The University of Missouri system had a $5.4 billion economic impact on the state of Missouri last year.

That’s a big number, but University of Missouri system officials and the UM Board of Curators are determined that the economic impact on the state of Missouri will grow in the future.

To help that growth, this fall, the board approved a new “UM System Buy Missouri” program that will encourage departments throughout the system to utilize more Missouri vendors whenever possible resulting in more support for small- and medium-sized Missouri businesses.

“Our goal is to build on that success and make sure we are supporting Missouri vendors in every possible way in every industry, whether that is purchasing services, supplies or equipment,” UM System President Mun Choi said.

“UM universities make discoveries impacting every state citizen, and we train the future leaders of our state,” he said. “We also support our state businesses.”

Earlier this fall, the UM Board of Curators approved changes to the Collected Rules and Regulations that allow departments to give preference to Missouri vendors on a value basis when choosing bids.

Additional actions to encourage Missouri purchases include:

Increasing the number of Missouri maintenance, repair and operations suppliers within the university’s electronic procurement database. This will allow easier communications to those suppliers when requests for services, equipment and supplies are distributed.

Creating an internal promotion/awareness campaign, using the UM Supply Chain’s website as well as other tools to educate staff.

Expanding a cooperative purchasing program that will allow other public entities to collaborate on and/or utilize existing UM-awarded contracts that could serve to reduce expenses in those institutions.

“As Missouri’s premier public institution with four universities, it is vital that we work to continue supporting our state businesses,” said Tony Hall, chief procurement officer for the UM system. “Keeping as much of our spending within the state of Missouri is important as it helps Missouri’s economy and maintain jobs for every citizen who is providing quality services or products. We’re looking forward to implementing this program.”

An annual report will be compiled at the end of each fiscal year to measure progress on the program.