Business expo encourages small business growth

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Office of Administration hopes to connect small businesses with state agencies at its business expo Wednesday morning.

Doug Nelson, commissioner of the Office of Administration, says the expo will give small business owners the chance to network with bigger contractors from around the state.

"The Capital Connection Business Expo is an opportunity to bring in small business groups along with state agencies for a mutual connection," Nelson said. "We are also bringing in some of the bigger prime contractors to work with the small businesses to give them an opportunity to meet and converse.”

Nelson says another major focus of the expo is to highlight Missouri's new eProcurement System.

"We are close to bringing out a new state of the art technology, MissouriBUYS, which is an online purchasing system. We want to teach these vendors where to get the information and how it is much easier today," he said.

Mike and Alesia Traiteur own Sportsland Automotive and contract with state agencies to repair state owned vehicles in south west Missouri. As small business owners they attended the expo to bid for future contracts with MoDOT and other state agencies. 

"I got some really good information about that MissouriBUYS program and I think its really going to help us expand our work with agencies like Missouri Highway State Patrol and MoDOT. We do auto repairs for these agencies so I think this system will allow us to reach out to them instead of the other way around." Alesia Traiteur said. 

Sunbelt Environmental Services has worked with the Missouri department of agriculture as well as the Missouri Department of Conservation to provides clean, reusable energy to Missouri. The small business sent their employee Kenneth Clem to the expo to search for new work.

"It's nice to see what's out there. I work for a small business and I thought it could be interesting to see who I might meet or what could be a potential client for our business," he said.

MissouriBUYS also allows owners to go online and register as a minority business owner.

Officials say they hope the expo is as successful as similar initiatives in St. Louis and Kansas City.