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VAMBOA NVSBEVeterans who are interested in starting or expanding their small businesses should save the date and register today for the largest and most comprehensive Veteran Small Business Expo of the year.

Each year, ailment for the last four years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and several other government agencies have collaborated to put on the largest event for Veteran entrepreneurs in the country, called the National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE).

The theme of NVSBE 2014 is “ACCESS” which is an acronym for “Advocate, Create, Commit, Expand, Strengthen, Sustain.” The event is designed to connect Veteran-owned Small Businesses and Veteran entrepreneurs with exclusive access to networking opportunities and learning sessions.

With 3,000 attendees expected, as well as more than 400 exhibitors and 25 government agencies, the NVSBE is a must-attend event for Veteran-owned small businesses.

The NVSBE is chalk full of activities designed to aid in the success of Veteran business ventures. Each day of the event has an Agenda that includes networking functions and breakout learning sessions.The learning sessions consist of dozens of topics that attendees can register for, according to their needs. Topics include creating a small business, business expansion, financing, government contracts, Veterans assistance, procurements, sustaining a small business, leadership, service-disabled Veteran-owned business resources and many more. The last day of the event includes an awards ceremony and one-on-one follow-up meetings with procurement decision makers and program professionals.

One of the most advantageous reasons to attend the NVSBE is the direct access to procurement decision makers, program specialists and acquisition staff from government agencies and large corporations.

The three day event will be held on December 9, 10 and 11, 2014, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. To register for the 2014 NVSBE in Atlanta, please visit the Registration Information Page.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Veterans Small Business Expo: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA no fee loans

There is great news for veteran entrepreneurs! The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is extendingits Veterans Advantage program through September 30, online 2015. The Veterans Advantage program is also being expanded to include loans up to $5 million. The SBA will continue to offer its provision to eliminate the upfront fee paid by all borrowers for the guaranteed portion of 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less.

Prior to the change, entrepreneurs using the SBA guarantee through private lenders had to pay up to 2% of the guaranteed portion of their loans. This would leave small business owners with fees of up to $2,700.

The SBA is also waiving servicing fees for participating lenders paid by them on loans of $150,000 or less.  Beginning on October 1, 2014, the servicing fee that lenders pay each month on 7(a) loans greater than $150,000 will drop to 0.519% on the guaranteed portion of the outstanding balance.

The up-front guaranty fee is being waived for qualified Veteran owned small business owners using SBA Express loans for amounts up to $350,000.  For Veterans using 7(a) loans outside the Express program, upfront fees continue to be waived for loans up to $150,000.

For loans of $150,000 to $5 million, with a maturity in excess of 12 months, the no upfront-fee will drop by 50% using this formula:

Loans of $150,001 to $700,000 will be at 1.5% of the guaranteed portion.

Loans of $700,001 to $5,000,000 will be at 1.75% of the guaranteed portion up to $1,000,000, plus an additional 1.875% of the guaranteed portion over $1,000,000.

Loans with a maturity of 12 months or less can expect to pay an upfront fee of 0.125% of the guaranteed portion.

In order to qualify for SBA Veterans Advantage, small businesses must be at least 51% owned and managed by an individual or individuals who are veterans, service-disabled veterans, active duty military service member participating in the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), Reservists and National Guard members. Also eligible are the current spouses of any of the previous,  or the widowed spouses of service members who died while in service, or of a service-connected disability.  Verifying documentation proving eligibility is required.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: SBA Extends No-Fee Loans: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA DOTThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) views military Veterans as a valuable resource, one that needs to be cultivated and utilized. Proving that the department isn’t just offering lip service, the DOT’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) has been teaming with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other partners to administer the Boots to Business: Reboot program to Veterans and Veteran entrepreneurs.

Through the summer of 2014, Boots to Business: Reboot has presented instructional events with discussions on topics such as developing a business plan, molding business concepts, and overall business fundamentals. Veterans were also connected to a network of resources through the OSDBU and its Small Business Transportation Resource Centers.

The OSDBU’s centers work closely with the transportation contracting community to assist transportation-related businesses in their respective regions. The resource centers also serve to provide business counseling to Veteran-owned businesses.

Veteran entrepreneurs participating in the Boots To Business: Reboot were also connected with resources conducive to locating access start-up capital and additional technical assistance. These resources include: Veteran Business Outreach Center, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE Counselors.

The DOT sees Veterans as natural entrepreneurs who can make a real impact on the transportation industry. Veterans are disciplined and mission-oriented. Veterans are also decisive and are used to being held accountable.

Unemployment among Post-9/11 Veterans has been consistently higher than the national average. With an increasing number of locally and federally sponsored business ownership programs available to current and former Military personnel, it only makes sense for Veterans to pursue entrepreneurship.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Training for Veteran Entrepreneurs: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA VA RFPOn August 25, pill 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System. This will be the next step in a series of actions that the VA is taking to replace its current scheduling system. The new system is expected to improve access to care for Veterans by offering medical schedulers with innovative scheduling software.  The RFP will be made public by the end of September, 2014. From the day of issuance, eligible vendors will have 30 days to respond.

The VA will issue a draft RFP prior to releasing the full RFP to maximize industry and stakeholder input. The solicitation will require a two-part demonstration of capabilities, consisting of a written proposal and a technical demonstration to scheduling staff. The VA hopes to award the contract by the end of the calendar year.

“VA chose a full- and open-competitive strategy to acquire a ‘commercial, off-the-shelf’ scheduling system,” said Stephen Warren, VA’s Chief Information Officer. “We want a system that is user-friendly and tailored specifically for our Veterans.”

VA Secretary Robert McDonald stated, “We want this process to be open to all eligible vendors to make sure the nation’s Veterans have the full benefits the innovative marketplace has to offer. When we can put a solid scheduling system in place, this will free up more human resources to focus on direct Veterans’ care. As VA recommits to its mission of caring for Veterans and evaluating our actions through the lens of what serves them best, we know a better scheduling system is necessary to provide them the timely, quality health care that they have earned and deserve.”

Even as the VA plans to issue its RFP to replace the existing system, efforts are progressing to make the current system better. The VA recently awarded a contract to improve the existing scheduling interface, providing schedulers a calendar view of resources instead of the current text-based, multiple-screen view.  This update is scheduled to begin roll out in January, 2015.

The VA is also developing two new mobile applications, one which will enable Veterans to directly request certain types of primary care and mental health appointments. The other app will give VA schedulers an easier-to-use interface to schedule medical appointments. Both apps are scheduled to roll out in December, 2014.

Veteran business owners will want to throw their hat in the ring, or at least closely watch which company or companies get this large contract with the VA. The companies who win contracts will most likely be looking for Veteran owned small business to sub-contract to, as part of their agreement with the VA.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: VA To Issue RFP:  By Debbie Gregory

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By Military Connection Staff Writer Carol Miraula.

When the going gets tough, buy the tough get going. And no one is tougher than our nation’s Veterans. Many have found when they transition back to civilian life, it’s a tough economy,  and job openings are scarce. So they create their own jobs and jobs for others.

A study done by the Small Business Administration (SBA) found that veterans with 20-plus years of service had higher rates of self-employment. Veteran business owners possess military training that develops organizational skills and risk-tolerance. Veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to take the plunge into entrepreneurship than people with no active-duty military experience. Another added benefit, Veteran business owners tend to hire veterans.

Veteran Todd Fisher, the founder of two successful Yardley, PA based technology companies, agrees. In addition to the electronics and communication technology training he received as a signals officer in the Army, he learned other lessons that helped him run his two businesses. Fisher gives credit for the success of his companies, MobileMD and Intraprise Solutions, to his military training. His company employs 66 people, and of his first  11 employees, nine were veterans.

Several significant financial, mentoring and resources are available for veteran business owners. Service-disabled veteran-owned business owners have access to federal contract set-asides, a reserve of public contracts awarded to a minority or small business enterprise.

Among the additional resources for veteran business owners and service disabled veteran business owners are:

  • The SBA’s Veteran-Owned Business Programs , which include the Patriot Express Loan initiative for  veterans and members of the military community wanting to establish or expand small businesses, and the Operation Boots to Business initiative.
  • The VA Accelerator,  an online learning environment of eight curricula and five programs that focus on entrepreneurship, franchise ownership and employment.
  • The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal, which provides links to resources for financing and instructions on winning VA contracts.
  • VAMBOA – Veteran and Military Business Owners Association,  a non-profit veteran business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business  Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses and Military Business Owners. Membership in  VAMBOA is free and provides a multitude of resources
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