Veteran Business Summit to be held May 10 at Middlesex College

Event, sponsored by N.J. Veterans Chamber, will feature company expo, speakers, awards

Interested in hiring or partnering with veterans and veteran-owned companies?

On May 10 at Middlesex College, the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce will host the Disabled Veteran and Veteran Business Summit — an event that will bring together more than 100 veteran-owned businesses with government agencies and private companies that seek to procure with them.

Jeff Cantor, the CEO of the chamber, said the summit will give employers and state agencies the opportunity to personally meet with veteran business owners and disabled veteran business owners to learn of their capabilities and to discuss partnering on upcoming projects.

Jeff Cantor. (New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce)

Cantor said VOBs and DVOBs possess a wide range of skills, resources and capabilities, from skilled trades and construction crafts, to technical, technological and consultation specialties. In a tight labor and hiring market, participating companies and agencies will be delighted to learn about the diverse range of VOB and DVOB enterprises, and how they can fill their needs and help with their own projects and business development.

During the event, the DVOBs and VOBs will set up booths and be prepared to meet up with a wide range of private companies, government agency leads and business associations to discuss prospects and opportunities.

The day also will feature panels, an awards presentation and various speakers, including state Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union), who will discuss the state’s efforts to support veteran businesses.

Larry Stubblefield, an associate administrator for the Office of Veterans Business Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration, also will be on hand to summarize the SBA resources available to VOBs and DVOBs.

Companies stepping up

Several companies and state agencies will be honored for their efforts to support veterans during the Disabled Veteran and Veteran Business Summit on May 10 at Middlesex College.

  • Veteran business over $3 million: the Millennium Group;
  • Veteran business under $3 million: Minuteman Press of Newark;
  • Disabled veteran business over $3 million: Lima Charlie Construction;
  • Disabled veteran business under $3 million: the Setroc Group;
  • J. state agency who best supported veteran businesses: the New Jersey Turnpike Authority;
  • Veteran advocate of the year: Kelly Brozyna from the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers;
  • Prime vendors who have best supported disabled veteran businesses: Vollers Construction & Skanska Koch Construction.

Cantor said an important priority of the summit will be to facilitate state enforcement of its own 3% set-aside law for disabled veteran businesses by contracting state agencies. To date, this set-aside has not been rigorously enforced. This has left the noble goal of leveling the playing field for DVOBs an unfulfilled intention for the state.

Cantor said the event is crucial for the state’s veteran businesses. Compared to their non-veteran-owned counterparts, veteran-owned businesses suffer from poorly developed networks of partners and affiliates, as well as lack of access to sufficient capital for their business endeavors, he said.

This makes the challenges faced by VOBs and DVOBs comparable to those faced by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and makes it difficult for them to fully participate in the free market system. On top of these disadvantages, VOBs have also been excluded from numerous past diversity goals worked into state and federal funding opportunities, including the aforementioned 3% set-aside, which exists, for the moment, on paper only.

For state agencies, vendors, companies with procurement diversity goals and anyone else interested in hiring, working with or meeting the VOBs and DVOBs on hand, click here to register and for additional information, including a full event schedule with a list of speakers and presenters.

If you are a VOB or DVOB looking for expanded opportunities, click here for more information on how to register.