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Calling all Women Owned Businesses

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Announcement from IBM Small Business Program Office


Are you a Women Owned Small Business looking to network? If so, you have TWO big opportunities to network with IBM and many other large businesses and federal agencies. The US Women’s Chamber of Commerce is hosting its spring summit March16-17th, The Women as Veteran’s Entrepreneurs (WAVE) hosts its 6th Annual Summit March 17th,

Veterans Small Business Workshop, February 23-24

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The American Legion is conducting a two-day Veterans Small Business Workshop in conjunction with the annual Washington Conference, Feb. 23-24. The free workshop, called ‘Small Business Roadmap to Success’, is geared toward servicemembers, veterans and spouses who own their own businesses or are thinking about starting one. Upon completion of the course, participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify solid business opportunities, avoid common pitfalls and maximize their earning potential. Register for the workshop at


By Debbie Gregory.

For many veterans, entrepreneurship has proven to be a viable next career path as the experience, discipline, and work ethic learned in the military provides a competitive edge for starting a business.

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is currently accepting applications for the pilot program, which will launch its first phase in March. The statewide initiative offers qualified veterans the opportunity to receive an accelerated entrepreneurship education at no cost.

Veterans Florida, a non-profit created by the Florida Legislature to attract and retain veterans, selected the University of West Florida, through its Florida SBDC Network and Military Veterans Resource Center, to administer the program.

In order to meet the program requirements, veterans must have been either honorably discharged, current National Guardsmen or Reservists, or active duty within one year of separation.  Also required is Florida residency, and of course, a strong interest in entrepreneurship.

The first phase of the program consists of an eight-week online class,which will provide participants with a strong business foundation.

The next phase consists of six days (over three consecutive weekends) of on-site training at one of the five participating institutions of higher education: The University of West Florida, University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Atlantic University, and Hillsborough Community College. All travel expenses will be covered for participants.

The final phase of the program consists of six-months of ongoing mentorship with Florida SBDC Network business consultants.

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is funded through a $1 million appropriation by the Florida Legislature.

“Veterans possess many of the skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs,” said Bobby Carbonell, Executive Director of Veterans Florida. “The technical and financial skills provided from this program, along with the motivation, confidence, attention to detail and problem solving skills they bring, will ensure veterans achieve their vision of the American Dream, owning their own business.”

Space is limited. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2016. For more information, and to apply, please visit


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Florida-based woman, veteran and minority small business owners in the panhandle are invited to the Supplier Diversity Exchange.

This FREE event offers training, workshops and presentations by professionals from the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, local Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) business owners, as well as representatives from state, local and regional government entities.

Topics, presented by various experts, will include:

  • Certification documentation review
  • Loans for your small business
  • federal small business certifications for woman, veterans and minorities
  • Best practices of a CBE to win government work
  • How certified state vendors can get more from state resources
  • And much more

Previously known as the OSD MatchMaker events, the Supplier Diversity Exchange offers a full day of networking, customized training and presentations. The afternoon will offer the opportunity for small business owners and purchasing representatives from state, local and regional government entities to meet one-on-one – following a customized introduction session for all attendees.

The event will run from 8 a.m. through 4:15 p.m. on February 11, 2016.

Procurement representatives, please register before Feb. 8 and check in at the event no later than 1 p.m. The registration process will ask about carpool interest.

Come experience a new kind of networking event from OSD!

Registration closes at midnight on Feb. 8.

The one-on-one appointment forms will only be available for those agencies registered online before registration is closed.

Please visit the Office of Supplier Diversity website for more information. For questions, please contact our office in Tallahassee at 850-487-0915.

Veterans Launching Ventures

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The Veterans Launching Ventures (VLV) program provides the skills and support that veterans need in order to seize entrepreneurial opportunities and launch small businesses if they so choose. It is offered by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s nationally ranked Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. One of its advantages over other veteran programs is that VLV veterans are each matched with a mentor who will assist and guide them for a period of 10 months following the completion of the 10-week course.

This unique program combines in-person instruction with online education to teach students the fundamental entrepreneurial skills required in today’s business environment, as well as the competencies needed to launch a new business. Particular emphasis is placed on developing a robust marketing plan as well as a realistic business plan to help the veteran make an informed decision to start a business or assist and prepare the student for the general business environment.   A team of experienced faculty and successful entrepreneurs will work with the veterans, providing an interactive and informative experience. Over a 10-week period, they will introduce entrepreneurship ideas and concepts, and show how to apply them to potential business opportunities.

This certificate course will be taught at an undergraduate level and includes three workshops. Following a half-day introductory workshop and a lunch reception, the program will be taught online and facilitated by FDU instructors. The second workshop will take place at week 5 during which all students will present their marketing plans to the instructors and other students. The online instruction continues for 3 more weeks during which the focus is on developing a business plan. Week 9 allows the students to finalize their presentations with the assistance of instructors by phone and mentors by phone or in person (by week 9 each student will have been assigned a mentor to work with the student). The third workshop will take place in week 10 during which there will be in-person, individual final presentations by the students to the panel (which includes the student’s mentor), feedback, and “next steps” planning.

The graduation and reception will take place at the end of the presentations on the final day; it will include the instructors, guest speakers, business leaders, and mentors. Included in the program is a complimentary admission to a full year of the Rothman Institute’s popular entrepreneurship and innovation events (a $900 value).

The program is free and open to all veterans as well as their spouses and/or children. The cost of the program is being fully supported by the generous support from The Walmart Foundation, TD Bank, Bank of America, American Legion Post 43, and Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business. A refundable deposit of $175 will be required of veterans who participate in the program.   This deposit will be secured by credit card or check, and will be returned to the veterans who successfully complete the course. The next in-person class begins on March 31st, 2016 in Madison, NJ. A strictly online version will also be available for veterans this coming spring. For additional information visit: