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25 September 2013 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Connects Small Businesses to Opportunities at Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in Washington

SJL 1 - CopyCongresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee hosted an extraordinary and very productive “Meet and Match Minority Vendor Outreach Session” for minority suppliers seeking to do business with the public and private sector, during the Congressional Black Caucus’ 43rd Annual Legislative Conference in Washington D.C.

Held at the Washington Convention Center, the “Meet and Match Minority Vendor Outreach Session” gave small, minority, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, HUB Zone, and women-owned businesses the opportunity to market their capabilities directly to the federal government and private sector companies such as: Shell, CenterPoint Energy, United, the Houston Airport System, TransCanada, Exxon Mobil, BP, Deloitte, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Army which sets aside $20B in procurement contractual opportunities for small minority businesses and many more.

Attendees received some encouraging words from House Democratic Whip for the 113th Congress, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD).  Hoyer is the second-ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership.  After hearing from Rep. Hoyer, attendees received critical information from a number of successful business owners and industry experts on a strategically convened panel.

Panelists included: Francine Morris, SBA Business Opportunity Specialist; Mario Diaz, Director, SJL 3 - CopyHouston Airport Systems;  James Smith, Senior Vice President of Business Development for North Star; Carla Lane, President of Lane Staffing; Tracey Pinson, Director of the Army Office of Small Business Programs in the Office of the Secretary of the Army; Teresa Macalolooy, President of TM Capture Services, LLC; and Tanya Powell, Vice President, Operations, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.   The panel was moderated by Dan Sturdivant, Assistant to the Director for Outreach & Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses with the Department of Homeland Security, for which Congresswoman Lee is the Ranking Member of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee.

During the panel discussion, the SBA provided attendees with an overview of the SBA’s Mentor-Protégé program – a tool of the SBA’s 8(a) program that encourages mentors to team with a protégé or smaller firm to help them with management and technical assistance, financial assistance and access to joint ventures and federal contracting opportunities.  After the panel discussion, small businesses were told they would have 3 minutes to provide their elevator pitch to the participating entities and effectively market themselves.

Many attendees, SJL 4 - Copysuch as Houston small business owner Tamaro Bell, found the meet and match event to be extremely valuable and worth her effort to attend.

“It was phenomenal,” said Bell.  “It gave small businesses an opportunity to speak directly with government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.  I am looking forward to the wonderful opportunities that will come to fruition because of this event.” 

In order to have participated in the session, attendees were expected to have: (1) registered through the 2013 CBCF- ALC; (2) be a constituent of a current CBC member; (3) possess a DUNS number and NAICS codes; (4) possess a capability statement (5) possess 1 year of past performance with the federal government or commercial (6) possess one of the following certifications: SBA-8@, Women-Owned Small Business, HUB Zone, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, Veteran-Owned Small Business, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Minority Business Enterprise.