ROCKVILLE, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, (D-Md., both), and Small Business Administration (SBA) District Director Antonio Doss today met with leaders and graduates of the Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP), the nation’s first-ever program to train veteran-owned small businesses on how to succeed in the federal contracting market.
The Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation, through partners and sponsors, funds the three-day, comprehensive training, which in the last five years has grown from a regional success to a national model. It has trained 348 graduates from 29 states. Senator Cardin and Congressman Van Hollen recently announced that the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation had been awarded a three-year, $900,000 SBA grant to expand its VIP program.
“Montgomery County is on the front lines of helping our nation’s veterans bring their world class commitment to excellence and skills to the civilian world by expanding veterans’ entrepreneurial abilities,” Senator Cardin said. “America’s military veterans have earned our unwavering support at home – this includes guiding their efforts to turn their expertise and innovative ideas into real businesses.”
“Our nation’s veterans return from the front lines with unique skills, and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s VIP program is all about giving veterans the tools needed to harness those skills and become successful entrepreneurs,” Congressman Van Hollen said. “I am proud to support the VIP program, which has helped thousands of veterans in Maryland and across the country grow their businesses and create jobs.”
“The Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation thanks Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Chris Van Hollen for their support of the Veteran Institute for Procurement,” said Barbara Ashe, President, Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation. “We are honored to give back to the men and women who served our country by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed as government contractors and are excited to expand VIP through our partnership with SBA.”
“For every business, the key questions at some point become whether you know how to manage, develop and grow,” said Antonio Doss, SBA Washington Metro Area District Director. “That is what VIP does – teaches veteran-owned businesses the skills to deal with those issues.”
The VIP initiative picks up where other programs leave off and teaches later-stage, early-development businesses how to increase their ability to win and complete government contracts. The recently awarded funding from the SBA will allow the expansion of VIP’s market-based training for veteran-owned- and service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB). Designed for owners, principals and C-level executives of veteran-owned businesses, VIP offers unique training on how to compete and comply successfully. The program’s curriculum is designed for veterans’ businesses to increase their ability to win government contracts by establishing best business practices.
Each year SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists start and grow their small businesses. To learn more about opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.