Getting a Data Grip on Va.

A development group's database of 2,000 companies in the state is geared to making procurement parochial

The top 150 revenue-producing firms in the commonwealth are being encouraged to buy Virginian.

These companies, many of them high-tech businesses, will soon receive a floppy disk containing a database providing goods and services menus for 2,000 Virginia companies, courtesy of the Virginia Economic Bridge Initiative.

The group wants businesses and state and local government agencies to use the Procurement Pipeline to buy products from vendors inside the state's borders.

It's a win-win situation for both companies using the database and those listed, said coordinator Michael Tentnowski. Companies with large federal contracts that are looking for subcontractors will find the listing helpful, because half the firms are minority- or woman -owned businesses.

That should make it easy for companies to identify these types of small businesses, which the government encourages systems integrators to include in proposals. Participants, meanwhile, get little-to-no-cost exposure, said Tentnowski.

Mobil Corporation used the database during a six-month test period. The oil giant contacted Lebanon Apparel Corp. in Russell County as a supplier of uniforms for Mobil's 12,000 service station dealers and employees. Instead of using an out-of-state firm, Mobile chose the Virginia company and kept its $3.2 million purchase in the commonwealth.

The database, which will be updated quarterly, is free to all interested companies and is a program of the Virginia Economic Bridge Initiative, a partnership involving Virginia Tech, George Mason University, the Center for Innovative Technology and other academic and business institutions.

For Procurement Pipeline information, call (703) 993-8753.

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