FSMSDC event offers opportunity to network and create partnerships

By Kayla Carnes


For minority business enterprises (MBEs) seeking an opportunity to identify minority companies with capacity to contract with, they need look no further than Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council’s (FSMSDC) Minority Business Conference.


Since 1985, the FSMSDC’s premier annual event has attracted business leaders from across the Sunshine State and the nation. The two-day conference serves as a gathering place for minority entrepreneurs, large corporations and government agencies, fostering new relationships, ventures and growth opportunities.


“This event provides a unique opportunity to connect with individuals who can become valuable contacts to grow their businesses,” said Beatrice Louissaint, president and CEO, FSMSDC. “Business is built on relationships, and this is your chance to meet and build rapport with buyers and key decision-makers.”


Formerly known as The Business Expo, The Minority Business Conference is celebrating nearly 39 years of empowering MBEs. Now in its second year under the new name, Lousissaint said this year’s attendees can expect a diverse audience of minority business owners and corporations, government agencies, educational institutions and health care organizations — both old and new.


“As a minority business, the challenge is always visibility. How do you connect with corporations and secure contracts? Many MBEs are seeking these crucial connections. A contract with a major corporation or a government agency can be a game-changer for many,” she said. “Our one-on-one sessions and matchmaking events at the Minority Business Conference provide a platform for minority business owners to pitch their services directly to corporations and other buying entities, offering them a chance to showcase their business and achieve a significant win.” 

With a focus on diversity and inclusivity, the conference will offer something unique each day to ensure a rewarding experience for all attendees.


In addition to the marketplace and workshops, the event will feature a keynote speaker, power -packed sessions, a literary corner, a free pop-up headshot studio (on-site professional makeup included) and corporate members serving as ‘matchmakers’ to bridge connections between minority-owned businesses and organizations. 


To prevent less established entrepreneurs from being overshadowed, Louissaint and her team are purposefully carving out event space for smaller MBEs that stand to benefit from the additional exposure.


“At the event, we will have a marketplace highlighting Class I businesses, which are those making under $1 million annually,” Louissaint explained. “While all are welcome, we will prioritize and give maximum exposure to these smaller businesses.”

And no event would be complete without a delicious spread of locally produced cuisine. “People love food!” she said. “We’re aiming to elevate its presence by featuring minority caterers more prominently.”


‘Connect, Collaborate and Succeed’

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Connect, Collaborate, and Succeed,’ which Louissaint said emphasizes the importance of networking and partnerships in achieving success.


“Establishing relationships that lead to opportunities with potential leads or fellow MBEs may not always happen instantly. Building these connections is crucial because people do business with people that they know, like and trust,” she said.


“Collaborating with another MBE for a joint venture can be a strategic move if companies lack the capacity to pursue larger contracts independently,” Louissaint continued. “This partnership can lead to greater success.”


Meanwhile, she said, “Corporations attend the conference to engage in face-to-face interactions and get direct answers to their questions about the MBEs products and services. There’s a unique synergy that comes from meeting someone in person.”


As the event enters its third decade, Louissaint encourages veteran MBEs and first-time attendees to consider the impact of gathering together to drive growth.


“Supplier diversity remains a crucial and ever-relevant aspect of business. Many minority businesses struggle due to a lack of capital and access,” she said. “These businesses are vital, as they offer one of the fastest paths to building a legacy and creating generational wealth. If you’re an MBE looking to scale up, or if you are a corporation that wants to identify companies with capacity, attending this conference is a must!”


To learn more and register for the conference, visit floridaminoritybizcon.com.


Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council Minority Business Conference FMSDC Beatrice Louissaint Business Expo Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council Minority Business Conference minority entrepreneurs MBEs

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