If you thought Veterans were only accustomed to taking orders and not giving them, you might find this surprising: nearly 14 percent of the 26 million small businesses in the United States are operated by Veterans. And later this fall, VA will inject this community with tools and resources to help them succeed.
Today, VA announced the National Veterans Small Business Conference is setting up shop at the St. Louis America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri August 6-8. For three days, Veterans either looking to start or expand their small business will attend more than 200 breakout sessions, with a focus on how to successfully compete for federal contracts. Key federal government and private sector officials will be on hand to discuss and troubleshoot contracting issues and other business issues Veterans may have experienced.
The process to get Veteran-owned businesses certified can be complex, so information sessions on how to get set up and running will be provided, along with outreach strategies to the larger Veteran community.
This conference will mark the third for Veteran business owners. When I went last year, several Veterans told me networking with other businesses was just as crucial as attending classes. Deals were made and business relationships flourished. It cannot be understated how vital Veteran-owned businesses are to the economy; they employ 1.8 million Americans and generate more than $1.6 trillion dollars in annual revenue. With this conference, hopefully we can see the needle on both numbers move a bit.