|Chancellor Williams welcomes conference attendees|
|Ms. Lydia Jackson gives keynote address|
|Mr. Arvie promotes his "Hauwantit" Creole Seasoning|
|l-r: Lydia Jackson, Lakeeshia Giddens, Gloria London pose after keynote address|
Baton Rouge, LA – Hundreds of small business owners and exhibitors assembled at the Southern University Smith-Brown Memorial Union on April 16, 2014 for the 10th Annual “CONNECTING BUSINESSES TO CONTRACTS” Procurement Conference hosted by the Southern University Ag Center. The event was featured on the evening news by NBC 33 TV News at 10 and FOX 44 in Baton Rouge. The full story is available at WGMT-TV – Online: Setting up for success: Southern University hosts conference to help small business owners
As always, the goal of the conference is to stimulate the economy by aligning existing and potential business owners, small contractors, non-profit organizations, and others with contracting officers, and purchasing agents, as well as providing an outlet to network and exchange information and ideas.
This year, Lydia Jackson, Capital One Bank Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Business Development Officer, served as the keynote speaker.
Jackson offered some sound advice to conference attendees including tips on doing business with Capital One Bank. These tips included being certified and committed to compete nationally or at least regionally; having a relationship with a bank before presenting a loan package; registering on the bank’s website; and learning/preparing to speak the lender’s language. She directed small business owners to the Capital One Bank website where they can access a wealth of business resources and tools to help grow their businesses. In closing Jackson said, “We at Capital One are very proud to continue to be a part of this procurement conference. We recognize how important your economic growth and health is to the community and to our business.” She expressed her desire to see the businesses grow and expand, create new jobs in the community and continue to do business with the bank and grow new customers for the company.
In the 2007 legislative session, Jackson, who is a former senator, authored a bill to create the first refundable Earned Income Tax Credit in the South.
The conference attracted many Baton Rouge-based businesses along with others from across the nation. Activities included current sessions, exhibitions, and luncheon.
First time attendee, Marcus Evans of BEREAN Wellness, a Baton Rouge small business focusing on natural health remedies, said his expectations were “to create more awareness and to network.”
Another Baton Rouge-based business, Cajun Consultants, that has attended the conference for several years and Omer Libich, field clerk, who represented the company this year said, “It is a lot of networking, a lot of new businesses and a lot of fun times; a great opportunity to see what’s out there and what’s here locally.”
“The Center for Rural and Small Business and its partners were able to accomplish its overall goal on yesterday at the Annual Procurement Conference. We provided small businesses an opportunity to gain knowledge from well-developed workshops and the opportunity to network with individuals and other businesses,” said Gloria London, Director, Center for Rural and Small Business Development. “This will spur further economic development throughout Louisiana. We have been sponsoring this event ten years and look forward to many more,” she added.
Presenters and exhibitors who represented their companies included: Entergy, Inc., Regions Bank, Liberty Bank and Trust Company, SBA Surety Bond Brokers, South East Procurement Technical Assistant Center, USDA Rural Business Development, (Federal & State) Office of State Purchasing, Baton Rouge City Purchasing Department, Southern University Purchasing Department, LSU Purchasing Department, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Louisiana State Contractor Licensing Board, Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, The Shaw Group, Capital One Bank, Louisiana Department of Labor, Louisiana Department of Economic Development.
Other exhibitors included: United States Department of Commerce, Secretary of State’s Office, and Louisiana Department of Workers’ Compensation, Department of Veterans Affairs, FEMA, DoE, Bureau of Prisons, GSA, Minerals Management Service, U. S. Coast Guard, Louisiana National Guard, Dept. of Navy, and Shaw Industries.
The event was coordinated by Gloria London, Eual Hall, and Lakeeshia Giddens who can be reached at (225) 771-4107 or 4105.
The Procurement Conference was hosted by the Center for Rural and Small Business Development at the Southern University Ag Center, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).