May 3, 2023

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Organizers with the UF hosted what they say is one of the largest business gatherings in the area.

More than 60 exhibitors attended the Small Opportunity Fair to network and have an opportunity to work with UF to grow their businesses.

People entered the Reitz Union Ballroom for the fair featuring hundreds of representatives from small and minority businesses.

Dwan Courtney, the director of UF Small Business and Supplier Diversity department said the goal is to reengage business owners after the pandemic by working uf.

“I’m elated that we are re launching our small business opportunity fair, our last one was actually back in 2019,” said Courtney. “One of the initiatives we wanted to take was to let the small business owners know that UF wants to work with you all. We are committed as an institution to working with small businesses.”

Businesses from construction to food to technology were all in attendance.

“It would be great to kind of become the main stream coffee shop of Gainesville,” said Emily Suazo, Opus Coffee lead catering assistant. “Considering we have a lot more unique options available for students and it’s been really popular amongst the students ever since coming on campus.”

Some are already working with the university while others like Sergio Villalobos with “The Best Restoration and Floor Care” are hoping to begin a partnership.

“We can only thank the students,” said Villalobos. “We work with a lot of student housing and complexes so, we work with a lot of students here at UF and we would like to work with the school itself.”

Courtney said says they’ll be launching a new program working with landscaping businesses to beautify UF’s campus.

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