In a recent move to support veteran small business owners, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, has introduced a bill to establish the Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program. This initiative seeks to improve veterans’ chances of securing federal contracts, further solidifying the government’s commitment to supporting veterans in their entrepreneurial journeys.
Under the proposed legislation, eligible non-profit organizations could be granted funding if they have a history of providing veterans with educational and job training services and can offer a diverse pool of professional and industry experts for instruction. The bill stipulates that these non-profits may be required to match any federal funds provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Chair Cardin emphasized that the bill’s introduction follows his conversations with veterans at a small business roundtable in Frederick, Maryland. The discussion highlighted veterans’ challenges when seeking to efficiently and effectively conduct business with the federal government. Cardin sees the proposed legislation as an answer to these concerns, stating, “We are forever indebted to our veterans for their immeasurable sacrifices and believe this program will aid them in achieving their entrepreneurial goals.”
The proposed program seeks to add another support layer to the SBA’s existing initiatives for veteran small business owners. The SBA already operates several programs, including VetCert, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and Surplus Personal Property for Veteran-Owned Small Business programs. Furthermore, the SBA oversees 22 Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) nationwide, including one launched at the University of Maryland in 2021.
These VBOCs, strategically located across the country, serve as one-stop shops for transitioning or active-duty service members, veterans, National Guard or reserve members, and military spouses. They offer transition assistance programs like Boots to Business, business training and workshops, mentoring, government contract guidance, and resource referrals.
Senator Cardin’s legislation underscores a continued commitment to supporting veteran entrepreneurs at both federal and state levels. The proposed bill could become a significant step in creating more opportunities for veteran small business owners, ensuring their sacrifices are acknowledged and their entrepreneurial goals are facilitated.
In the 2022 fiscal year alone, the SBA provided counseling and training to more than 58,500 veteran small business owners and entrepreneurs. If passed, Cardin’s new legislation could potentially bolster this number, ushering in a new era of support and resources for the brave men and women who have served their country and are now poised to contribute to its economic growth.
Small Business Deals
The proposed legislation reminds veteran small business owners to stay updated on new developments, seek out available resources, and leverage the support designed to help them succeed in their business endeavors.