For the first time, a special summit will be held later this month on the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark to help minority, women, veteran and LGBTQ-owned businesses.

Hester Agudosi, the chief diversity officer for the state Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said the NJ Connects forum is being held “to connect the diverse businesses in the state of New Jersey with contract opportunities and information regarding public contract opportunities.”

Agudosi said almost half of all businesses in the state are diverse businesses but they get less than 10% of spending through public contracting.

She said the goal of the summit is to connect these businesses “with our private-sector partners and other states, but to connect them so that they can know how they can be a part of the state supply chain."

The summit connect the businesses with procurement representatives from state departments, agencies, authorities, colleges and hospitals.

Agudosi said that expanding business diversity increases competition, ensures competitiveness and opens to the state to greater innovation and growth.

More than 750 individuals are expected to attend the Sept. 20 summit with about 150 exhibitors from both the public and private sectors.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com