The Essex County Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action (SBDAA) hosted a Small Business Procurement Expo on April 11, 2019 at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey. The Expo was planned in collaboration with NJIT Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the other counties in New Jersey that have set-aside programs including Bergen, Hudson and Mercer counties. Set-aside programs allow participating counties and or organizations to designate a portion or portions of or full contracts for goods, equipment, construction, or services for which bids are invited and accepted only from qualified women (WBEs), qualified small (SBEs), qualified minority (MBEs), or qualified veteran-owned (VOBEs) business enterprises. The goal of the Expo was to educate small businesses on the set-aside programs and the procurement processes in these counties and other organizations that participated; promote NJIT PTAC’s services, especially for veteran owned business enterprises; and share pertinent information on resources available to small business enterprises through different non-profit organizations, including different chambers of commerce in New Jersey.
The Expo’s keynote address was delivered by the New Jersey Chief Diversity Officer, Hester Agudosi, Esq. It was a full day event that attracted over three hundred small business owners and entrepreneurs, and over forty companies within the government, financial services, transportation and logistics, IT, education, construction, and nonprofit sectors exhibited. Some of the organizations that exhibited included NJ Transit, Port Authority of NY/NJ, NJ Department of Transportation, NY/NJ Minority Supplier Development Council, Tutor Perini, Rutgers University, Harris Corporation, New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, NJ Business Action Center, UCEDC, NJ School Development Authority and U.S Small Business Administration.