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Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo Making Its Return

By Colin McEvoy on January 25, 2019

More than 200 people attended the 2017 Meet the Buyers Expo at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks.

More than 200 people attended the 2017 Meet the Buyers Expo at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks.

The Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo will be making its return, providing small businesses the opportunity to meet face-to-face with government and private industry professionals to discuss procurement deals and business opportunities.

The fourth bi-annual event will be held on Oct. 23 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Registration will open on Friday, Feb. 1.

Held in a “reverse trade show” format, the event allows buyers, which includes large businesses and government entities, to have tables and for the attendees (small- and medium- sized businesses) to visit and network with across the show floor.

The event is held every two years, and more than 200 attendees and 50 buyers participated in the last event in October 2017. The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is a sponsor and organizing partner for the event.

“It’s an opportunity for the business community of the Lehigh Valley to come together,” said Melody Bradford, LVEDC Director of Business Outreach Programs.

“It allows for smaller businesses to meet the procurement officers and the key people at our larger businesses,” she said, “and for the larger businesses to understand what types of local sourcing opportunities may be available to them in the Lehigh Valley.”

The expo has grown each year, and has been so successful that its reach has expanded beyond the borders of Lehigh and Northampton counties, Bradford said.

As a result, Lehigh University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has taken on coordination of the event for the first time this year. It was previously coordinated by a committee of the LVEDC Local Sourcing and Business Diversity Council.

“Being a part of Meet the Buyers since the first event in 2013, the Lehigh University SBDC is excited for the opportunity to lead the expansion of the Expo,” said Brett Smith, Associate Director of Lehigh University’s SBDC.

“Our ability to tap into our neighboring SBDCs will attract more small businesses to this unique networking opportunity in the region, and it will allow us to promote the importance of sourcing local and diverse suppliers to a wider network of buyers,” Smith said. “We look forward to growing this event with LVEDC and the rest of the Steering Committee and making 2019 our most successful expo yet.”

When attendees reach a buyer table, they will have 3 to 5 minutes to talk with the buyer. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards and business capabilities statements to the event, as well as prepare an elevator speech and a prioritized list of the buyers they wish to meet.

Attendee registration information can be found on the Meet the Buyers Expo website.

Early bird registration is available through Aug. 1 for a price of $35. Regular registration runs from Aug. 2 to Oct. 22 for a ticket price of $45, or attendees can come the day of the event for of $50 admission.

Buyer registration information can also be found on the website. It seems such information as business type, products or equipment the company might source, and special requirements of the organizations when taking on new vendors or subcontractors.

In the past, the Meet the Buyers Expo has attracted such buyers as B. Braun, Crayola, Lutron Electronics, Mack Trucks, Martin Guitar, Olympus, PPL, the St. Luke’s University Health Network, and UGI Utilities.

The Meet the Buyers Expo website includes videos to help attendees prepare for the event, providing tips about business registration and certification, communicating effectively, how to do business with the state and federal government, buyers’ perspectives, and more.

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