This week’s Borne the Battle – a benefits breakdown – features the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). They are an internal accountability office that protects and advocates for Veteran-owned businesses. They also work to ensure that Veteran entrepreneurs can compete and be selected for a fair amount of contract opportunities.

Air Force Veteran Michelle Gardner-Ince is the director of the Women Veteran-Owned Small Business Initiative (WVOSBI), a directorate under OSDBU at VA. Gardner-Ince is motivated to help women Veteran entrepreneurs get opportunities, access and education to achieve their business goals. Since WVOSBI’s inception in 2019, it has provided women Veterans with networking and collaborative opportunities with Federal agencies and private-sector corporations.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Gardner-Ince answers these questions and more:

  • What motivates her to help Veterans at VA?
  • What is classified as a small business?
  • What are the eligibility requirements for being certified as a Veteran-owned small business?
  • How can a Veteran-owned small business become a Certified Veteran Enterprise (CVE)?
  • How can Veteran-Owned small businesses avoid common mistakes when breaking into federal contracting?

For Veterans who need help verifying their small business, OSDBU partnered with Procurement Technical Assistant Centers (PTACS), which helps to ensure that Veteran-owned small businesses can compete successfully in the government marketplace.

Additionally, OSDBU helps Veterans understand the process of bidding on federal contracts through its Direct Access Program and Strategic Outreach and Communications office.

But before contacting OSDBU, Gardner-Ince recommends that Veterans first reach out to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Veteran Business Outreach Center for assistance.

OSDBU provides various services and programs that are ready to help Veteran-owned small businesses take the next steps to secure a federal contract. However, not enough women Veteran entrepreneurs know that these programs exist. Gardner-Ince aims to close the gap by reaching out to and helping Women Veteran-owned businesses by providing them with opportunities to understand the system and improve their business goals.


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