Grant writing, establishing a nonprofit organization, growing an established business, developing a small business strategic plan, succession planning, making decisions based on financial statements, information on lending-wills and the requirements to become a licensed contractor are some of the topics that will be discussed during the Center for Rural and Small Business Development at the Southern University Agricultural Center’s 12th annual Connecting Businesses with Contracts Procurement conference.

The event will kick off with a business-to-business networking session at 5:30 p.m. March 21 in the LaCumba Play Den of the Smith-Brown Memorial Union on Southern’s Baton Rouge campus. The conference begins at 8 a.m. March 22 in the Smith-Brown Memorial Union.

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern, Louisiana Economic Development and Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the conference provides a venue for potential and existing business owners, contractors, nonprofits, small towns and municipalities to learn about the resources available through federal, state and local government agencies and prime companies, a news release said. The conference is free, but pre-registration is required.

To register for the networking session as a participant or exhibitor, visit Exhibitors can fax a registration form to (504) 589-2339 or email no later than March 16.

On-site participant registration will be available at the conference. For information or to obtain registration forms, call Gloria London at (225) 771-4107, email, call Eual Hall at (225) 771-4105 or email