You might start by asking yourself, "What is it that I look for that is not available locally?" Talk with business owners and ask what products or services they have problems acquiring and what would they be looking for specifically if there was a local supplier. Talk to your peers, parents and others and ask if there are things that they would like to get locally.
As you do this, you might also start building relationships locally by asking vendors you use how they market locally. Are there perhaps ways that you might help them market their products or services. Can you work out a deal for business you might bring in to them?
I started my business after I retired so I knew a lot about the nature and problems of my industry. I went to purchasing people and basically told them that I didn't want to take away anyone's existing business, wasn't interested in competing strictly on price, but was definitely interested in products they simply could not get, needed updating or were of quantities too small for large manufacturers to be interested in.
Personally, I get a lot of satisfaction putting the deals together, solving problems and of course making a bit of money. The range of products we have supplied and/or manufactured is quite expansive ( office products to very complicated electronics). We've developed replacement products, updated technology on others and found suppliers that we could represent to satisfy the needs of others. It's challenging and sometimes quite profitable. You will have to be willing to talk with people, listen effectively and be willing to be creative.
There is also a movement of sorts to "buy locally". You may be able to capitalize on that especially as you become more familiar with your locally vendors and suppliers. You may also find there may be ways that you could make someones product better. The possibilities are endless.
Does any of this work? One of our first efforts was with a large company who had there purchasing department. I went in and asked to chat with one of their representatives. I gave my speech and was given an opportunity to try and supply three different products. One was a ventilation grill cover that was no longer manufactured (the company had gone out of business) - I found a local sheet metal shop that was very willing to supply these. They were very expensive to manufacture and I priced them accordingly.
There was another company that wanted an electronic component updated as the original piece was failing regularly. I had a friend in the electronics business who could build it if I could get it designed. I found a friend of a friend who was an electronic engineer. He was willing to try redesigning the piece using the latest technology. Ten years later, we're still providing this product and we have given each other business over the years. Who knew?
It is not easy, it takes a lot of courage to call on companies you don't know, it takes time and research but if you like doing this sort of thing its fun too! I hope this helps. In your area I think you'll find companies receptive if you approach them appropriately. A lot of the people you'll be approaching may once have had to do the same thing. When people ask me what you sell.....I reply, "What do you need?"