Florida hosts Annual Matchmaker Conference and Trade Fair

Connecting minority vendors with government spenders

ORLANDO – Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS), Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) will host the annual Matchmaker Conference and Trade Fair on November 15-17 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Matchmaker, recognized as Florida’s signature event for minority/women business entrepreneurs, provides a forum for minority businesses, state purchasing officers and private industry to share ideas and develop business partnerships.

The OSD Matchmaker Conference is an outgrowth of Governor Bush’s One Florida initiative, in which he challenged Florida’s state agencies to increase minority businesses spending and expand outreach and services to minority businesses statewide.

In 1999, when the initiative was introduced, total certified minority spending among Governor’s agencies was approximately $150 million, since then government agencies have increased minority spending by 263.5 percent or $397 million. For fiscal year 2004 to 2005, the State spent $693 million dollars with minority businesses statewide.

“There is no doubt, minority businesses statewide have benefited from the Governor’s emphasis on minority contracting,” said DMS Secretary Tom Lewis, Jr. “Matchmaker is just one of the many ways we help minority vendors connect with government spenders. Governor Bush had a vision, and it has come full circle.”

This business conference is designed to create an atmosphere that allows small and minority businesses to interact directly with state procurement officials and large corporations to build working and lasting relationships.

The agenda is packed with events that offer attendees numerous opportunities to enhance their business skills. Nationally known speakers and presenters, as well as top state leadership, have been invited to attend.

“Matchmaker is a one stop shop for minority businesses, state purchasing officers and private industry to share ideas and develop business partnerships,” said OSD Director, Windell Paige. “We are thrilled that our previous sponsors and participants are excited to return and we look forward to fostering new partnerships.”

This year’s event features more than 200 companies that will seek to purchase goods and services from eligible, certified minority vendors. Through this event, the OSD is working to enhance vendor involvement with purchasing personnel, not only through traditional series of professional development workshops and plenary sessions, but with opportunities such as the professional development breakfast, awards banquet, and nightly networking receptions.

For more information visit or contact the Department of Management Services, Office of Supplier Diversity at 850-487-0915.

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