MWDN: Meeting aims to help small businesses work with state

October 12, 2010
By Paul Crocetti

Businesses can receive help navigating the state’s regulatory and bidding waters at a workshop on Friday.

The free “Connecting Your Business to the Commonwealth” workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jericho Hill recreation center at 496 Brigham St.

State Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, said she has found that small- business owners have difficulty with state regulations. Though Gregoire said she believes the state should eventually make the regulations less complex, the best route now is to educate businesses about them.

“We need to do what we can to encourage businesses to expand and locate in the commonwealth,” said Gregoire, who will attend the event on Friday.

The workshop will provide training on the bidding process for state contracts and where to find bidding opportunities. The event will also feature information on the state’s online procurement system, Marlborough’s procurement process and where to find federal stimulus opportunities.

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, who helped organize the event, said he thought it would make sense to offer the training locally after hearing that small businesses are frustrated with the process of trying to get state contracts. For example, Eldridge learned of an Acton company looking to sell computers that was confused by the bidding process.

“I’m looking forward to the discussion,” said Eldridge, D-Acton. “I’m really happy to bring it to Marlborough.”

Gregoire said she heard about a local wooden toy company that must test for chemicals it would never contact – an expensive regulation that came out of the executive office, not the Legislature.

“We need to work with companies to help them as opposed to overregulating,” Gregoire said.

The new Small Business Purchasing Program, which aims to direct state spending for non-construction goods and services to eligible businesses, should help level the playing field, Eldridge said. Friday’s event will offer details on the program.

Barbara Miller, of the state Operational Services Division, said a charge by Gov. Deval Patrick’s office to teach the business community about bidding opportunities led to the training.

The workshop touches on items as basic as keeping deadlines to larger tasks such as knowing the customer base, said Miller, director of quality assurance for training and outreach.

There are about 35 participants registered for the workshop. Miller said she is hoping to draw 40 to 50.

“Everyone gets something out of it,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter if I get 5 or 50.”

Registration is required. For more information, visit www.mass.gov/osd.

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