WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, on Friday applauded the first meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development, an initiative she introduced in 2007 as part of the Veterans Small Business Opportunity Act of 2007 (S. 904), which was included in the Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law on February 14th, 2008 (P.L. 110-186).

“Our nation is forever indebted to our veterans and when they return home we should do everything we can to provide the most beneficial services and resources possible,” said Senator Snowe.  “During these trying economic times, assistance to our veteran entrepreneurs, who in 2007 owned 2.4 million businesses that generated $1.2 trillion, is particularly beneficial to both our veterans and to our economy at large."

In 2007, Senator Snowe expressed her frustration with the Federal government’s failure to satisfy its three percent contracting goal for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses; share information internally to facilitate achievement of this goal; and coordinate efforts to make service members and veterans aware of the Federal resources available to them.  To rectify these programmatic shortcomings, Senator Snowe introduced the Veterans Small Business Opportunity Act which– among other things – provided for the creation of a Task Force whose objectives would be to improve access to capital; ensure the achievement of the Federal contracting goals; increase the integrity of certifications as a veteran-owned, or service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses; reduce paperwork and administrative burdens; and increase and improve training and counseling services.

“I am pleased that after three years of fighting to form this Task Force, it can now begin making headway on initiatives to benefit our nation’s veteran and service member entrepreneurs,” Senator Snowe added.  “I have high expectations that members of this Task Force, including a number of veterans, will achieve the lofty goals before them.”