After First Home Run, Syracuse Woman Takes Second Swing At Entrepreneurship
In 1986, innovator Karen Goetz saw a business opportunity to transform the way event tickets were sold in the arts, sports and entertainment industries. Her developers created graphical seat-selection software for PCs, unimagined at the beginning of the PC revolution during the 1980s. Goetz’s startup company was the first to the marketplace with a color-coded, interactive seating chart that made selling tickets not only user friendly for the entertainment venues that were her customers, but also able to capture important data on who their customers were who were buying tickets. TicketsLive grew rapidly from three employees to 125 in five countries.
In 1995, Goetz and her team foresaw the growth of the Internet as a marketplace, and began transforming the company from solely a provider of computerized box office ticketing systems to one of the most advanced Internet ticketing companies and networks in the world, with a base of 150 million tickets available for sale on the Internet from customers in the U.S. and four international subsidiaries. In 1996, TicketsLive was the first company in the world to sell tickets, live, over the Internet, demonstrated at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y. After building TicketsLive from the ground up for 13 years, Goetz sold the successful company to a competitor in 1999 and planned to savor an early retirement. But walking away from entrepreneurship wasn’t as easy as she expected.
“When you’ve been working to build a business and traveling all over the world, to just sit at home was not what I wanted to do after all. I love running businesses for two reasons: I love figuring out solutions that really help our customers and I love seeing my employees grow,” she says.
> Read more about Karen's success story
SBA and President Innovation Fellows launched RFP-EZ in January, a new online marketplace that streamlines the government contracting process, making it simpler for small businesses to find and bid on low-dollar contracts from federal agencies.
The new program allows the government to source low-cost, high-impact solutions from innovative tech companies. A limited number of low-dollar contracts through RFP-EZ are now available at http://rfpez.sba.gov. If successful, the pilot will be expanded to include more contracts for a more diverse group of innovative startups.
“The federal government gets access to the most innovative startups, helping us lower costs and get more bang for the dollars we spend,” said Sean Greene, SBA’s Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation. “The small businesses get access to the largest customer in the world. It’s a win-win.”
The government procurement process can be complicated and intimidating. RFP-EZ represents a unique opportunity for innovative startups to easily access the federal government marketplace and, in turn, help fuel job growth throughout the country. RFP-EZ also will enable the federal government to secure better and less expensive products and services, saving taxpayer dollars and improving results delivered.
The streamlined process helps save significant amounts of time for all types of business, especially high-growth startups. By simply creating a company profile on the beta site, each small business can search and bid for contracts relevant to its skill set. A small business can easily search for an opportunity, see a statement of work, and bid all within the RFP-EZ web interface.