SBA to Connect the Government with Small Businesses

Jan 31, 2003

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have announced the Business Matchmaking Program, designed to provide a major economic stimulus to America's small businesses by bringing small businesses closer to potentially lucrative government contracts. The SBA is hosting 15 regional procurement expos in an effort to connect small businesses with federal, state, and local agencies. The program will feature two-day events in 15 cities around the country, starting March 4-5 in Orlando, FL. In each city, small businesses will have pre-scheduled, individual appointments with buyers from federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as private companies. A matchmaking portal developed by the SBA for the regional expos matches buyers and sellers based their respective profiles. Members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who helped underwrite the expos along with Hewlett-Packard, have priority in receiving appointments with the government agencies. The goal for each procurement expo is to attract at least 1,000 small business owners and 100 government agencies and private companies that have procurement contracts in play. A small business is defined in terms of revenue and number of employees by industry sector, usually up to 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining companies and up to $6 million in annual revenue for non-manufacturing companies. The SBA held two procurement expos last year to test the concept, one in Washington DC and one in Cleveland. Both appeared successful, but whether they will result in actual profit remains has yet to be determined.