Local entrepreneurs now have a direct line to do business with Fairfax County.
On Aug. 1, the county launched an online portal that allows businesses to pitch a business idea, product or service to county agencies, departments and Fairfax County Public Schools. County agencies and departments can in turn take advantage of pitches that have already been vetted within the portal.
Wendy Lemieux, marketing coordinator for the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives, says the program — which had a soft launch at the beginning of the month — is intended to increase supplier diversity.
“By providing a consistent, business-friendly point of entry, organizations can now share information about their products and services with county agencies that may be potential customers,” Lemieux said. “This exposure will allow staff to see opportunities and reach out directly if they are interested. Electronic submission and circulation is intended to level the playing field and increase the opportunity for supplier diversity.”
The submission process for prospective vendors includes attending a free workshop, completing a form, and undergoing a review. Pitches are routed to county staff for review, and each submission is available to purchasing staff through the portal for one year.
The portal is for vendor-submitted proposals and does not conflict with the county’s legally mandated procurement process.
County officials hope the pitch process will boost equity for prospective suppliers by creating a standard and efficient process with relevant county staff.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay noted that many local businesses and entrepreneurs may be able to take advantage of the new portal.
“This portal offers a streamlined and user-friendly way to present business ideas, products, or services for consideration to county agencies, departments, and FCPS,” McKay wrote in a statement.
The soft launch of the program began Aug. 1. So far, no projects have been selected yet.
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