The 27th annual National Reservation Economic Summit (National RES) will be just as amazing as in past years, with inspiring and informative keynote addresses and panel discussions, and myriad networking possibilities for tribal businesses and their buyers. This year, those connections stand to happen with more power and purpose than ever before.
National RES is the signature event of the National Center for American Indian Economic Development (NCAIED), and the single largest Native American business conference of the year. It’s taking place March 11-14, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
This year, Native entrepreneurs will experience a major boost to the networking opportunities at National RES. In past years, the Procurement Pavilion was the place where buyers linked up with sellers; it was a separate function from the Business Trade Show. This year, the Pavilion has been redesigned as the Procurement Expo, and it’s been integrated into the Business Trade Show floor.
George Williams is the Procurement Expo Manager for RES, and Program Manager for NCAIED’s American Indian Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
“In ordinary matchmaking, generally you have one-on-one meetings, in a classroom setting,” he explains, “and then you have your trade show, where people walk around and meet you at your booth. In trade shows, you have no idea who’s gong to come up to your booth at any point in time. You’re really taking a big chance, just hoping people are going to take the initiative to come up and find you.”
But with the Procurement Expo integrated with the Business Trade Show, “we have the best of both worlds,” he says. Scheduled meetings between buyers and sellers will happen at the buyers’ booths, where materials and information are close at hand – and where the spirit of entrepreneurship fills the air.
Last year, 89 buying organizations sought goods and services from Native businesses at National RES. Buyers this year are expected to include, among others, the U.S. Departments of Army, Navy, Air Force, Interior, Homeland Security, and Energy as well as large prime contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, IBM, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting and American Airlines.
As a testament to the increased emphasis on business connections, the one-on-one meetings between buyers and sellers will take place over two days, March 12 and 13, instead of one day as in past years.
Still, sellers will schedule their meetings on a first-come, first-served basis, so Williams is advising companies and entrepreneurs to register for the conference early to secure the best opportunities.
To begin with, “the conference rate is going to go up on Feb. 15th,” he points out. “It would make sense to take advantage of the early registration rates.”
After people are registered for the conference, they’ll be contacted about the Procurement Expo, for which they’ll sign up separately. Once registered for the Procurement Expo, attendees will use the NCAIED’s Business Matchmaking program, online, to complete a business profile. The software will match the seller profiles with those of potential buyers. A week or two before the start of National RES, businesses will have the chance to go online and schedule appointments with buyers that are best matches for their goods or services. Conference organizers will print schedules for all Procurement Expo participants, and those will be made available on the morning of March 12, the first day of face-to-face meetings.
Williams also notes that each government agency, contractor or corporation wishing to meet Native businesses in the Procurement Expo will need to purchase a trade show booth. There are still good spots available in the trade show.
Gary Davis, NCAIED President, said the Procurement Expo is likely to be one of many memorable highlights at National RES 2013.
“Each year, many multi-million dollar contracts arise out of the Reservation Economic Summit,” he said. “Now that the Procurement Expo has been expanded and combined with the Business Trade Show, we expect the connections and opportunities at National RES 2013 to skyrocket.”
People wanting more details about the Procurement Expo may contact George Williams, Procurement Expo Manager, at email@example.com or (770) 494-0117.