UNO to host business seminar, networking opportunities


By Josie Loza

A business seminar geared toward women, people of color and disadvantaged business owners will be held Nov. 7 at UNO.

The 2002 Small Business Exchange will offer morning and afternoon sessions and workshops for the business owners at the William H. Thompson Alumni Center.

The morning session will begin at 9 a.m. and is a short program. Participants will share information about their business at an open session and then spend the remaining time networking.

The afternoon session is a repeat and will be held from 1 to 4 p.m.

Bill Bode, director of purchasing and material management at UNL, is coordinating the event. He said the group has held the event for more than six years. It will be the second time the seminar has been held in Omaha.

Some of the locations the seminar has traveled to in Nebraska include North Platte, Scottsbluff and Lincoln.

The area business range from bonding and technical services to construction companies.

Companies attend the seminar because it helps promote their businesses. Bode said they gain assistance with bonding and bidding for their company.

There is no fee for attending the seminar but the group would like businesses to give advance notice of a head count.

“We want to have a general sense of how many companies to plan for,” Bode said, “and to know how many would like to give a presentation.”

Bode said the group would like to leave ample time for a very informal environment.

Those attending the free events will get to meet with and make a pitch to procurement professionals from various institutions. They include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, UNO, the City of Omaha, Douglas County, Metro Community College, Offutt Air Force Base Contracting, the Omaha Housing Authority, the state of Nebraska and many others.

“We encourage them to exchange business cards,” he said, “because you never know where your next business opportunity or sale could come from.”

Bode said 127 businesses attended the seminar in 1999 and they would like to see the same turnout.

Each business will be given two to three minutes to get up in front of the group to market their company. After the presentations, participants will break into informal network sessions.

“Building relationships is the key,” Bode said.

The seminar is for people who don’t know where to go and who to talk to.

“It’s an opportunity to meet the people in the purchasing arena,” Bode said. “This is the initial step toward finding public access.”

Bode said the idea for the seminar originated from a national conference he attended. At the conference they encouraged business owners to network. He saw how successful a smaller networking seminar could be so he decided to propose the idea to his division.

For more information, contact the UNL purchasing department at (402) 472-2126.


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