Magazine article Black Enterprise

Make Me a Match: SBA Program Brings Big Buyers Face-To Face with Small Vendors

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Make Me a Match: SBA Program Brings Big Buyers Face-To Face with Small Vendors

Article excerpt

According to the Small Business Administration, the fastest growing segment of small businesses in the United States is the minority business community. "It already represents more than 15% of all businesses in the United States and marketers say that those numbers could double every five years," says SBA Administrator Hector Barreto.

The SBA, in partnership with Hewlett-Packard Small Business Foundation, is launching the 2005 schedule for two programs to assist minority-owned small businesses with procuring contracts with federal and state governments and private corporations that have primary contracts with the government. One program is Business Matchmaking, in which the SBA holds matchmaking events around the country. The other is Virtual Matchmaking, an online pilot program that is scheduled to begin in March 2005. According to Barreto, Matchmaking events are scheduled for March 23 and 24 in Nashville, Tennessee; April 26 during the National Small Business Week Expo in Washington, D.C.; June 7 and 8 in Los Angeles; and Sept. 14-16 in Milwaukee.

"Business Matchmaking has been one of the most successful initiatives for the SBA," says Barreto. "So far, in just two short years, we have set up 23,000 appointments and these appointments have led to more than $26 million in contracts with millions of dollars more in the pipeline."

Michael Pinckert, general manager of Hewlett-Packard, believes that this joint private-public sector venture is ideal for his company. …

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