclaire.com, Seattle
ASAP Ad Specialties and Promotions, Normandy Park
Chef Dane Catering, Lynnwood
Ebony Office Interiors LLC, Seattle
General Microsystems Inc., Bellevue
Image Source, Kirkland
Keeney's Office Supply | Office Interiors, Redmond 
Signs Now Washington, Everett  
Sybis, LLC, Kirkland
Twelve Baskets Catering , Kirkland
Woodburn Company, Inc., Everett