For the seventh year, VA hosted the National Veterans Small Business Engagement, the largest procurement event for the Veteran small business community. The event was held from Dec. 5–7 in St. Louis, Missouri.
The engagement is VA’s signature event where Veteran-owned and other small businesses have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with government and commercial acquisitions professionals during three full days of learning, networking, and matchmaking sessions as well as plenary luncheons, executive round tables and other scheduled activities.
“Running these activities for such a large group of people is not an easy feat, but we were able to pull it off and keep 1,835 attending [Veteran-owned small businesses] happy and satisfied with their participation in each activity,” said Thomas J. Leney, the executive director for VA Small and Veteran Business Programs.
Connections made during the engagement allow Veterans to connect with the right individuals to help them capitalize on opportunities for contract awards and subcontracting opportunities. Contracts can actually be awarded to procurement-ready Veteran-owned small businesses through connections made at the event. Veteran business owners also network among themselves and discover potential teaming partnerships that can help each other or combine their resources to go after larger contracts .
The event is also valuable to VA buyers as they engage with a large number of Veteran businesses in a short period of time which ultimately allows them not only the opportunity to find the right supplier but also assists them in meeting VA socioeconomic goals.
VA’s National Veterans Small Business Engagement event can be a golden opportunity to network, engage, and be a part of something great. Information about the 2018 event will be available soon. To learn more about VA Small and Veteran Business Programs at www.va.gov/osdbu.
About the author: Kathleen E. Wilson is a contractor with the VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). She serves as communications team lead offering integrated marketing communications management for campaign planning, graphics design, messaging, social media and website development.