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      Albany wants to do business with business

      Judy Randle

      The city of Albany wants to do more business with local small businesses.

      "I've always wanted to do business with the city of Albany," said Kanku Ngalula.

      That desire brought Ngalula and other business owners to the City of Albany Small Business Procurement Program.

      The goal is to lend a helping hand to local businesses as they navigate the murky waters of government contracting.

      "We hear so much about the stimulus money local governments are receiving, we thought this would be a good opportunity to capitalize on some of that," said Judy Randle.

      Lloyd Atkins is with the University of Georgia's Small Business Development office but says when it comes to creating jobs, everyone's on the same team.

      "Anytime we can help small businesses to get on their feet, to improve â" means they can hire people," said Atkins.

      One of the features of the procurement program is an incentive for minority businesses. That was especially important to many in the class at the Microbusiness Center because the number of women was more than double the number of men.

      "I think that a lot of women maybe are newer at owning their businesses and it's a huge advantage because we have the opportunity to register as women's businesses," said Randle.

      And there's more help on the way â" the Women's Small Business Development Program kicks off in February.

      "That's going to offer women's business owners to compete for federal contracts," said Atkins.

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