At the Fair

Seemingly every federal department joined lenders big and small at Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton's fifth annual Small Business Access to Capital Fair at the Washington Convention Center yesterday. There were 52 exhibitors at the event; 275 people registered, and at least 200 more showed up. Most attendees have small businesses already, but they're looking to grow.


Shapari Pakroo, left, and Shaunta Johnson of the GSA discuss contractor opportunities with an attendee.

While the morning was full of speeches and panels, the afternoon gave attendees the opportunity to talk to lenders and possible buyers.

Representatives of the General Services Administration were there to talk about certification and schedules, and people from the Smithsonian set up a table to discuss contracting opportunities there. Two tables that appeared popular were that of the Small Business Administration and that of the Washington chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit that counsels small business.

Also draws were tables from Citigroup, SunTrust, MainStreet Lender and other businesses that could help entrepreneurs get them money they need.

Many attendees were there to try to get business from the federal government. Marjorie Ward, who works for an IT contractor, was talking to the GSA people after having submitted her GSA schedule paperwork. Teacher Marly Forde of Forde Designs, who does screenprinting and embroidery for T-shirts and bags, was looking for work with the government as well. So were Cady Loftus and Cary Hatch of PR firm MDB Communications.

Not everyone was government-focused, though. Michael Brown was there shopping for a loan; he's looking into opening a fast-food franchise in Southeast to take advantage of the new stadium.

By Terri Rupar  |  April 9, 2008; 12:16 PM ET  | Category:  Small Business
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