Small business conference boasts helpful workshops, network opportunities

Posted: Thursday, 21 May 2009

TROY – Troy University’s Small Business Conference and Matchmaker will provide area small businesses a chance to network and learn.

Set for May 27, the event provides a networking session beginning at 8:15 a.m., followed by the Matchmaker event that provides small businesses with 15-minute visitation slots with government agencies and prime contractors.

Following a lunch break, conference goers will have access to four workshops in contracting and assistance programs, said Sandra Lucas, director of TROY’s Small Business Development Center.

“We want to offer the small businesses in our service district the chance to learn both from each other and from the agencies and contractors who will be attending,” she said.

The networking opportunity begins at 8:15 a.m. in the Trojan Center on the Troy Campus. Exhibitors available during the conference are Alabama Industrial Development Training, Center for International Business and Economic Development, Confucius Institute, University of Alabama International Trade Center, Small Business Administration, Southern Development Council, Inc., and Troy University’s Office of Admissions.

From 1:30 pm. – 2:30 p.m., workshops on “BRAC-Related Contracting Opportunities at Fort Benning,” led by Stephen Magner, procurement analyst and small business specialist at Fort Benning, will discuss the Army’s program of base realignment and closure as it relates to the growth of Fort Benning and the associated contracting opportunities. He will also address the federal government acquisition programs used at Fort Benning.

In the same time slot, David Ramp, lender relations specialist from the Alabama District Office of the Small Business Administration, will discuss financing through the SBA, including an update of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s impact on SBA financing programs.

From 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m., two more sessions kick off. Adrianna Clark, project director with the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Southeast Region will discuss contracting opportunities for area businesses as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Joining her will be Lamar Woodham, assistant chief engineer, and John Huffman, DBE coordinator with ALDOT. This panel will discuss upcoming infrastructure projects including highways, airports and mass transit.

Gary Weaver and Jacqueline Allen, both representatives of Alabama Industrial Development Training, will discuss the agency’s new “Extra” program, tailored toward businesses that do not traditionally qualify for existing AIDT services.

The conference is sponsored by Troy University, the Small Business Development Center, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the Center for International Business and Economic Development.

To register or to schedule appointments for the Matchmaker, please contact the Center at 334-614-2425 or via email at jcallin@troy.edu.