On November 11, 1918, the Great War ended. A year later, Armistice Day celebrated the end of that war. Then in 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance. Several years later, the United States celebrated its first National Veteran’s Day on November 11, 1938. To honor this day of remembrance and our service members we wanted to highlight Veteran-Owned businesses in this month’s PTAC update.
Some of our military women and men elect to start a business. One way to grow and expand their business is to sell to the government whether at the federal, state or local (county, city, universities, etc.) level. Besides growing or expanding, why would a veteran-owned business sell to a government agency?
Veteran Victoria Volk, owner of The Unleashed Heart, LLC shares her why. In her own words: “As a veteran, who became very acquainted with grief as a child, I understand the impact grief has over one’s lifetime, and how deployment adds another layer of grief to a soldier’s life. There is a lot of talk about suicide prevention within the military; however, very little mention of grief. I had tried several avenues to get an evidence-proven method for processing grief accepted as a therapeutic option for soldiers and veterans into the military community with no luck. The resistance I was met with is what drove me to seek out government and federal contracts as a means of working through other channels to provide this program at no cost to soldiers and veterans, while also sustaining and growing my business.” Visit her website for more information about her business.
“One of the perceived benefits to being a veteran is to have a unique opportunity to sell to the government as a benefit for your service. Our product is not a reach for its perceived value or sales proposition, there are millions upon millions of doors in our society, and in-service in all dwellings, the government is no different. We are very excited about the prospect of a future partnership for both parties. I am interested in the opportunity to sell our products to the government in any and or all ways possible,” stated Veteran Jim Newenhouse, Founder and CEO, of the Door Stud, LLC as his why of selling to the government agencies. At Door Stud, “We have a maintenance and installation product for handling doors that help prevent injury, it can be used for maintenance and or installation, or simply just material handling. We have yet to be recognized as we are going through the veteran certification process as a business.”
There are many reasons why a veteran chooses to operate a business and sell to the government. My Aquatic Services veteran owner and president, Troy Derheim, is about giving back. “We love the idea of helping more people. I have been in the retail and service business for almost 30 years. The business is rewarding but the impact is smaller and not as rewarding. We started helping small communities about 14 years ago, it is a completely different sense of accomplishment when you are able to change the lives of a community rather than one family. Don’t get me wrong, we love the results of seeing a family use their personal pool for the first time, or share a story about how a hot tub changed the family communication and memories. We want to make a bigger impact on society, entering government contracting enables us to make a dramatic impact on a community as a whole. We can see the community benefit for years to come helping children, families, the elderly, disabled, as well as veterans in need. An aquatic facility may be the only resource a community can afford that can benefit every single member of that community. Water saves lives, brings families together, and creates lifelong memories that can never be taken away. We want to be a government contractor that impacts 1000’s families a year, not just the select few who can afford a private aquatic solution in their personal back yard.”
Veteran-owned small businesses can be verified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Check if your business is eligible to be verified on their website or on the Small Business Administration’s “Veteran Assistance Programs” page. Why would you want to be verified by the VA? Because federal agencies set aside solicitations for verified and self-certified veteran-owned businesses.
If you are a business-owning veteran or know a veteran small business owner, there are resources available to support the business. Your first stop should be the Veterans Affairs Business website, , plus a few more resources below:
- Vendor Information: Search to find verified veteran-owned businesses near the bottom of the VIP page of the VA’s website.
- The VA’s Direct Access Program (DAP) offers unique opportunities for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) to build partnerships, maximize networking, and gain access to Procurement Decision Makers (PDMs) through structured, screened, and periodic events. Examples of activities that may occur at a DAP event include Business Opportunity Sessions (BOS), Networking Roundtables (NRT), and education sessions.
- Woman Veteran-Owned Small Business Initiative (WVOSBI) “is committed to fostering diversity and promoting minority and women Veterans in business. WVOSBI works to enable women Veterans by connecting them to networking and collaborative opportunities with Federal agencies, commercial, non-profits, and educational entities. Executive Order (EO) 13985 will also help OSDBU to reach its goal of increasing WVOSBs participation as prime vendors to a level of at least 5%.”
- Veteran Business Outreach Center of the Dakotas (VBOC) assists veterans with their business and connects them to resources.
- Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) “offers training programs at no charge to participants for Veteran-owned businesses seeking to enter or expand their business into the federal market, to increase their ability to win government contracts, or to enter and/or expand their federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas.”
BONUS: Join ND PTAC’s Monthly Tri-State Webinar on ‘Doing Business with the VA and Veteran Verification’ at 9 am CDT, November 2, 2021. Register today! PLUS, a webinar on ‘Surplus Personal Property for Veteran-Owned Small Business Programs’ at 9 am CDT, November 3, 2021. Register today!
As always, if you are not sure where to start or how to get organized, connect with the North Dakota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (ND PTAC). Our services are at no cost to businesses based in the state of North Dakota. Register to schedule an appointment. Additionally, take advantage of the many training opportunities and events listed on the ND PTAC website.
Not from North Dakota? Find your closest PTAC on the APTAC website and then click on your state.