Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Conference to bring businesses, government and commercial buyers together

The worlds of private business and government purchasing will connect on March 23-24 at the Mississippi Governor's Business/Procurement Opportunities Conference and Trade Fair 2005 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.

The event will feature a series of guest speakers/seminars on the first day and a trade fair and a business opportunities "match making" session on the second.

"Small businesses play a vital role in our nation's defense and are the backbone of our national and local economies," added Richard Speights, director, Minority & Small Business Development Division of the Mississippi Development Authority, a retired Navy commander and former federal purchasing executive. "Conferences of this nature aid government purchasers in locating suppliers and facilitate small businesses access to government and commercial purchasers."

The most recent conference and fair, held in March 2002, brought in about 600 participants, with nearly 120 government and commercial exhibitors. Early registration points to a larger turnout this year. "With the current upturn in the economy and anticipated increases in government spending on anti-terrorist and homeland defense initiatives, there is no better time to pursue government contracting opportunities," said Speights.

The conference is designed to build partnerships between private businesses, particularly minority and woman-owned businesses and government purchasing at all levels -- federal, state, and local -- as well as with major defense contractors and commercial purchasers. The seminars are designed to give participants up-to-date information on purchasing regulations and opportunities, as well as tips on how to improve their chances of doing business with the government, defense contractors and Mississippi's gaming and automotive industries.

Among the invited government agencies and defense contractors are the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Departments of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and NASA.

Invited state agencies include the Mississippi Development Authority, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Municipalities, and the state's major universities. Commercial buyers from Mississippi casino and automotive industries have also been invited to participate.
Businesses interested in registering can do so by visiting the Mississippi Procurement Technical Assistance Program web site, calling (228) 396-1288 or sending an e-mail to rspeights@mississippi.org. phone: 228-396-1288 Fax: 228-396-2520

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