The New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners is kicking off its 30th year with its 11th annual Procurement Event and Expo on Wednesday, February 11, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pines Manor on Route 27 in Edison. The day features a series of panels and workshops, one-on-one appointments with various experts, and insight into getting government certifications and maximizing business. Cost: $150. Visit www.njawbo.org or call 609-799-5101.

The theme is “Developing Business through Contacts and Contracts: Many Voices – One Vision: Prosperity.” the goal is to help women and minority business owners to grow their businesses with corporate and government contracts. The panels begin at 9:15 with “Women Who Have Made Their Idea a Success,” led by Sally Glick, chief growth strategist at Livingston-based accounting firm Sobel & Co. (www.sobel-cpa.com). Glick, who has tirelessly advocated and marketed the accounting profession over a 30-year career, earned her MBA from Lake Forest university in Illinois. She is consistently considered among the top names in her field.

Jennifer Nevins of DW Smith (www.dwsmith.com), a Farmingdale-based engineering and design firm, leads a workshop on getting certification at 10:30 a.m., followed by “Strategies In a New Economy,” a workshop led by Kathleen Cashman, president of Cashman Consulting (www.cashmanconsultingllc.com) in Hainesport, at 11 a.m.

At 11:30 a.m., Michelle Hermelee, president of BH Sky Associates (www.bhskyassociates.com) on Overlook Drive, will lead a workshop on positioning your company to sell to the government. Hermelee’s advice (U.S. 1, January 7), is that there is plenty of money available in government contracts for businesses of all sizes. The trick is, you have to work for it.

Nearly a quarter of the fed’s contracts are awarded to small businesses each year. Businesses that are classified as “economically or socially disadvantaged,” including businesses owned by disabled veterans or women, or companies located in a Historically Underutilized Business, or HUB, zone, have an edge in obtaining contracts from the federal government.

And the advantages of doing business with the federal government are plenty as well. The government never slows down, so business happens every day; and it needs everything any other business needs, right down to paper and paper clips.

The first steps to doing business with the government, she says, are to get registered (visit www.dnb.com and www.ccr.gov) and find available contracts. Federal business opportunities can be found at www.fbo.gov. The next step, she says, is to relax. It is important for anyone interested in bidding on a government contract to be patient. “This is not a fast process,” Hemerlee says. “It takes time to obtain the certifications and make the connections.”

A noon networking session is followed by two additional workshops on corporate contracts, led by Anisa Balwani of RAJ Consultants, and on maximizing your business’s web presence, led by Suzanne Engels of WebArtNTech (www.webartntech.com) of Montclair.

One of the event highlights is the pre-scheduled meetings with the corporations and government agencies who are matched-up with attendees who provide the goods and services these organizations are looking to outsource. More than 100 pre-scheduled appointments are expected this year. Some of the corporations participating include PSEG, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Verizon, Sanofi Aventis, and the Port Authority of NY & NJ.

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