USDA, Federal Agencies Partner to Kick off National Small Business Month in the Midwest

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Posted by Jacqueline A. Davis-Slay, Senior Advisor, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization in

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USDA Results

May 23, 2024

FDIC employees staff an information booth at the Path to Prosperity event at the Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO on April 24

USDA kicked off National Small Business Month with the Midwest “Path to Prosperity” event at the Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO on April 24th and 25th. This was the 19th event, since 2022, to provide regional business and economic development workshops that featured experts from the financial industry, federal government, community partners and stakeholders.

Through this partnership, USDA, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Small Business Administration continues to deliver Federal, State, local and private partners opportunities to self-employed individuals, small businesses, and communities. The information, tools, and resources shared are building assets, creating wealth and economic progress, and fostering hope small businesses across the country.

One of the core objectives of Path to Prosperity is to improved small businesses contracting relationship with the Federal Government and private industry partners. This objective has been and continues to be met. This past year, the Biden-Harris Administration exceeded its fiscal year (FY) 2023 small business contracting goal of 23%, awarding an all-time high 28.4% of federal contract dollars to small businesses. As a result of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) efforts, USDA received an A+ rating on the FY 2023 federal procurement “Scorecard,” which measures how well federal agencies meet their small business contracting goals each year. And Path to Prosperity is USDA and OSDBU major outreach efforts that’s providing the tools and resources to small businesses to access Federal programmatic and procurement opportunities across the country.

Northwest Missouri State University President Dr. Lance Tatum speaks at USDA’s Path to Prosperity event

The Midwest States “Path to Prosperity” event included self-employed individuals, small businesses, and communities from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. As a result, participants obtained more bank referrals and business development help. These event highlights how the Federal Government, along with local, State, and private partners are leveraging resources to address the needs of the economy by strengthening the engine of our economy and the glue of our communities — America’s small businesses, as stated by Assistant Secretary for Administration, Malcom Shorter.

The Midwest event featured experts and dynamic discussions in the consistent areas of capital access and government contracting. The event also placed special emphasis on the agricultural industry’s value-added production and vendor/corporate connections, as requested by local partners. The goals of these two emphases were to advance awareness and accelerate the adoption of valued added business practices and increase access to markets through corporate buying programs, respectively.

Expert participants included the owners and operators of agricultural businesses such as Tabletop Farm, R/Farms, Green Grass Cattle Company, and the Midwest and Southern supermarket chain, Hy-Vee.

Panelists participate in a discussion on how to access capital at the Path to Prosperity event at the Northwest Missouri State University

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