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By Debbie Gregory.

The System for Award Management (SAM) is an official website of the U.S. government, and there is no cost to use SAM. You can use this site to:

  • Register to do business with the U.S. government
  • Update or renew your entity registration
  • Check status of an entity registration
  • Search for entity registration and exclusion records

However, there are system-wide changes that you need to be aware of if you’re logging in to SAM online for the first since June 29, 2018.

First of all, if you don’t already have one, you’ll be asked to create a login.gov user account. Login.gov is a service that offers secure and private online access to government programs, such as federal benefits, services, applications, and SAM.gov. If you do have an account, you’ll be asked to change your current username and password, as previous ones will no longer work.

If you have a login.gov account, check the email address.

If you already have a login.gov account, the associated email address must match the email address associated with your SAM.gov account in order to migrate your roles. If the email addresses don’t match, you’ll need to create a new login.gov account.

If you don’t have a login.gov account, enter an email address. Use the same email address you use for SAM.gov. If you don’t currently have a SAM.gov account (are a brand new user, for example), you may use any email address you have access to.

Create a new password.

Pick if you want to receive your one-time security code for authentication via mobile phone, landline, or an app installed on your mobile phone or  computer. Each time you want to log in, you will be required to enter your login.gov email address, password, and the one-time security code that you receive.

By Debbie Gregory.

Beginning in boot camp, servicemembers learn how to navigate unknown terrain and make things happen with limited time and resources. The transition from military service to entrepreneur is a path that many veterans take. In fact, nearly 10 percent of U.S. small businesses (approximately 2.4 million) are veteran-owned and employ about 5.8 million individuals.

Veteran-owned small businesses contribute approximately $1.4 trillion to the nation’s total sales/receipts per year. But military and veteran entrepreneurs face many of the same challenges as their civilian counterparts run into: funding, financial management, regulation and compliance, and marketing strategy.

Linda McMahon, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), is a rock star who is currently on the Ignite Tour. No, it’s not a musical event, but rather a spreading of awareness of the SBA’s programs and services that assist veteran entrepreneurs.

One of McMahon’s missions is letting veterans and active-duty servicemembers know that aside from loans, the SBA offers a variety of mentoring and network opportunities, with more than 20 specialized veteran outreach centers and a numerous training programs.

At the veteran outreach centers, veterans can access business plan workshops, concept assessments, mentorship, and training.

Aptly named Boots to Business, one SBA program is part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and is offered at participating military installations and online. The program works with veterans (and their spouses) as they prepare to leave the military and transition into the private workforce.  Last year alone, about 17,000 people went through the program

As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. For more information the SBA’s veteran programs, go to www.sba.gov.

Understanding Set-Asides

By Debbie Gregory.

Every year, the federal government spends approximately $500 billion on goods and services. In order to keep a level playing field, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has worked with federal agencies to ensure that at least 23 percent of all prime government contracts are awarded to small businesses. These are called “set-asides.”

In addition to the 23 percent for small businesses, statutory goals established by Congress for federal executive agencies are:

  • 5 percent for women-owned small businesses
  • 5 percent for Small Disadvantaged Businesses
  • 3 percent for HUBZone small businesses
  • 3 percent for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses

There are two kinds of set-aside contracts: competitive set-asides and sole-source set-asides.

According to the SBA, in competitive set-asides, when at least two small businesses could perform the work or provide the products being purchased, the government sets aside the contract exclusively for small businesses. With few exceptions, this happens automatically for all government contracts under $150,000.

Sole-source contracts are a kind of contract that can be issued without a competitive bidding process. This usually happens in situations where only a single business can fulfill the requirements of a contract.

Veterans are uniquely qualified to secure government contracts due to the skills and experience inherit from their career in the military. The federal government tries to award at least three percent of annual federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

Working with veteran owned businesses have additional advantages: many of their owners already have the necessary security clearances often required for government contracts. They also have knowledge of the inner workings of government.

The certification process varies depending on the SBA contracting program. For some, you can self-certify just by updating your business profile in the System for Award Management (SAM) at http:www.sam.gov.

For other programs, you have to apply for certification. As part of the application, you’ll answer questions about your business and its ownership, and upload supporting documents.

 

The University of West Florida’s Military & Veterans Resource Center, in Partnership

with Veterans Florida, is conducting no-cost Entrepreneurial Workshops for Honorably

Discharged Veterans — Workshops that can lead to participating in a Business Plan

Competition where the three top Winners share $40,000 in Cash and In-Kind Services.

If you are interested in launching a Startup or growing your existing business, the next

Workshop is Saturday, October 28, from 9 a.m. until Noon at the Pensacola UWF Conference

Center.  Breakfast and snacks will be served, and participants have the opportunity to win Door Prizes as well.

The Topic is “Veterans – Don’t Be a Bean Counter — Learn the Secrets of Painless Accounting!”

For MORE INFORMATION please see:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/veterans-dont-bean-counter-learn-secrets-painless-robert-l-foster/

For REGISTRATION AND MORE INFORMATION please see:

http://www.veteransflorida.org/veterans/veterans-florida-entrepreneurship-program/


According to the most recent census data, there are 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. Veteran entrepreneurs contribute to the economy through their businesses and their willingness to hire veterans.
There are a number of funding resources available to veterans in order to get their business off the ground, or expand an existing business.
• The Office of Veterans Business Development, through the Small Business Administration (SBA) supports new and existing veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses. The program offers a variety of training and financial services. The SBA Veterans Advantage Guaranteed Loans program offers loans of $150,000 or less with no guaranty fee. Larger loans carry a low guarantee fee. SBA Express Loans have no upfront borrower fee for eligible veterans and military spouses on loans up to $35,000. Leveraging Information and Networks to Access Capital matches businesses with SBA-approved non-profit lenders. The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA’s most common loan program, and includes financial help for businesses with special requirements.
• The Department of Veteran Affairs is a great starting point when looking for financing, and has created the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP), which can help you quickly identify financing resources for your business.
• The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan provide funds to eligible small businesses to meet necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to meet, because an owner/essential employee was “called-up” to active duty.
• The USDA Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant, run by the Department of Agriculture, aims to bring traditionally underserved people into farming through training and technical and financial assistance.
• The VetFran(R) program is designed to help veterans start their own business. While these aren’t traditional business loans for veterans, the program offers financial incentive for veterans to launch a franchise.
In addition to lending resources, don’t discount the value of networking resources. Who better to share advice than those who have walked the path before you?
• American Corporate Partners links veteran entrepreneurs with successful businesspeople for training and mentorship.
• National Veteran-Owned Business Association presents you with a great networking opportunity and the chance to learn much more about running a business.
• SCORE Foundation Veteran Fast Launch Initiative offers advertising, marketing and business mentoring, all at no cost.

• Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families provides entrepreneurial training. Their Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans program is free for post-9/11 veterans.
• Veterans Business Resource Center provides business consulting and mentoring.
• Veterans Business Services can assist in obtaining capital for your business.

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