cheryl gonzalez-thad fortune_web.jpgTALLAHASSEE — A recent conference aimed at boosting the state’s minority businesses got a boost when Gov. Rick Scott  issued an order that confirms commitment to diversity in state contracting.

The order also encouraged all state agencies to participate in the meeting.

All state agencies showed up at the 2011 MATCHMAKER Business Conference, except the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Elderly Affairs and the Division of Administrative Hearings.

The meeting has been described as a success but there was no word as to whether contracts were signed. One report said many minority business enterprises and other diverse businesses increased their contracting opportunities with state government, state universities, local governments and private businesses.

The agencies that did not show up came under criticism, according to one source. Black and other small business owners were particularly upset at not being able to discuss contract opportunities with the Department of Juvenile Justice which serves a very diverse population of Florida youth.

Florida A&M University and Florida State University co-hosted the gathering which was held at Florida State University’s Turnbull Conference Center in Tallahassee.

Another MATCHMAKER event will be held in the Orlando-Central Florida area later this year and will again give black and diverse small business owners a chance to sit down with government and private sector purchasing agents to discuss contracting opportunities.

For more information on the upcoming session, call the Florida Office of Supplier Diversity at 850-487-0915.