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Match made in Huntsville: Business event links small, large companies

HUNTSVILLE – There is a matchmaking event in Huntsville that has grown so big only the East Hall at the Von Braun Center can hold it. The target group is specific – minorities, women and veterans – but not exclusive.

There is also a catch.

Huntsville Utilities will hold its unique third annual Business Matchmaker Event from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The event matches large companies with local minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses in north Alabama looking to expand their opportunities.

Interest in the event, free and open to anyone who owns a small business, has amplified over three years.

“I actually got a notice from one of the organizers of the event (Friday) and they asked me to go in and turn off the registration form because we may be at the physical capacity of the number of people we can have in that room at  the VBC,” Todd Long, HU’s Electronic Content Administrator – External Affairs, told 256 Today. “That’ll be the first time this has happened. We’ve had good turnouts, but the response we’ve gotten has been a lot bigger this time around, which is good. We’re glad to hear that.”

(Huntsville Utilities/Facebook)

At the VBC, around 200 companies of various sizes will have the opportunity to meet small business owners, learn about their products and services and diversify their supplier bases. Small business owners will learn how to supply their goods/services to larger companies, their procurement processes and receive vendor applications and other pertinent information.

“The thing that we have noticed in our own operations for the past few years is that a lot of times, with these small businesses, they don’t necessarily know who they should be reaching out to at these larger companies,” Long said. “Or, especially in an area like this where we have so much government contracting and everything, there’s a lot of process involved.”

After seeing this need HU decided to play matchmaker.

“This event brings these larger companies and the small businesses all into the same room at the same time,” Long said. “So you’ve got larger companies that are looking for smaller businesses to help them and you’ve got smaller businesses who are looking to find their way to get their foot in the door with these larger businesses.

“There’ll be presentations from various groups that’ll explain a lot of this. And then the back half of it is basically a chance for the small business owners to go up, get contact and information, ask questions of these larger businesses and find out what they need to know.”

Sounds like a perfect match.

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