Hundreds of business owners recently learned how to grow their companies by doing business with Florida International University and Miami-Dade County.
The Joint Vendor Outreach Event, held August 2 at the FIU Graham Center, brought together more than 200 local businesses with purchasing representatives from both entities.
“Businesses often don’t realize the wide scope of services and products that are purchased each year by governmental entities such as FIU and the county,” said Jacqueline Bueno Sousa, regional director of the Florida SBDC at FIU. “Learning about those sales opportunities and capitalizing on them can create substantial growth for some businesses.”
The Florida SBDC at FIU organized the event in collaboration with FIU Procurement Services and Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department’s Small Business Development Division. In addition, Office Depot also helped sponsor the event.
“Events such as these are viable and effective avenues which allows our certified firms to showcase their talents and areas of expertise, and governmental agencies can reciprocate with areas of contracting opportunities,” said Gary Hartfield, division director, Small Business Development-Internal Services Department at Miami-Dade County.
Businesses in attendance could speak directly with more than a dozen FIU and county departments as well as agencies actively seeking to purchase products and services, including Jackson Memorial Hospital and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Delivering opening remarks, Katharine Brophy, FIU’s Associate Vice President and Controller, told the audience about the university’s rapid growth and the many opportunities for local businesses to provide the products and services that will fuel that growth.
“This event connected the right people from both the supplier and buyer side to promote business opportunities, while sharing information on how to do business with FIU and Miami-Dade County,” said Kelly Loll, director of Procurement Services at FIU.
Participants also had an opportunity to build relationships with large prime contractors and subcontractors, as well as learn how to become certified as a Small Business Enterprise with the county and how to ensure proper vendor registration with both FIU and the county.
After the vendor outreach and networking phase of the event, more than 100 small businesses participated in a lunch-and-learn workshop on cybersecurity risks, delivered by the Florida SBDC at FIU. Increasingly, small businesses must demonstrate that they have cybersecurity measures in place if they want to obtain government contracts or other large procurement opportunities.
The Florida SBDC at FIU is a small business development center within the FIU College of Business. The center works with more than 900 business owners and entrepreneurs each year by offering no-cost, one-on-one business advisory in areas such as access to capital, marketing, financial management and more. For more information about government contracting consulting or other business advisory from the Florida SBDC at FIU, visit sbdc.fiu.edu or call 305-779-9230.