2024 Southern California Contracting Conference


On June 6, the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Network (OCIE SBDC) hosted the 2024 Southern California Contracting Conference in Riverside, Calif. More than 400 attendees participated in networking with 25 agencies and departments, 12 breakout sessions, and over 100 matchmaking opportunities. 

The event commenced with an introduction by OCIE SBDC Director Mike Daniel and Chief Operating Officer Katrina Smith, County of Riverside Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington, U.S. General Services Administration Regional Administrator Sukhee Kang and California Office of the Small Business Advocate Assistant Deputy Director Chris Earl.

“The Southern California Contracting Conference was a great opportunity for attendees who were looking for ways to scale their business and be a part of the one billion contrat dollars that are available annually for diverse suppliers and contractors,” shares Assistant Director of the IE SBDC and Program Lead for the Center for Contracting Karla Gonzalez. 

“Attendees were able to connect with buyers, exhibitors, hear inspiring stories from entrepreneurs, and build relationships. Big thank you to all of our partners, speakers, buyers, exhibitors, and attendees for making this a successful event that we can grow from,” said Karla.

The Department of General Services hosted an applicant and bidder clinic, positioning business owners to check on their application status and review bidder profiles, and WBEC-West organized one-on-one matchmaking sessions to connect small business owners with buyers.

Informative panel sessions on contracting processes and opportunities included local municipalities, Fortune 1000 companies, educational institutions, federal and state agencies, and utilities. The event was attended by nearly 30 buyers and partners including California Military Department, CalTrans, city of Riverside, County of Riverside, County of Orange, Cal State San Bernardino, Department of General Services, General Services Administration, Hyundai Motor America, JPL, JPMorgan CHASE, Metropolitan Water District, NASA, Orange County Transportation Authority, OmniTrans, Sundt Construction, Southern California Edison, San Gabriel Water, and Southern California Gas Company.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also presented the 2024 National Small Business Week awards around this year’s theme of Building on America’s Small Business Boom. Full list of winners below.

Mike Daniel
Director, OCIE SBDC
2024 SBA District Director Award
Dana Walker-Jackson
Founder, Cinderella’s Closet
2024 Woman-Owned Business of the Year
Krystn Macomber
Founder & CEO, Summit Strategy LLC
2024 Microentrepreneur of the Year
Natalie Plain
CEO & Founder, Billion Dollar Beauty
2024 Small Business Person of the Year

“The 2024 Southern California Contracting Conference was a great opportunity for our local small businesses to connect with federal, state, local and corporate buyers to understand how to make sales to these types of organizations.  The conference attracted more than 500 businesses that had an opportunity to learn about upcoming bids, understand the certification process and meet one-on-one with the buyers from more than 45 organizations,” said OCIE SBDC Network Director Mike Daniel. “We look forward to continuing to work with our local small businesses as they navigate their way through the contracting process and generate new sales that help them grow their business and hire new employees.”

The SBDC Center for Contracting focuses on assisting your business with securing procurement contracts at the federal, state, local, and corporate levels. Government and corporate procurement provide an opportunity to grow your businesses revenues in a new and diversified manner. SBDC consultants are here to help you with education, training and contract opportunities. Connect with a member of the Center for Contracting by making an appointment with our intake team

2024 Southern California Contracting Conference

Mike Daniel is the network director of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners throughout Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Mike was formerly the director of the SBDC office at Long Beach City College. As business owner and entrepreneur himself, he started his career as the owner of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach and went on to open a second location in Long Beach in 2001. In 2007, Mike sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder. Mike further expanded his candy empire with venture located in Shoreline Village in Long Beach called Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, based on fill-it yourself candy options.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.