New customers are the lifeblood of any business. A matchmaking event on May 11 at Heifer International headquarters in Little Rock will provide minority- and women-owned businesses a chance to meet potential clients, at the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Matchmaking Event.
There is no cost to participate, but registration is required. The event keynote is Sidney Moncrief, a five-time NBA All-Star, former Arkansas Razorback, motivational speaker, author and founder of Moncrief One Team and Moncrief Game Changer, Inc., which works to provide unique experiences to enhance student learning.
The annual event will have 15-minute matchmaking appointments where business owners can discuss possible contracts for their goods and services. Business owners will be matched with buying representatives based on information provided during registration.
The event is presented by a partnership among the Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center, or Arkansas PTAC, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Arkansas District Office of the Small Businesses Administration. Arkansas PTAC is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.
Liz Russell, an Arkansas PTAC counselor for the Division of Agriculture, is also offering a May 5 webinar with tips for navigating the matchmaking event. Topics include the role of certifications, vendor registration sites, market research sources and marketing tools specific to the government marketplace. Like the May 11 event, there is no cost to participate in the webinar, but registration is required.
“Underserved small businesses have traditionally faced barriers in accessing credit, capital and other tools needed to grow,” Berman said. “They are often located in inner cities and rural areas and often include people of color, women, veterans, tribal groups and others. Participating in the annual Minority and Women-Owned Business Matchmaking event will enable business owners to network with government buyers, small business support organizations, such as Arkansas PTAC, as well as other area businesses.”
Arkansas PTAC counselors will also teach a Government Contracting 101 class at the event, which will focus on selling to both the state of Arkansas and the federal government.
Berman said past event attendees have emerged with new contracts and promising connections.
“Businesses who meet with buyers leave the event with government contracting opportunities,” she said. “Those who were unable to sign a contract for goods or services as a result of the matchmaking event have at the very least met with a government buyer and know what they are seeking as it relates to the small businesses’ industry. This helps them be better prepared the next time.”