Matchmaker, Training and Awards Conference in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. will host a free National 8(a) Training, Business Matchmaking and Awards Ceremony at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10.

The event will give small disadvantaged businesses access to guidance on federal contracting, face-to-face meetings and opportunities to team with larger businesses and graduates of the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program.

“SBA and the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. are partners in a major effort to expand outreach and support to underserved and minority business communities that have been hit harder by the economy than other sectors,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Marie C. Johns. “This event will further this goal by honoring an outstanding group of entrepreneurs, offering fresh training opportunities, and arranging face-to-face meetings that may result in new contracts. We believe this program will help participating companies leverage their assets and capabilities and take their businesses to a higher level,” Johns said.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to partner with SBA and co-host this special event. We now have a chance to recognize the firms who have worked diligently over the last year, despite harsh economic conditions, and managed to successfully grow their businesses. We are proud to work with SBA and we are proud of our members,” said Ron Busby, President/CEO of the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc.

During the awards ceremony, one of the 10 Regional Minority Small Business of the Year award recipients from around the country will be selected as the National Minority Small Business Person of the Year. SBA also will present the SBA Administrator’s Leadership award recognizing the recipient’s tireless efforts and unwavering commitment on behalf of the nation’s minority small business community, and an award for the 8(a) Graduate Firm of the Year.

Small disadvantaged businesses and 8(a) firms interested in attending must register at: Small disadvantaged businesses can attend the event, but the face-to-face and business matchmaking sessions are reserved for 8(a) firms. More than 100 small businesses are expected to attend and to be matched for approximately 250 time slots for one-on-one meetings based on their compatibility with approximately 25 buyers.

During several scheduled forums, small businesses will learn how to market themselves to the federal government and go after government contracting opportunities. They will also get an overview of the SBA’s Mentor-Protégé program – a tool of the SBA’s 8(a) program that encourages mentors to team with a protégé or smaller firm to help with management and technical assistance, financial assistance and access to joint ventures and federal contracting opportunities.

The forums also will offer help with strategic alliances and joint venture opportunities, a Q&A session with representatives from successful 8(a) graduate firms and face-to-face and business matchmaking sessions with larger businesses and companies that have graduated from the 8(a) program.

For more information about the National 8(a) Training, Business Matchmaking, and Awards Ceremony, visit: and for more information about the SBA, visit