Gainesville has become one of the most exciting entrepreneurial hubs in Florida. In every corner of the city – the new retail and residential development, construction projects and business starts – indicate Gainesville is experiencing what can be described as a “small business revolution.” Whether a startup business or an existing business, there are many organizations and events to support this flourishing ecosystem. One such event is UF’s Annual Small Business Opportunity Fair. Sponsored by UF Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations, this event brings together the small business community to interact and connect with UF departments, local and state government agencies and corporations, all with one goal in mind, building relationships with the hope of doing business with the small and diverse business community.
With this event, we take great pride in drawing together a diverse community of small businesses – the innovators and doers who power our economic engine. We recognize that small businesses are the backbone of our economic landscape and the cornerstone of our communities. In a thriving diverse economy, small businesses are key drivers of job creation and growth. We also know it can be difficult for small businesses to compete for those growth dollars. This event allows us to offer the tools to bring together the business connections and resources to facilitate those growth opportunities.
This year marks the 26th year that UF has coordinated this event, which is significant not only from a longevity perspective, but is reflective of our longstanding commitment to help small and diverse businesses in this community. With each year, our list of exhibitors and attendees continue to grow, with businesses representing a wide range of industries, including construction, financial services, food & beverage and more. An added bonus is that some of the businesses participating were first time attendees or firms headed by UF alums.
This event also included workshops on various topics including Team Building, Branding, Business Development and Business Development Resources, conducted by leading area businesses, industry experts and agencies including the Small Business Administration. The highlight of the event was the keynote luncheon, which featured an address by Alvin Cowans, President/CEO of McCoy Federal Credit Union in Orlando, UF Alum and UF Hall of Fame inductee.
We are excited to facilitate opportunities for small businesses to gather, network and collaborate and are proud to be a part of Gainesville’s dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is just another thing that makes the Gator “small business” Nation great!
About UF Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations
SBVDR is responsible for the university’s Supplier Diversity Program, which focuses on providing equal access for small, HUBZone, minority, small-disadvantaged, veteran, service-disabled veteran, and women-owned businesses by providing them equal opportunity to compete for procurement and contracting opportunities at UF. For more information on the University of Florida’s program, go to https://sbvdr.admin.ufl.edu/. Follow them on Twitter @UFSmallBusiness and Facebook @UFSmallBusiness.
By Kathey Porter, MBA, CPSD Director and Dwan Deleveaux