Speed partnering used to help small businesses - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Speed partnering used to help small businesses

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  You've probably heard of speed dating.  People rotate around to meet each other over a series of short "dates".   The same concept is now being used for businesses, to see if they are compatible and can work together.

It's a fast paced dating game, finding out which businesses are compatible to do business with the government.  Christina Hobbs with the University System of Georgia said, "I've met with some interesting vendors who sound like they have good products and services."

Making good first impressions.  Hobbs said, "Face value, I think everyone's high quality."

Small businesses like those at the Civic Center Tuesday are the backbone of the economy, but some businesses have been breaking their backs trying to find enough work to stay afloat.

"It's always a challenge.  We always need more business," said Don Shiver.

That's why the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center held a speed partnering program in Albany.

Steve Bettner said, "Well, hopefully, it will be a good exchange between both government and the contractors where contractors can really learn about the governments needs and listen to them and maybe formulate the business ideas around what the government is buying."

And if the vendors are looking for big spenders to pair up with, they've found them.  "We're looking at this year, federally, at least $500 Billion or so to spend," said Bettner.

And with so much money to go around, there should be a match for just about everyone.  "I think we'll find some business out of it," said Shiver.

But just like any courtship, the fruits of that relationship may be slow to produce.

Steve Lucas said, "It doesn't happen overnight.  It's a slow sale cycle, or a long sale cycle."

Born from just a few brief moments stolen together to build a relationship that will last for many years together. 

Each business owner had about 15 minutes with each government agency they're interested in working with.   People from across the state attended the session Tuesday.    The federal government funds the program.   It didn't cost participants anything.

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