(KMTR) -- The fair provides a central location for local businesses to network and learn about vending opportunities with the University of Oregon.
Hundreds gathered at Autzen today, not for football, but a chance to do business with the U of O.
The event is called the Reverse Vendor Fair and it provides a one-stop central location for local businesses to network and learn about vending opportunities with all the different departments at the University of Oregon.
Each department is responsible for their own purchasing and organizers of the fair say that can make it difficult for businesses to navigate. Campus is large and it's hard to know who to talk to to form partnerships.
The fair is geared toward minority-owned, women-owned and emerging local businesses. Organizers say it's all about the university's push for sustainability. In this case, the focus is social sustainability.
"It’s making sure that all of our business community has the same opportunities, no matter their size,” says Cathey Susman, the U of O’s Director of Purchasing and Contracting. “We want to make sure all of our vendors get to know who we are and have the opportunity to do business with us. And it also helps us, because we don't want to have a limited vendor pool.”
More than 600 participants showed up and The Duck himself also stopped by. Of the 300 businesses registered for the event, more than 230 were minority-owned, women-owned or small businesses just starting up.
The fair didn't just connect vendors with the U of O. There were also representatives from Oregon State University, the Governor's Office and many other local entities looking to meet new businesses.