The Ohio Development Services Agency – Entrepreneurship and Small Business Division works in partnership with a broad network of public and private partners across Ohio to provide the information, assistance, and advocacy that facilitates small business growth and development. The Division supports Ohio’s businesses (up to 500 employees) by creating opportunities to expand financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills, access to capital, and the coaching they need to succeed. Through the state’s network of 39 Small Business Development Centers, more than 9,400 clients were served in 2012. The services helped to bring about $115 million in capital infusion and $130 million in sales growth.
The client has been conducting conferences to facilitate linking small business participants, with potential contracting opportunities with government agencies and prime contractors. The conference called Business Matchmaker provides small businesses with a unique opportunity to meet with buyers and sellers of goods and services. Small businesses can present capability statements and learn about the purchasing process of buying organizations. Buyers can represent city, state, county, and federal agencies, as well as prime contractors and other organizations and businesses with combined purchasing budgets representing hundreds of millions of dollars.
Taking this venture online was the next objective for the Agency. Providing small businesses with the ability to market themselves online to potential buyers would be the next step in the advancement of this program.
Halcyon Solutions implemented a custom developed .NET solution called Check Ohio First (COF) to promote and encourage companies operating in Ohio, and those attracted to the state, to maximize the use of Ohio businesses when making purchases, taking the ‘buy-local’ effort to a statewide level.
COF features include:
The new solution provides company search, matchmaking capabilities, and event management tools that enable DOD to reach out to Ohio businesses and actively promote them to potential customers. Hosting COF on Microsoft Azure Cloud services allows initial system rollout for a modest investment and ensures security, reliability, and scalability to support COF’s growing user base. DOD is actively marketing this solution as a “preferred” solution for other initiatives like shale gas and biomass.
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