By Ashley Conroy
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Hundreds of small business minority leaders gathered at the "Mississippi Economic Recovery and Procurement Summit" on Monday at the Jackson Convention Complex.
It was a networking opportunity for minority business owners and contractors to learn how to land a deal with the government.
Congressman Bennie Thompson and Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims addressed the crowd on how to help the attendee's get ahead.
"In my experience in this community and state, is that we have a number of very qualified small minority businesses who only need a chance," said Congressman Thompson.
"America has an entrepreneurial spirit, and we want to make sure the entrepreneurial spirit looks like the rest of America. Mississippi affords us a great opportunity to begin to create that momentum," Secretary Sims said.
At this summit, about a dozen booths were set up from different city, state, and federal government entities.
The goal was for the business leaders to work up a contract with these agencies as a means to get more work.
One of these contractors, Nelson Atkinson with Construction Specialists, has been in the business for years. When he heard this was a chance to get a government deal he knew he wanted to attend.
"We wanted to see if we can get off into some of the state and government work," said Atkinson.
Contractor and Vice President for First Construction, INC., Brenda Proctor says since the economy started to spiral the private sector has dried up.
"We were hit at the private sector, it almost just died, there was nothing. We were able to target the government who is still spending money," said Proctor.
Secretary Sims says this event was intended for these business leaders to network, as a means to get work if work wasn't coming to them.
"We brought them here and said, we want you here to receive our funds. We want small businesses, women, disadvantaged business leaders to get contracts," said Sims.
The City of Jackson was one of the government entities at the summit. In addition, the Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. General Services Administration was available to provide deals.
For more information on how to work with these government agencies, you can go to their web sites at:
HUD -- www.hud.gov
GSA -- www.gsa.gov
Jackson -- www.jacksonms.gov
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