RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) has launched BuyLocal, an online platform designed to increase opportunities for certified local and diverse-owned businesses in New Jersey to work directly with the health care system.
BuyLocal is part of RWJBH’s mission to be both physically and financially entrenched in the communities it serves by buying, hiring and investing locally and with diverse businesses.
“Small businesses can register into our portal (which) allows our employees within RWJBarnabas Health to identify those businesses,” said program leader Diana Candelejo, assistant vice president of Economic Inclusion, Social Impact & Community Investment. “Now it makes it very accessible for us to find them and to provide opportunities, procurement and contract opportunities with these local businesses.”
Companies that successfully register to the platform will be listed as RWJBarnabas Health BuyLocal vendors and included in a database of businesses considered for procurement and contracting opportunities within the system.
The businesses can work directly with RWJBH and its facilities in a variety of ways — “anything from marketing to catering to other products and services that our hospital and facilities need,” says Candelejo. “That’s really the point of the portal: amplify, outreach and engagement and ensure that it matches with opportunities that are tangible within our system, so folks can actually input and search by categories, and products and services.”
“As we look at the social mission of the organization, economic stability of the surrounding communities also matters,” adds Dr. Paul G. Alexander, executive vice president and chief health equity and transformation officer at RWJBH. “Most of these businesses are small and, at times, they’re struggling to maintain their enterprise in economic times like this, so we really want to make sure we were committed to maintaining that economic stability of the surrounding communities.”
New Jersey-based, certified minority-owned, women-owned, small business, veteran-owned, disabled veteran-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises are all eligible to participate. The program is also committed to providing non-certified diverse businesses with the education and tools they need to become state certified and thus qualify to participate.
Local, minority and women-owned businesses that could potentially meet future service or supply chain demands for RWJBH can register at RWJBH.org/BuyLocal. More than 200 eligible businesses have already registered.