By Peter S. Gaytan
Weak policies, rules, and agencies which are supposed to help veteran-owned businesses secure Federal contracts aren’t up to the job. The VA Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) is too small and ineffective to be of any significant help. Veterans need better small business advocates and more outreach events that will help a small business navigate the complex system of being eligible to compete for government contracts.
CVE is designed to offer technical training and assistance. It is supposed to have a database of veteran-owned small businesses. But the office has not been able to reach beyond the local level in terms of technical assistance because it has only one small assistance center in Washington, DC. They can field phone calls and see a limited number of clients, but have virtually no impact on the national level. In addition, it can take from one month to one year for a veteran to register his business with VA. Equally frustrating, veterans cannot register multiple businesses at one time, and have to be working full-time in their registered businesses.
Veterans who own small businesses need help in understanding the rules and regulations of government contracting. It’s time for VA and the Small Business Administration to develop a comprehensive partnership that works effectively and seamlessly to help vets.
For more information on veteran-owned small businesses, as discussed at the Joint O&I and EO: Follow-up Hearing on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification Process, go to:
Peter S. Gaytan is the author of For Service To Your Country – Updated Edition: The Essential Guide to Getting the Veterans’ Benefits You’ve Earned(Citadel, 2011), available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers. He has served as an advocate in securing and protecting the earned benefits of America’s veterans for more than a decade. Gaytan is the Executive Director of the American Legion, the largest veterans service organization in America.
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