Doing business with government might sound like a mysterious or daunting process, especially for small and emerging business owners who have had to struggle to be heard and seen. That’s why Metro and Multnomah County are teaming up to throw the third annual Small Business Open House in February, giving small business owners in the region a chance to meet with and learn from project and procurement managers, adding a personal touch to public work.
The event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at the Oregon Convention Center. In addition to offering the chance to network with project managers, the open house will feature sessions on how best to do business with Metro and Multnomah County.
“The Small Business Open House is a great opportunity for small firms to network with two government agencies in one event and meet the department staff that spends public dollars,” said Metro procurement manager Gabriele Schuster. “It’s a chance to get your name out and have face-to-face conversations with project managers.”
Businesses owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans will be able to learn about the benefits of getting their businesses certified through Business Oregon, the state economic development agency. Business Oregon also offers a gender and race neutral Emerging Small Business certification to small businesses just starting out. These certifications, and others, give businesses access to targeted government contracting opportunities as well as other benefits.
Certified or not, all businesses in the region still have to navigate a competitive market in order to find contracts for a wide range of services needed by local governments. To help with this, open house attendees will learn how to find and apply for contracts through the Oregon Procurement Information Network, a powerful web tool for finding contract opportunities.
Whether providing consulting work, doing construction, or providing foodservice and event support, there are a wide range of opportunities for business owners to work with governments in and around the region. As contract opportunities are expected to pick up as 2016 progresses, the Small Business Open House is a one way to hit the ground running.
Business owners interested in attending are strongly encouraged to register as early as possible.