WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, today introduced the Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program Act — legislation that helps veteran small business owners increase their likelihood of receiving federal contracts. To be awarded the grant, an eligible nonprofit must have a history of providing educational and job training services to veterans, have a diverse group of professional service experts and private sector industry experts to provide instruction, and may be required to match any federal funds provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
“Through this legislation, we will empower more veterans with the tools they need to become small business government contractors. I recently sat down with veterans at a small business roundtable in Frederick, Maryland and heard about the challenges they face to efficiently and effectively do business with the federal government. This bill addresses some of their concerns while setting us on a path to continue supporting them in their journey to serve the communities they love,” said Chair Cardin. “We are forever indebted to our veterans for their immeasurable sacrifices and believe this program will aid them on achieving their entrepreneurial goals.”
The Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program will add another layer of service to SBA’s veteran small business support. SBA operates a number of programs aimed at helping veteran small business owners become successful government contractors, including the VetCert, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and Surplus Personal Property for Veteran-Owned Small Business programs. In addition, SBA operates 22 Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) that implements the Boots to Business program as part of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Transition Assistance Program (TAP). In Fiscal Year 2022, SBA provided counseling and training to more than 58,500 veteran small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Bringing SBA resources to Maryland has long been a top priority for Chair Cardin. In 2021, Maryland’s first Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) opened at the University of Maryland and joined the Small Business Development Center operated by the university. The VBOC program is a national network of twenty-two locations around the country serving as a one-stop shop for transitioning or active duty service members, veterans, National Guard or reserves, and military spouses. VBOCs provide the Boots to Business transition assistance program as well as business training and workshops, mentoring, government contracts guidance, and resource referrals.