BY SAWYER CORNELIUS
As the spring semester nears and Salisbury University’s famed entrepreneurship competition draws close, an event co-sponsored by the SU Small Business Development Center and the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs was put on to help spark small business and entrepreneurial outreach in the community.
“Ready, Set, Grow!” was a workshop open to all students and members of the public held in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center last Thursday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to noon.
This program was designed to sharpen the skills of small businesses in order to make them more competitive for government contracts.
Invited panelists included representatives of the State Highway Administration, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, SU, Wicomico County Public Schools and many more.
The representatives discussed opportunities in doing business with their agencies and increasing procurement and government contracting for micro-businesses. It is a goal of Governor Hogan’s administration to promote businesses of all sizes in order to stimulate the state’s economy at large.
The workshop was a joint venture, hosted by John Hickman of the Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center and Alison Tavik, a director of communications for the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs.
“Events such as these promote small businesses, which drive the entrepreneurial economy here in Maryland,” Tavik said.
“The benefit to small businesses is great since they are typically uneducated or intimidated by government dealings,” Hickman said. “SU students have greater chances of employment through workshops such as this.”
Both agreed that their workshops operate best when hosted by the colleges and universities throughout the state. They both said they enjoyed seeing students attend, especially those who are highly motivated in turning their idea into a possible business venture.
“Public procurement is very competitive,” Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Jimmy Rhee said. “We want to help small and micro-businesses compete with confidence as they go after prime and subcontracting opportunities in the government sector.”
Ivy Coggins, a representative of Cambridge Federal, a smaller company located in nearby Cambridge, Maryland, was in attendance in order to increase her business’ success through government procurement.
The local company is interested in developing finger print services for surrounding schools, medical centers and other outlets, according to Coggins.
“Hopefully it will provide business for our company and help bring these necessary services and other opportunities to rural areas such as the Eastern Shore,” she said.
Overall, the second annual “Ready, Set, Grow!” event grants students and the surrounding community an awesome opportunity for elevating the capability of their small business through the securing of government contracting and other possibilities.