Contract Connections are one-on-one meetings between Suppliers and Buyers from government agencies and corporations to discuss potential business opportunities.

Contract Connections will be facilitated by National 8(a) Association. All Contract Connections communications will be sent from National 8(a) Association at matchmaking@national8aassociation.org, so please add to your contact list to avoid emails going to your junk folder.

Please note that opting into Contract Connections does not automatically guarantee a meeting with a Buyer. You will receive an email from the Contract Connections powered by National 8(a) Association website with next steps for completing your profile. To be considered for a meeting opportunity with a Buyer, please complete your profile.

If your company is selected to meet with a Buyer, you will receive a confirmation email with details a week before the meeting.

Please keep in mind that a meeting facilitated through Contract Connections does not guarantee that formal negotiations will commence or any contract will be reached between the parties to that meeting.

Any questions related to Contract Connections can be sent to National 8(a) Association at matchmaking@national8aassociation.org.
For inquiries on-site, please visit the Contract Connections Info Desk.

Registering for Contract Connections (Matchmaking)

  • When completing registration for an event, you will be asked, “Would you like to participate in Contract Connections?” To indicate you’re interested in participating in the one-on-one meetings, select “Yes” and complete the additional prompted questions. Select “Buyer” if you are a government agency or corporation and “Supplier” if you are a small business.
  • If you previously submitted your registration and would like to change your Contract Connections interest status or any of your Contract Connections information, please email National 8(a) Association at  matchmaking@national8aassociation.org.
  • Suppliers registering for the event after the cut-off date can email National 8(a) Association at matchmaking@national8aassociation.org prior to the event or visit the Contract Connections Info Desk while at the event to check if there are any available appointments.

Your Meetings

  • Buyers and Suppliers will be matched by National 8(a) Association and assigned meetings based on the information provided for your Contract Connections profile.
  • If your company’s capabilities align with any of the Buyers and there is an available appointment, a copy of your company’s meeting schedule will be emailed to you by National 8(a) Association the week prior to the event.
  • Please keep in mind that a meeting facilitated through Contract Connections does not guarantee that formal negotiations will commence or any contract will be reached between the parties to that meeting.

Preparing for your meetings

  • Do research before the event on who you will be meeting.
  • Identify what your objectives are for each meeting.
  • Perfect your elevator pitch about what sets your company apart from others.
  • Have plenty of business cards and capability statements/company brochures.
  • Ensure you have the details of your Contract Connections meeting(s).

At the event

Suppliers

  • Be sure to bring a copy of your Contract Connections meeting appointments. If needed, schedules can be printed at the Contract Connections Info Desk.
  • There is no need to check in for your meetings at the Contract Connections Info Desk unless you have any schedule changes/cancellations.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled meeting start time and line up in the “Appointments” queue.
    • Take this time to find which table number your “Buyer” is seated at (a buyer table listing will be provided).
  • The Contract Connections Coordinator will announce when it is time to proceed into the Contract Connections area for your meeting.
  • Each meeting is only 15 minutes in length. Please be mindful and perfect your pitch prior to arrival.
    • At 13-minutes, a 2-minute warning will be announced for you to begin concluding your meeting.
    • At 15-minutes, a final announcement will be made for you to proceed to the exit.
    • If you have another meeting immediately after, you will still need to exit the Contract Connections area and line up in the “Appointments” queue again.
  • Additional meetings may be offered through Open-Call, in real time. You will need to wait in the “Open-Call” queue and listen for an announcement to know which table/buyer is available. “Open-Call” participation does not guarantee you will be selected for additional meeting(s).

Buyers

  • Plan to arrive to the Contract Connections room about 15 minutes prior to your meeting’s scheduled start time.
  • Additional meetings may be added to your schedule throughout the event to accommodate Suppliers who signed up for Contract Connections after the specific event’s opt-in and submit deadline.
  • Each Buyer will be assigned a table number and will be provided their Contract Connections schedule with Supplier information.
  • Contract Connections Coordinators will make announcements in front of the Contract Connections room at each meeting start time to allow Suppliers with appointments to proceed to their Buyer’s table.
  • Each meeting is only 15 minutes and will have 5-minute breaks between each appointment.
    • 13-minutes into the meeting, a 2-minute end of meeting warning will be announced.
    • At the 15-minute mark, an end of meeting announcement will be made.

Virtual Meetings

  • If you have opted into a virtual Contract Connections meeting opportunity and received a meeting schedule, you will be emailed details for accessing the virtual meeting(s) a week prior to the scheduled date.
    • Once you have received the meeting link, please ensure you have the most updated software for the virtual meeting platform prior to your meeting.
  • Please join the virtual meeting at least 5 minutes prior to your scheduled meeting time. You will be allowed to join the meeting at your scheduled meeting time.
  • Each meeting is only 15 minutes in length.