Southern Miss Hosts Vendor Fair for Minority Businesses - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Southern Miss Hosts Vendor Fair for Minority Businesses

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USM's vendor fair for minority businesses brings diversity to the Southern Miss campus.

The fair is part of the Mississippi Public University Minority Economic Opportunity Initiative, a program launched by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

The initiative strives to give companies owned by ethnic minorities more opportunities to submit quotes on goods and services to the state's eight public universities, the University Medical Center and IHL office.

Participants in Monday's expo say the fair was a success.

"We've been successful by the fact that from day one, from the first university that we talked to, immediately within the next day we've been able to do work with the university - the buyers," says Daco LLC President and Owner Learnard Dickerson.

Daco LLC is a Columbus-based business that services in promotional products, as well as printing and publishing.

Dickerson credits the middle man for his company's recent success.

"Being a business person, we look to 411 as being that catalyst to create an opportunity for two business-minded people - a buyer and a service provider - to connect."

"WhereToGo411.com is a national website designed to connect businesses to buyers," says WhereToGo411.com CEO James Covington.

Covington describes the website as an instrument.

"Now you have put in place an initiative, and an instrument, being WhereToGo411.com, to help them get involved in the procurement process."

Covington says among the eight public universities, there are more than 3 billion dollars in procurement opportunities for minority businesses.

But to vendors like Dickerson, it is not all about the money.

"Being able to come here and meet new people - it's all about business relationships. For any business person to be successful, you have to have relationships."

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