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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee is helping the state’s small businesses take best advantage of the information superhighway.

T.C. Parsons, executive director of the UT Center for Industrial Services, said a Nov. 8-9 conference in Nashville will help businesses realize they don’t have to be large to take advantage of electronic commerce.

“We have an obligation to help keep small businesses up-to-date on constantly advancing telecommunications and computer technology and to provide new options for service and manufacturing industries,” Parsons said.

“Business transactions through the electronic sources such as the Internet are an option we want to see Tennessee small businesses explore to the fullest.”

Parsons said the conference will highlight the most current information on doing business with federal agencies and large contractors on the Internet and other modes of electronic commerce.

Attendees will be able to meet government purchasing agents and contractors who will be exhibiting displays, Parsons said. Exhibitors include telecommunications and aerospace technology firms such as Bell South and Lockheed Martin, he said.

The keynote speaker is Sherry Cummings, who founded a management and employee training firm for government contractors such as General Electric and who developed a chain of bed and breakfast facilities in Middle Tennessee.

Cummings, past president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, will offer tips on doing business with prime contractors and government agencies.

Other conference topics include financing for small businesses, environmental trends, international trade, strategic management and small business innovation and research.

Joining CIS in conducting the conference are the Small Business Administration and the General Services Administration. “We are interested in seeing that Tennessee small businesses take advantage of the growing foreign markets around the world,” said Clint Smith, acting SBA district director. “This conference will help give them that opportunity.”

Persons interested in attending the conference may call CIS at (615) 532-8657 or SBA at (615) 736-5881.

Contact: Terrye Whitaker (423-974-3018)