WMU News

Government buyers coming to Kalamazoo to talk business

June 12, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The state of Michigan says it's changing the way it does business and to prove it, buyers from more than a dozen government offices are coming to Kalamazoo to meet with local businesspeople who want to secure contracts in the public sector.

Sponsored in part by Western Michigan University's Southwest Michigan Technical Assistance Center, the Xchange Business Opportunity Forum will run from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, June 18, at Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Michigan Technical Education Center. The MTEC is located at 7107 Elm Valley Drive, in The Groves Education Business and Industry Park. The event is free and open to the public, and attendees may come at any time during the three-hour forum.

"Today, businesses of all sizes are taking advantage of new ways to sell their products and services," say the state organizers of the event. "With millions of dollars in buying authority, state and local agencies are looking for companies who can deliver--from auto parts to barricades to cleaning supplies. For a positive change, public sector buyers are coming to you to provide the contacts and information you need to grow your business."

The forum will be organized like a trade fair, providing opportunities for business representatives to meet one-on-one with buyers from a variety of state and local agencies. Information will be available on a number of topics, including how to register with the state as a vendor; accessing electronic bidding systems; how to bid on construction projects for the departments of Transportation and Management and Budget; how state and local agencies buy goods and services; opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms; and how to become a pre-qualified construction contractor or consultant.

The Kalamazoo event is one of 11 Business Opportunity Forums scheduled throughout the state from April through August. Each forum features representatives from a variety of agencies, which may include the Family Independence Agency, natural resources, environmental quality, management and budget, the state police, secretary of state and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., among others. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards and other "leave behinds" to make the most of the networking opportunities.

Additional information about the forum can be obtained by calling (248) 967-0570, ext. 11; sending e-mail to williamsa3@michigan.gov; or visiting www.michigan.gov/doingbusiness.

Under the umbrella of WMU's Haworth College of Business and its Office of Business Development Services, the Southwest Michigan Technical Assistance Center offers free assistance to area companies interested in doing business with the government. Annually, center director Michael Black and his staff help businesses secure more than $28 million in government contracts.

Media contact: Jessica English 269 387-8423, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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