(ESSEX COUNTY) – On November 12, 2020, Essex County District 3 Freeholder Tyshammie L. Cooper and District 2 Freeholder Vice President Wayne L. Richardson sponsored an event titled - “How to Become a Vendor with Essex County – A Business Workshop” - where information was disseminated to detail the process of becoming a vendor with Essex County. The workshop was held virtually via Zoom telecast with County Representatives, Purchasing Director Jay Coltre and Director of Small Business Development Samuel Okparaeke.

Each year, there are hundreds of companies that apply for millions of dollars in vendor contracts with Essex County through a regulated bid process. The contracts range from landscaping services at county parks and technical support for the county’s computer systems, to the maintenance of county roads. The workshop provided details to small businesses on the steps they must take to be considered for an Essex County contract, the decision-making process of being awarded a contract, and ultimately having the contract approved by the Board of Freeholders.

Additionally, viewers of the workshop were given an opportunity to ask questions about the information relayed in the workshop, as well as pose follow-up questions to the County Administration representatives. Purchasing Director Jay Coltre offered insight on how the Administration makes decisions on selecting a company to award a contract, while Director of Small Business Development Samuel Okparaeke gave tips and information on what small businesses can do to put themselves in position to be selected.

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District 3 Freeholder Tyshammie Cooper, the driving force behind the workshop, expressed her satisfaction with its outcome. “During my time on the Board, small business owners, particularly female and minority business owners in our communities, often reach out to me asking how they can put themselves in a position to be awarded a county contract. This workshop gave small businesses specific details regarding the vendor contract selection process.” She continued, “It is our intent and hope that this will give them the confidence to take part in the process, and foster the belief that they do indeed have the opportunity to be awarded a vendor contract with Essex County.”

Freeholder Cooper also stated, “Hosting a webinar where interested business owners were able to take part and ask questions eliminated some of the legwork needed in simply getting the information. The workshop allowed people to acquire the needed information from the comfort of their homes.”  

Freeholder Vice President Richardson added, “The leadership of Essex County believes in the principle of economic inclusion for all. This workshop gave us the platform to put that belief into practice by providing pertinent information about our vendor selection process to the owners and operators of minority owned business - thereby helping to facilitate the inclusion we are striving for.” He continued, “According to our Purchasing Director Jay Coltre, Essex County awards over 250 million dollars in vendor contracts on a yearly basis. I implore all small business owners to take the information we provided today, and use it to put themselves in the best position possible to become a vendor with our county. We will host this workshop routinely to help our Essex County businesses gain more knowledge and access to our contracting opportunities.”

Freeholder President Gill echoed the sentiments of his colleagues. “The services provided by Essex County cannot be executed without reliable and trustworthy vendors. Many of our vendors come from Essex County, and it is always our intention to provide local businesses with opportunities to attain the contracts the Board approves. This workshop served the purpose of providing specific details, in a clear and concise format, to help local business owners and operators feel comfortable applying for county contracts.”

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