Veterans Advocate for Entrepreneurship Programs and Reduced Red Tape
WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Small Business heard from veteran small business owners on legislation that would assist veteran entrepreneurship.
“Today, we are asking for input on what I believe is a strong, bipartisan package of bills that we hope to mark up later this month,” said Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH). “Each of these bills has a Member of both parties as an original sponsor and cosponsor.”
Programs Show Promise; Administrative Hurdles Remain
"[The] SBA is aptly poised to verify size, ownership, and control standards [of veteran-owned small businesses]... For the veteran-owned small business industrial base to grow beyond just the Vets First program, verification must leave the confines of the VA,” said Mr. Davy Leghorn, Assistant Director, The American Legion, in Washington, DC.
“I've heard countless stories of frustration and near defeat from veteran business owners in working with the VA over the years to become CVE certified,” said Mr. Scott M. Davidson CPT USA, Ret., Managing Principal & CEO, the GCO Consulting Group, in McLean, VA. “The SBA possesses the certification system that mirrors other programs like the SBA is already administering successfully... It would only make logical sense to adopt the SBA's existing system and adapt it to the certification process for veteran businesses instead of risking significant amounts of taxpayer dollars on trying to fix a system that's broken or attempting to build one from scratch. Veteran businesses should not have to take on any additional burden or separate certification requirements that may stifle growth and strain resources.”
“Frequent moves to remote locations make it hard [for military spouses] to establish what many of us think of as a ‘real’ career. I see entrepreneurship as the secret weapon for military spouses: it’s a way to create something that can support your family, give you flexibility you need during deployments, give you the freedom to do something that you love…” said Ms. Torrance Harrington Hart, Owner, Teak & Twine, in Springfield, VA. “The Boots to Business program is vital to giving military spouses the resources, information and foundation they need to unleash the amazing possibilities of entrepreneurship.”
“I have heard the frustrations of many veteran small business owners regarding certification and contracting opportunities within the VA… However, the confusion of acquiring a verification from the VA, while being able to self-certify with the SBA is baffling. The issue is that the two agencies have different definitions and standards of control,” said Ms. Laurie Sayles, President and CEO, Civility Management Solutions, in Greenbelt, MD. “To keep it simple, the VA should do what they do for veterans, and that is care for our benefits. And the SBA should do what they do for small business owners, and that’s provide us with certifications, training, and resources.”