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May 11 Little Rock event to provide matchmaking for buyers, minority- and women-owned businesses

By Rebekah Hall
U of A System Division of Agriculture 

Fast Facts: 

LITTLE ROCK — New customers are the lifeblood of any business. A May 11 matchmaking event at Heifer International headquarters will provide minority- and women-owned businesses a chance to meet potential clients. 

The Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Matchmaking Event runs from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. 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 from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. 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. 

Helping underserved small businesses 

Melanie Berman, Arkansas PTAC program director for the Division of Agriculture, said the event provides important tools for small and minority-owned businesses.  

“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.”  

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. 

About the Division of Agriculture 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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