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By Debbie Gregory.

Just because your company does not contract directly with the government does not mean you lose out on the opportunity. Large companies who are hired as the prime contractors more often than not use smaller companies as subcontractors to provide the services they don’t already have in place.

In order to make sure you are in a position to accept a subcontractor opportunities, here are some thing you should prepare in advance:

Have knowledge of your business’s processes, resources, staff and capital. The government is notorious for requiring a lot of paperwork, so having this information at the ready will give you the opportunity to jump in to the process quickly.

The companies working on government contracts also have diversity requirements to fulfill, so if you are a veteran owned business, a woman owned business, a minority owned business, etc., make sure you have the appropriate certification.

Keep current on what contracting/subcontracting opportunities are available. In addition to online sites that specialize in these searches, sign up for VAMBOA membership and you will receive emails whenever we receive requests for proposals from our corporate sponsors.

Reach out to the person in charge of the project to see if you can pre-qualify your services. There’s no point in filling out the paperwork and going through the application process if they require something you can’t comply with.

Speaking of paperwork, it is imperative to provide all information requested, whether it makes sense to you or not. Try to keep all information concise and to the point, and submit it as early as you can. This will give you some leeway to correct any errors or answer any questions prior to the deadline.

Hopefully, you have already reached out to the project manager before submitting your application, so a quick communication to check on the status of your bid helps to further build that relationship. It will also help you receive a status update.

If you don’t win the bid, your contact can possibly help you understand why. Rather than focusing on the defeat, think of it as an opportunity to better prepare for the next opportunity.

If you won, now’s the time to get busy and ramp up. Make sure everything is in place for you to deliver on your promise of performance.

vetowned

By Paul Mara

According to the Office of Advocacy for the U.S. Small Business Administration in their publication, Veteran-owned Businesses and their Owners, data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, Military Veterans are a driving force in our national economy. The census estimated that in 2007:

  • There were 2.45 million businesses with majority ownership by veterans
  • These veteran-owned firms had sales/receipts of $1.220 trillion, 5.793 million employees, and an annual payroll of $210 billion

The vast majority of military veterans business are small businesses. In 2007, for veteran owned firms:

  • More than half (53.4 percent) had from one to four employees
  • Businesses with fewer than ten employees accounted for 80.4 percent of firms
  • Those with fewer than twenty employees accounted for 90.2 percent
  • Businesses with twenty or more employees accounted for 9.8 percent of all firms
  • Those with fifty or more employees accounted for only 3.6 percent

VAMBOA is committed to the success of these military veteran business owners, and does so by working with corporations to meet their military veteran supplier diversity goals, as well as their hiring initiatives for veterans. VAMBOA is also in the process of creating local infrastructures around the country to provide one-stop, turnkey resource/referral communities; the goal of which is the overall success of these veteran owned businesses.

VAMBOA is a California based 501 (c) 6 non-profit trade association, established in 2010, with a nationwide membership of over 6,000 Veteran & Service Disabled Veteran Business Owners.  Along with our sister site (www.MilitaryConnection.com), we have over 524,000 combined followers (and growing!) on Twitter and Facebook.   VAMBOA is quickly becoming the Go-To-Trade Association for Veteran and Military Business Owners, and those who want to support them.

For information about corporate sponsorship and local associate memberships, contact Mr. Paul F. Mara, Director of Development at paulmara@vamboa.org or 612-889-5887.

 

business ownerBy Debbie Gregory.

Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions, and completing a series of legal activities. But for many Veterans, transitioning from service member to CEO may be a more natural path than they might have imagined.

Most experts agree that the two biggest components for Veterans preparing to start their own businesses are choosing the right kind of business for them, and securing capital. They also recommended that aspiring business owners take time to think about where their passion lies.

VetFran Manager George Eldridge encourages Veterans interested in business ownership to do their research and examine all possibilities.

“In the military you think, ‘I can’t fail,’ but sometimes you have to think about the risks you’re getting into and have a balanced expectation when getting into something like this,” he said.

Veterans who are considering franchise ownership may want to start by surfing VetFran’s website. With more than 100 different franchise industries to peruse, there is something for every interest. The most popular franchises are in the food industry, followed by hospitality, home-based businesses, child care and pet care.

Although VetFran does not offer funding, it connects Veterans with funding assistance by working closely with the SBA and lenders within its supplier group.

The SBA offers a checklist for Veterans interested in starting a business. It suggests starting with a business plan, which is like a roadmap to determine your starting point, where you are going, and how to arrive at success through proper planning, preparation and management. The checklist also covers things like licenses, tax ID numbers, taxes, finance, location, etc.

Financing opportunities are plentiful for Veterans. The SBA, through its 68 field offices around the U.S. and 1,000 resource partners, has Veterans Business Outreach Centers around the country offering information on how to gain access to capital.

For Veteran-specific programs, the SBA helps businesses obtain reduced loan fees for any loan under $350,000.

Leveraging Information and Networks to Access Capital (LINC) is an online tool that connects loan seekers and lenders. By answering just a few questions, applicants can reach out to lenders all over the country.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Ready to Start Your Own Business?: By Debbie Gregory

The Bunker Austin

In the fall of 2014,  The Bunker, a business incubator conceived to house Veteran-owned technology companies, launched in Chicago. In December, 2014, the Bunker Austin branch opened, and will be headquartered out of the Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Bunker Austin was championed by Veteran Entrepreneur Joseph Kopser. Kopser, a West Point graduate and a twenty year Army Veteran, co-founded the transportation app RideScout with fellow Army Veteran Craig Cummings in 2011. The two raised approximately $2.5 million in funding for their company, and employed 16 people before selling their app for an undisclosed amount. The duo of Veteran entrepreneurs credit the help they received through The Bunker Chicago, as a major contribution to their success.

The Bunker Austin is designed to be a one-stop hub for Veterans to access all of the resources available to them in and around Austin. Veteran-led startup companies will have access to mentorship and a network of veteran entrepreneurs, as well as assistance with finding venture capital. The first program runs from January 21st through July.

Kopser and Cummings also put up $70,000 of their own money for the Student Veteran Entrepreneurship Endowment they established in November. The endowment will be named the Pippin Award, after retired Command Sergeant Major James D. Pippin, whom Kopser served with.  The first Pippin Award will be presented to the most promising startup in the Texas Venture Labs, where The Bunker Austin is housed. The first Pippin Award is expected to be a $2,000 endowment, and is intended to augment funding available to provide for the education of Veteran entrepreneurs through the GI Bill.

The Bunker is looking to expand to six other cities this year, including: Los Angeles, Tacoma, Colorado Springs, Kansas City, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. The Bunker is also seeking and accepting additional corporate sponsorships, as well as private funding, to pay for its programs.

If you would like more information about the Austin Technology incubator, please visit: http://ati.utexas.edu/

If you would like more information about resources available through The Bunker Austin or how to donate to or sponsor to the program, please visit www.thebunkeraustin.com/

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business CoachingContracting Opportunities, aBlog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans.Join Now!

VAMBOA: The Bunker Austin and the Austin Technology Incubator: By Debbie Gregory

EBV

Today, many Veterans are struggling to transition into corporate jobs, even as their own bosses. Many lack the specific business skills and confidence needed to succeed in this new environment. But why do these men and women, who thrived in uniform, consistently continue to struggle after separating from the military?

To answer to this question, Veterans should think back to the start of their military careers. Did they enter their branch of service automatically able to find success? Of course, the answer is no. Service members had to spend time learning the fundamentals of how to do their jobs, so that they would be capable of working and leading in their military occupation. And before that, they were sent on a crash-course, called Basic Training or Boot Camp.

Can anyone who served ever fathom beginning their military career without going to basic training first? That would be ludicrous. How would anyone expect to know about the basics of military life without going to boot camp first? In the same vein, Veterans can’t be expected to spontaneously know all they need to know in order to be successful in civilian careers and entrepreneurial ventures? But in reality, too many Veterans attempt to do so.

The good news is that there are programs, such as the one through the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) Foundation to assist them. The EBV program is designed to open the door to economic opportunity for Veterans and their families. This is done by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. EBV is basic training for Veterans looking to start their own companies, but who need to learn the fundamentals of business and business ownership first.

Veterans who graduate from EBV leave with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to start their post-military careers as businessowners. The program also offers graduates grant funding and a support system to better ensure success. EBV is free to all Veterans with a disability rating from the VA. To see all eligibility requirements and apply for an EBV program near you, please visit www.ebvfoundation.org

If you are interested in becoming an EBV mentor, donating to the program, or otherwise supporting EBV or Veteran businesses, please get involved here.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Why You Need Bootcamp: By Debbie Gregory

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