HP recognized for strong commitment to growth and prosperity of U.S. Small Businesses in 2003.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is recognizing HP for its strong commitment and support of small businesses by rewarding the technology solutions provider with the newly established SBA Small Business Champion Award. The award will be presented on Sept. 19th during the National Entrepreneurial Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., where the SBA is marking its 50th anniversary.

The Small Business Champion Award was created to recognize companies for their outstanding contributions to the overall success of U.S. small businesses, including their actions in helping foster an environment that supports the growth and prosperity of small businesses across the country. It will be presented each year during National Small Business Week.

"We are pleased to honor a company that is truly a leader, advocate and champion of small businesses throughout the nation," said SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto. "HP fully believes in educating, training and opening doors for small businesses, and understands this powerful business segment is the engine that drives our country's economy. I hope this award will serve as an incentive for other companies."

HP's selection for this award was based on several factors, including its long-standing commitment to spend more than half of its purchases of goods and services in the U.S. with the small business community, with a significant portion reserved for women- and minority-owned businesses.

HP is also being recognized for forming a major public-private partnership with the SBA that led to the establishment of the Business Matchmaking program, a significant contracting initiative. This landmark program matches small businesses with federal, state and local government agencies and large corporations that have identified actual contract opportunities for products and services that small businesses can provide.

More than just a networking event, Business Matchmaking creates an environment where entrepreneurship can prosper by providing a chance for small business owners to meet face to face with government and corporate procurement officials to discuss how a small business' products and services can meet procurement needs. It also features experts leading workshop sessions that make small businesses aware of valuable information and resources necessary to sustain and grow their business. The program, which has been held in three cities in 2003 and continues its national tour through 2004, is expected to help facilitate millions of dollars in procurement contract opportunities to small businesses through a series of one- and two-day events in cities across the country. The next Business Matchmaking program will be Sept. 18- 19 in Washington, D.C., as part of the SBA's National Entrepreneurial Conference & Expo.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, Sept. 10, 2003