Almost 200 small businesses rubbed elbows with 18 government agencies and private procurement officers last week at the second-annual Small Business Summit, sponsored by the Small Business Administration and the Veterans Administration.
The event, held May 15, aimed to give local firms the chance to meet contractors face-to-face. Among the organizations seeking small businesses' goods and services were the U.S. State Department, Northrop Grumman, Jackson Health Service and Scripps Florida.
Daniel Sturdivan was representing the Department of Homeland Security at the event. Like many government agencies, his often seeks businesses that meet federally-mandated characteristics -- such as being small or owned by a woman or service-disabled veterans, he said.
''Not enough people'' know about special contracting programs, he said, particularly the program that requires 3 percent of all contracts to go to service-disabled vets.
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If all goes well, the word about government contracting opportunities could spread even further next year, said Barry Meltz, the procurement center and commercial marketing representative for the SBA.
The city of Miami -- one of the more popular match-making partners at this year's summit -- may join the SBA and VA in hosting next year's event, he said.