September 23, 2014  

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Southern Miss to Host Vendor Fair for Minority Businesses on July 9

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Minority businesses will have a unique opportunity to access one-on-one networking when The University of Southern Mississippi sponsors a Minority Business Expo on Tuesday, July 9 at the Thad Cochran Center.

The minority vendor fair, hosted by the Department of Procurement and Contract Services, will be held from 8-11 a.m. in Ballroom 1 of the Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg campus.

The fair is part of a program launched by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning called the Mississippi Public University Minority Economic Opportunity Initiative. Through the initiative, minority businesses will use www.WhereToGo411.com to ensure companies owned by ethnic minorities have more opportunities to submit quotes on goods and services to the state’s eight public universities, the University Medical Center and IHL office.

“As part of the IHL’s goal of increasing diversity on our university campuses, we’re excited to be able to host the vendor fair and we hope this will help increase minority participation in our procurement process,” said Steve Ballew, director of Procurement and Contract Services at Southern Miss. “I think it will provide a unique opportunity and forum for minority businesses to promote their products and services to our campus community.” 

WhereToGo411.com connects vendors to buyers through its quote feature. Minority companies post information about their business and the goods and services they provide. Universities send and receive quotes, proposals and subcontracting opportunities through the online system.

This system benefits minority businesses with awareness of opportunities and enables them to respond employing the website’s easy-to-use method. WhereToGo411.com representatives will attend the expo and provide a live demonstration of its features.

“While WhereToGo411.com promotes both majority and minority-owned companies, there’s a greater disparity in the number of African-American business owners gaining access to procurement opportunities,” said Kathy Times, vice president/COO of the website and immediate past president, National Association of Black Journalists. “WhereToGo411.com is excited to be an IHL partner and a critical bridge between USM and business owners ready to connect with the university. The expo exemplifies USM’s ongoing commitment to diversity.”

An online registration form is available for both prospective vendors and University vendor fair participants at http://www.wheretogo411.com/articles/0613/registrationform.html. For more information, contact Steve Ballew at 601.266.4131.