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Business 'matchmaking' event aimed to lift up women, minorities

A business matchmaking event, specifically for women and minority owned businesses, has a goal to lift up, grow and help them reach their goals.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A business matchmaking event, specifically for women and minority owned businesses to get a lift up to grow and reach their goals, is returning in central Arkansas.

These business owners can be matched with local or federal government or even buyers in the private sector. Those who are behind the event say its significant because the entire state succeeds when women and minority owned businesses do too.

"We need to provide equal opportunity to all Arkansans and many times minority and women owned businesses face challenges as they pursue business and this is the best way to give them that contract and give them that opportunity," Esperanza Massana Crane with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said.

Crane said the value of networking is incredible and typically businesses wouldn't have the opportunity to be under the same roof with dozens of buyers, like they will be for the Business Enterprise Matchmaker Event.

The main goal for business owners is to match their services with the buyer's needs and this is how it works.

"Participants must register to be able to participate they go into the portal and the software that we're using matches the needs of the buyers with the products and services that the businesses are offering," Crane said.

Then, after you register, the matchmaking software finds the perfect matches and both sides accept a meeting. Now, the business owner knows who they need to prepare for and can put their best foot forward.

"We have buyers that have listed various needs that range from advertising, public relations etcetera, all the way to electrical, plumbing transportation and so forth,” Crane said. “So, if you are a business that matches any of these needs you have the opportunity to schedule a meeting."

This matchmaker event has been around for five years and Crane said tons of success stories have come from it, the biggest one though is the state's economy.

"When we think about buying in general, we need to be contentious of doing business with minority and women owned businesses because the moment that they grow, our economy grows in general, and it's just this ongoing cycle,” Crane said. “It benefits everyone at the end of the day."

The Business Enterprise Matchmaker Event is May 11th at Heifer International starting at 8:30 a.m. and only registered businesses owners will be able to take part in the event

However, AEDC is also offering workshops at the same time, where people can learn about small business financing, contracting and even listen to panels.

Registration closes on Friday, May 6.


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