The 2012 Inland Empire Small Business Spring Procurement Expo on April 20 at the San Bernardino Hilton featured a keynote address by State Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. (D-26). This was the second expo hosted by Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter (D-62), the Public Utilities Commission and ADF Networking Consultancy, Inc. Also for the second year in a row, Southern California Edison sponsored the Expo along with many others.
Senator Price is Chair of the powerful Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Procurement. He entertained the audience with stories of his early business venture in printing. He humorously said he aimed to topple Kinko’s, but went out of business instead. The number one lesson he learned was the need for any successful business to have a business plan.
Price met with Joseph Williams and students from the Youth Action Project in San Bernardino. Assembly Member Carter, Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren, and Cheryl Brown, candidate for the newly-redrawn 47th Assembly District joined the roundtable educating students on setting and achieving goals in education and in business.
One highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation of a wooden bench etched with profiles of the “Mothers of Freedom,” to Frances Grice, President/CEO of ADF Networking Consultancy, in honor of her birthday. The bench was purchased at a charity auction by Eloise Reyes, and she was joined in the presentation by Carter, Patricia Small and Cheryl Brown.
A special feature of the Expo was the Business Matchmaking opportunity, linking small business owners one-on-one with decision makers from utility and government procurement agencies.
Expo attendees had the opportunity to hear a panel, “Connecting Small and Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses with Government and Utility Contracts.” Dennis Thurston, Southern California Edison moderated the panel which featured Sempra Energy, MWD, The California Department of General Utilities, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Supplier Clearinghouse, and California American Water.
Workshops addressed Women Owned Small Business Certification, Accessing Capital to Finance Your Business, and Small Businesses Going Green. Participants enjoyed networking with each other and with exhibitors and with exhibitors that included AT&T, the Minority business Development Center, Sempra, Time Warner, the Inland Valley Development Agency, the Housing Authority, and the Inland Empire Job Corps, among others.
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