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SoCal Business Connect Summit

RIVERSIDE – Hundreds of businesses and governments from throughout Southern California gathered in Riverside on Wednesday, Nov. 7 for a day of speed dating-style meetings and seminars led by the Small Business Administration and national experts in the fields of foreign trade and procurement.

The fourth annual event, which has been renamed the SoCal Business Connect Summit, ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Riverside Convention Center in downtown Riverside. One-on-one matchmaking appointments gave businesses that sell everything from janitorial services to computer parts an opportunity to connect with other businesses and governments interested in their goods or services.

There were 14 seminars throughout the day on foreign trade, procurement and the Small Business Administration.

eCommerce experts provided information on the nuances and imperatives associated with exporting in the online cross-border sales channel. State and local government officials taught attendees how to do business with government. Small Business Administration representatives offered tips on how to get federal certifications that can make a business more attractive to Fortune 500 companies and others. Even the Port of Los Angeles provided updates on international trade and its impact on the ports and the region.

90 buyers representing 50 companies or governments met with businesses as part of the matchmaking. Among the buyers were the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, AT&T, ESRI, March ARB, Metrolink and many more.

Procurement interests ranged from janitorial services to aircraft and weapons systems testing and evaluation services to professional services and everything between, which made this a beneficial opportunity for a diverse set of businesses.

Celina Shane Johnson, business partner at Enviroform Industries, said that as a small business owner and marketing and sales person for her company, she would probably never had the chance to reach out to as many people centrally located as she did at an event like this. 

“To be honest, with our first (matchmaking) appointment, I think we will be doing a lot of business here. I am blown away” said Beto Escutia, president of Victorious R.E.D.

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