By Leah Fassnacht, Director of Communications & Marketing
SHARE Reading is an exciting free networking and matchmaking event, created and sponsored by UPMC and First Energy, which fosters opportunities for diverse small businesses to directly meet in person with Berks County companies committed to supplier diversity and procurement with minority-owned enterprises.
The event will take place from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, at the newly renovated Abraham Lincoln hotel in Reading.
From Pittsburgh to Harrisburg and now Reading, the SHARE program was designed by UPMC in 2015 to share its best practices in supporting diverse owned businesses in the supplier procurement process. SHARE is produced with the support of local stakeholders who provide technical expertise for small businesses seeking certification. The SHARE event will bring to Reading agencies and certification providers such as the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council (EMSDC); Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; Small Business Development Center and Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Center.
“We are proud to bring the SHARE event to Reading. Seeing its success across the state, we know it will be successful year over year in our county. Based on the 2021 U.S. Small Business Administration data, women, veterans, Hispanics and minorities own 62% of businesses in PA,” said Rachael Romig, Senior Director of Events & Special Programs, GRCA. “We have an obligation to ensure our Berks County businesses learn more about certification processes and the benefits and be introduced to organizations like us who are here to help them. And we all know networking is impactful so having small businesses meeting large businesses is good for everyone.”
In addition to information regarding the Why and How small businesses can become a certified minority enterprise, the event features a dynamic matchmaking process and opportunities for the region’s largest employers to connect one-on-one with the diverse businesses matched to their needs. The largest employers will host tables at the event and connect in person to the small businesses that are scheduled to meet with them in 15-minute sessions. Both large and small businesses should register for the event and for matchmaking opportunities.
A VIP welcome will be delivered by Kerry L. Kirkland, Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities – Pennsylvania Department of General Services. Reading’s own award-winning executive leadership coach, speaker and professional development trainer, Adrean Turner, will be the keynote speaker and provide her story as the owner of Turner Coaching Training and Consulting, LLC, a nationally certified Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE).
“The MBE Certification has made my company profile more attractive when bidding on RFPs. The EMSDC highlights my organization and makes introductions to organizations that have led to fruitful relationships and contracts,” Turner said.
The event will also feature a panel of experts from the certification agencies who will provide an overview of how and why a business should consider MBE certification. Networking and matchmaking will round out the event.
“We are looking forward to a great event by bringing together the small, diverse business sector with Berks largest companies as networking is an essential part of building wealth,” said Jonathan Encarnacion, Senior Director, Medical Assistance at UPMC Health Plan.
To register, visit the event registration page.