Not many small businesses have staff who can spare several hours a week pursuing government contracts. It can be time-consuming to determine which government agencies to contact, to research their needs and protocols, and to prepare a sales pitch. It’s even a challenge just to find the right person in the right department—and to get that person then to respond in a timely fashion.
Enter the Meet the Buyer event. Think of it as speed networking for government contractors who are seeking to work with a small business.
CIRAS sponsors Meet the Buyer events two or three times a year. They generally last a couple of hours, with a dozen or more public and private procurement representatives and a dozen or more small businesses attending for structured networking
The events typically start with a short briefing from each agency highlighting how they do business and why they are looking for small and local vendors. Each small business then has an opportunity to share a prepared “elevator speech” with the room as well as a “capability statement” prepared in advance, with CIRAS’s assistance if the small business requests it.
That is followed by structured networking and a 30-minute Q&A panel about best practices when marketing to agencies or contractors with government contracts looking for subcontractors.
Registration, which can fill up quickly, is required but there is no charge. Any Iowa small business is eligible to participate.
“It was probably the best networking event I’ve attended, said Adam Jacobs of American Alarms in Des Moines. “We were connecting with the people who would actually purchase our products or services instead of solely salespeople meeting each other, which is so often the case in that type of event.”
Jacobs said he was pleased to find out that large government contractors are actively seeking out small and local companies like his own. The event resulted in making a promising contact. He is currently following up on what he hopes will be his company’s first-ever government contract.
Upcoming Meet the Buyer Events:
- Eastern Iowa (Coralville) on April 12
- Omaha, Nebraska on April 20