Finding the right business partners can be one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs. While they are often inundated with opportunities to network, time is at a premium and networking events must offer high-value contacts with as many decision-makers as possible. CT Business Matchmaker is among Connecticut's largest events designed to meet that need by pairing small, established businesses with “Primes”—large and medium-sized companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and municipalities who are actively interested in increasing and diversifying their supplier lists. The eighth annual event, managed by the Entrepreneurial Center, will be held on the campus of the University of Hartford in June, and registration is now open.
Viking Construction is an example of a past Prime attendee who found what they were looking for at CT Business Matchmaker. “At Viking Construction, we are always looking for qualified subcontractors. We need to find the right company for the job in order to create a successful project, so relationships are very important to us. We know we’ll meet the quality we are seeking at CT Business Matchmaker,” said Michele Yeager, Project Administrator at Viking Construction.
Giving opportunities to local, small businesses is a driving priority for Michael Jefferson at the Metropolitan District (MDC), another Prime attendee. “Through the CT Business Matchmaker, we accomplished our goal of reaching out to new subcontractors and providing economic opportunities to local businesses.” He appreciates the presence of resource partners in the Matchmaker event. “They help get the small businesses ready for the opportunities we put out to bid. I like to network with those agencies as well so I know what resources are available to support the success of our vendors. The MDC is committed to this process that helps build opportunities for small businesses.”
CT Business Matchmaker 2017 will be held from 7:00 am until 2:30 pm on Thursday, June 1, on the campus of the University of Hartford. Both Prime registration and small business registration are now open. Event sponsorship opportunities are also available. Visit www.hartford.edu/matchmaker for more information on registration and sponsorship. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged as space is limited. As part of the registration process, small businesses will have the opportunity to sign up for five appointments with Primes.
Additional organizing partners for CT Business Matchmaker include the University of Hartford’s Construction Institute, US Small Business Administration, CT Department of Administrative Services, CT Procurement Technical Assistance Program, CT Human Rights and Opportunities, and US General Services Administration.
“The Matchmaker program is a premier event offering significant new opportunities for CT-based small businesses,” said Fred Wergeles, Director of the University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center. “Bringing together large companies and agencies with small businesses in the fast-paced Matchmaker environment creates the spark for emerging relationships that will fuel the state’s economy. The Entrepreneurial Center provides pre-event training for both the large and small businesses to maximize the value of their participation in the program.”
Wergeles also emphasized his organization’s effort to reach out to businesses run by women and minorities. “Through our Women’s Business Center, we also focus on recruiting women-owned and minority-owned businesses. These businesses traditionally receive fewer contracts, so we strive to provide more opportunities for them through this event.”
CT Business Matchmaker 2017 will offer an invaluable opportunity for small business owners to expand their contracting relationships. During the event, small businesses will present their products and services to potential customers in a series of ten- minute, one-on-one interviews with Primes. All Prime participants, including state and federal agencies, large corporations, municipalities, and educational institutions, come to the event with business needs they are seeking to fill. A full list of participating organizations follows.
Gold Sponsors of CT Business Matchmaker 2017 are The Metropolitan District (MDC), Pitney Bowes Inc., and the Metro Hartford Alliance. Bronze Sponsors are Farmington Bank, Viking Construction Inc., Skanska, and The Hartford.
To sign up or learn more, visit www.hartford.edu/matchmaker.
About The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center:
The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center provides training for new and expanding small businesses, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs, throughout Connecticut. Part of the nationally-renowned Barney School of Business, the Center helps small business owners and employees gain the business skills needed to succeed in the marketplace through business advising, technical assistance, educational programs, and networking events. The Women's Business Center, which specializes in serving women in business, is the largest initiative of the EC. For more information, visit www.hartford.edu/ec.
2017 PRIME PARTICIPANTS:
City of Hartford
City of New Britain
Charter Oak Environmental Services, Inc.
Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC
CT Airport Authority
Connecticut Lottery Corporation
Dimeo Construction Company
Elbit Systems of America, Kollsman Inc
Enfield Enterprises Inc.
Enterprise Builders, Inc.
GENERAL DYNAMICS Electric Boat
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC
Greater Hartford Transit District
Kaman Composite Structures
Manafort Brothers Incorporated
Methuen Construction Co., Inc.
Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company
Staples Business Advantage
Supervisor of Ship Building
The Metropolitan District
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Triumph Integrated Systems
UCONN Purchasing Dept.
UConn Supplier Diversity Program
United States Navy
US Environmental Protection Agency
US General Services Administration – FAS
US General Services Administration - PBS
United Technology Aerospace Systems
Western CT State University