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Small Businesses Will Meet their Match as the SBA and HP Kickoff the 2005 Business Matchmaking Season

Innovative program has led to more than $26 million in contracts in two years
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2005

More than 800 small business owners throughout the South will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face and negotiate for contracts with buyers from federal, state and local agencies and large corporations as the 2005 Business Matchmaking season kicks off March 23 and 24 in Nashville at Gaylord Opryland.

Business Matchmaking is a public-private sector contracting initiative made possible through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the HP Small Business Foundation. In 2004, the program facilitated more than 20,000 appointments between small business owners throughout the country and purchasing representatives from federal, state and local government agencies and dozens of the country's largest companies.

"In two short years, the response to Business Matchmaking has been tremendous," said SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto. "We're looking forward to continuing our relationship with HP, a champion of small business, as we build on the success of this program and launch our new season in Tennessee, a state known for its dedication to helping small businesses succeed."

Added Robyn West, vice president, Small and Medium Business, HP, "Small and mid-sized businesses are not just our customers - they are our suppliers, resellers and partners. We're proud of HP's work with the SBA to help spur the success of Business Matchmaking, which has created procurement opportunities for thousands of small businesses in the United States, and we are committed to helping legions of small businesses across the world thrive through the promise of HP's Smart Office initiative - to deliver reliable solutions, access to expertise, and a simplified ownership experience."

This year, four major regional face-to-face Business Matchmaking events will bring approximately 5,000 small business owners together with hundreds of public and private sector buyers. In addition to the buyer-seller meetings, these events generate a substantial number of appointments with counselors from SCORE, Small Business Development Centers and the SBA itself.

Continued Administrator Barreto, "As a result of the technology and key personnel support provided by HP, in tandem with the efforts of our local SBA, SCORE and other resource partners, Business Matchmatching has emerged as one of the most successful initiatives ever undertaken by the SBA."

Additional Business Matchmaking events will take place in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Milwaukee. New in 2005 is Virtual Business Matchmaking, where small businesses can meet with procurement representatives online. The online network is currently available to small businesses in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, Kansas City and Tampa. For more information, log on to http://www.businessmatchmaking.com.

About HP

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