Nearly 500 attendees participated in the two-day Northeast Regional Matchmaker 2023 Business Training and Resource Fair in August to make connections with government procurement managers and government prime contractors in hopes of landing contracts from the federal to local level.
Hosted by CT APEX Accelerator (formerly PTAC) at the Mystic Marriott, it was the first such event in Connecticut and nearly doubled the attendance of the previous Matchmaker held in Rhode Island prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. CT APEX is an affiliate of seCTer.
“We were thrilled with the response on both sides of the table – local, state and federal government procurement specialists and businesses of all sizes seeking to expand into new opportunities,” said Marisol Herrera, State Director of CT APEX Accelerator.
Business owners were able to meet individually with these buyers from several government agencies in 10-minute “pitch sessions” during which they were able to market their goods or services. The event also included information sessions about requirements for a broad range of government contract work and a cybersecurity training and information session for small to medium-sized businesses and those in the federal manufacturing supply chain.
Throughout the event, attendees also had the opportunity to meet with regional APEX Accelerators from across New England and New York as well as representatives from the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, Women’s Business Development Center, regional SBAs, universities, and other organizations.
“The Matchmaker was especially helpful for businesses owned by veterans, minorities, women, Native Americans, the members of the LGBTQ community, as well as those operating in distressed communities and Historically Underutilized Business Zones since there is a strong preference to award contracts to businesses in these categories,” Herrera said.
In addition to CT APEX, sponsors included seCTer, CT Department of Administrative Services, SBA, Northeast Regional Council of the Department of Defense, and the University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial & Women’s Business Center.