Sourcing goods and services can often be a difficult task for companies. Minority and women-owned businesses can help make this task easier in Arkansas.
Throughout Arkansas, innovative minority and women-owned businesses are providing a wide range of goods and services that can help power companies’ operations. These diverse businesses, led by talented Arkansas entrepreneurs, can help public agencies and private sector companies secure the products they need to operate effectively.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) helps companies to partner with minority and women-owned businesses owners through an annual event that pairs procurement officers with qualified minority-owned businesses.
That event is the Annual Matchmaking Event, hosted by the AEDC’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division.
What is the Matchmaking Event and why should companies participate?
It is an annual event that brings together minority and women-owned business owners and public and private sector buyers under a single roof. The Annual Matchmaking Event is a one-stop-shop for purchasing agents to meet with minority and women-owned businesses who provide the goods and services they need.
During the event, buyers can sit down with business owners they have been matched with to discuss possible contacts for goods or services. The 15-minute appointments will allow buyers to discuss their needs with the minority or women-owned business owner. At the end of the discussion, the two parties may decide to enter into a contract.
The process for participating in the Annual Matchmaking Event is easy. Companies register and list what goods and services they are needing. They are matched with any minority and women-owned businesses that correspond to those needs. All that’s left is attending the meetings on May 11 and making the decision to work with any businesses they are paired with.
The Annual Matchmaking Event is designed to be an efficient way for government and private sector buyers to meet with businesses in a single venue. Over the course of one day, procurement officers can potentially meet with multiple businesses, representing a wide range of industries and services offered.
It is also a resource for helping government agencies and companies meet quotas for doing business with minority, women-owned, and service-disabled veteran businesses.
Arkansas government agencies are encouraged to spend at least 15 percent of their funding to purchase goods and services with minority and women-owned businesses. Private sector companies, from large corporations to small businesses, have increasingly adopted Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria that encourage contracting with minority and women-owned businesses.
AEDC strives to create economic opportunities for Arkansans, business owners and companies throughout Arkansas. AEDC’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWOBE) Division focuses on facilitating the growth of minority and women-owned businesses throughout the state of Arkansas by offering business owners access to information, market
opportunities, and financial resources.
The 2022 Annual Matchmaking Event will advance this mission of creating economic opportunity by making the procurement process easier than ever for companies, while boosting minority and women-owned businesses in the state.
This year, the Annual Matchmaking Event will be held Wednesday, May 11 from 8:30am to 4pm at Heifer International Headquarters in Little Rock.
Click here for more information and to register. Business owners who register are not guaranteed a meeting during the Matchmaking Event.
Register today to participate in the 2022 Annual Matchmaking Event.
We would like to thank our sponsors for making this event possible:
- Arkansas Capital Corporation
- Centennial Bank
- NIGP – Arkansas Official Chapter
- Arvest Bank
- Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport
Pictured: Esperanza Massana-Crane, director of AEDC’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Division