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Make the Most of Your Time at the Upcoming Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo

By Colin McEvoy on April 6, 2015

About 240 small business attendees and 38 buyer companies participated in the first Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo in 2013.

About 240 small business attendees and 38 buyer companies participated in the first Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo in 2013.

The Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo is coming back, and its organizers want to make sure the region’s small businesses know exactly how to make the most of their time and be as prepared as possible to strike up a partnership with prospective buyers.

A series of educational workshops have been scheduled in advance of the upcoming Expo, which gives the small businesses a unique chance to discuss business opportunities with purchasing and procurement professionals from government and private industry in a “match-making” setting.

Attendees will have 3 to 5 minutes to talk to buyers at the second bi-annual Expo. Once that time is up, they move on to the next table and speak to another buyer for 3 to 5 minutes. It’s the same “speed-dating” style used at the first Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo, which was held in October 2013.

In advance of this year’s Expo, six educational seminars will provide those attendees with critical information on how to prepare for the Expo, successfully make contacts, and follow-up with buyers after the event. The first seminar will be held April 16.

Sally Handlon

Sally Handlon

“The constructive comment we received the most often from the first Expo was, ‘I wish I had been better prepared,’” said Sally Handlon of Handlon Business Resources, who is helping organize the expo and workshops. “That’s why we’re offering a greater number of workshops this year, and we’re offering them throughout the Lehigh Valley with the hopes of making them more accessible to all businesses throughout the region.”

The expo is being organized by the Women & Minority Business Opportunity Council of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), which seeks ways to retain and grow the existing small business community with a special emphasis towards women and minorities.

The 2015 Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo will be held on Oct. 22, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Additional information and online registration can be found on the Expo’s official website and its newly-launched Facebook page.

The workshops are free, but advanced registration is required. Attendees can register at the Expo’s website or at this Eventbrite website. The seminars will be held:

  • April 16, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. — Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce, 1457 MacArthur Rd., Suite 280, Whitehall, PA
  • May 20, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Northampton Community College Fowler Center, 511 E. Third St., Rm #621, Bethlehem, PA
  • June 18, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Northampton Community College Fowler Center, 511 E. Third St., Rm #623, Bethlehem, PA
  • July 23, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Nazareth Art Center, 30 Belvidere St., Nazareth, PA
  • August 20, 10 a.m to 12 noon – CareerLink Lehigh Valley, 555 Union Blvd., Allentown, PA
  • September 24, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce, 1457 MacArthur Rd., Suite 280, Whitehall, PA

Five of these six seminars will provide basic information about how to prepare for the Expo and maximize your Meet the Buyers experience, including how to market your business and follow the proper regulatory channels to do business with the various corporations and government entities.

The June 18 workshop will be specifically focused on positioning to work with the federal government.

The Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo is expected to include up to 50 buyers from government and local large companies. Small businesses that wish to attend can include women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned companies, or businesses with less than 20 employees.

“The expo will include procurement professionals from up to 50 companies, but not all of them will be seeking the same products or services,” Handlon said. “At these workshops, attendees will learn how to research and schedule their time to make the most of the 3 to 5 minutes they may have with the company representatives.”

While all Expo attendees will have to opportunity to speak to buyers for 3 to 5 minutes at a time, they can also sign up for up to five 10-minute, one-on-one meetings with selected buyers. Visit the website for more information.

“The expo provides the opportunity to get the door open to develop a relationship, if handled professionally and with thoughtful planning,” Handlon said.

About 240 small business attendees and 38 buyer companies participated in the first Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo in 2013, which was well-received by both the attendees and the companies involved.

Ten collaborating partner organizations are working to provide the 2015 Meet the Buyers Expo, including the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, Community Action Development Corporation (Allentown and Bethlehem) Lehigh University SBDC, Manufacturer’s Resource Center, Nazareth-Bath Chamber of Commerce, Slate Belt Area Chamber of Commerce, and Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce.

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