Business Matchmaking Event Set for Dallas-Fort Worth

LOS ANGELES , Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Business Matchmaking, highly regarded as one of the most successful public-private initiatives, will provide Dallas-Ft. Worth area small businesses with face-to-face opportunities to sell products and services to government agencies and corporations.

With the U.S. economy struggling, a bright spot will take place next week in Dallas-Fort Worth . A few hundred area small business owners will come together at the Plano Centre on Feb. 19 in a unique format to offer their products and services to federal and local agencies and companies.

Business Matchmaking was started six years ago by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The program is now presented by American Airlines, along with HP, American Express, Lockheed Martin and other entrepreneur-friendly companies in cooperation with SCORE, the official small business counselor corps resource of the federal government, and the Latino Coalition.

The Feb. 19 Business Matchmaking event will feature opportunities for 350 participating small businesses to meet with several procurement officials, providing a unique chance for them to pursue a current contract from the government or large corporation and to open the door for future business. Among the buying organizations attending are the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Justice and State along with the IRS, Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, GSA and the Navy. Major companies represented include American Airlines, HP, BAE, Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin and Gulfstream Aerospace.

Other Texas -based buyers will join the government agencies from Washington, D.C. , in an effort to meet and do business with new potential area suppliers to service Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the University of Texas, DART and the both the city of Dallas and the Dallas Independent School District.

"I have been a Business Matchmaking groupie since the first event I attended three years ago. As a result, I have grown my company with significant sales to American Airlines and now Homeland Security and Lockheed Martin," said Michael Nicholas , president of NIMS Services, a Colorado -based energy product marketer. "These are the best events in the country because we get face time with government and corporate buyers we might never otherwise meet." His customers agree.

"Business Matchmaking works because they carefully bring pre-qualified small businesses into face-to-face situations with buyers," said Dan Sturdivant , who will represent the U.S. Homeland Security procurement office at the event. "We need high-tech items but we also buy rubber bands and everything in between. That makes this a terrific vehicle for bringing opportunities to small businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans."

"Given the current state of the economy, this is an exceptional way to help jumpstart growth in small business by creating procurement opportunities at the local, state and federal levels, in addition to opportunities with sponsoring companies like American Airlines," said Roger Frizzell , vice president, Corporate Communications and Advertising at American Airlines.

In the six years since the U.S. Small Business Administration, then headed by Administrator Hector Barreto , started this program, some 70,000 face-to-face selling meetings have been arranged and literally billions of dollars in contracts have been granted. "This has proven to be the most successful procurement activity ever undertaken by the SBA," Barreto said, "because it brings the opportunity to small business owners who don't have the time or money to go to Washington or anywhere else to knock on doors."

Nathaniel Couser , CEO of Texas -based Nastep Consulting, credits Business Matchmaking with opening the door for his new substantial business with the U.S. Navy in contracts and enabling him to team with giant companies like Bell Helicopter and Verizon. "What you know and working hard is important, but who you know and having the door opened is just as important," Couser said. "That's what these Matchmaking events have done for me and many others."

SCORE, the Congressionally-funded outreach arm of the SBA, will provide on-site counselors in Plano to help small businesses navigate the procurement world. Ken Yancey , CEO of the 11,000-volunteer organization, has been a major supporter of Business Matchmaking since the beginning.

"This is a win, win, win," Yancey said. "Buyers from Washington and elsewhere get to meet with small business sellers in every industry in their own hometowns. Our local counselors are on hand to help guide those relationships. The big winner is our economy when it most needs it."

A Business Matchmaking "Winner's Circle" luncheon will be hosted by American Airlines to honor small businesses that have received contract awards through previous similar events. Their keynote speaker will be Karen Buls , who heads that airline's small and medium enterprise strategy.

The event also includes Teaming Sessions hosted by American Express OPEN designed to pair small businesses with other entrepreneurs and larger firms seeking government and major corporate contracts.

HP will present a small business disaster preparation workshop covering natural and man-made incidents. "These days government agencies and corporations are very careful in the selection of subcontractors and alliance partners. One effective way to demonstrate that desired stability is to have a disaster plan in place so that contracts in progress can survive," said Michael Nordstrom , HP's lead person for the Business Matchmaking events.

The Feb. 19 program, already filled to capacity, is free for small business owners. Other regional Business Matchmaking events will be held throughout the year around the country. For information, the web site is www.businessmatchmaking.com. The event is produced by Business Matchmaking, Inc., a non-profit company, and funded by American Airlines as the lead host sponsor along with HP, American Express OPEN, Lockheed Martin, Federal Express, Sprint, ErgoGenesis and others.

Contact: Finn James , 310-860-9730, www.businessmatchmaking.com

SOURCE Business Matchmaking

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