In the race for government contracts, small businesses often lag behind. Small, women- and veteran-owned businesses struggle to compete in a highly competitive field, looking for any viable edge to give them an advantage.
Resources for veteran-owned businesses abound. In an effort to give small business a ten second lead, the federal government passed the Small Business Act, allocating up to 23 percent of contracts to small businesses, specifically setting aside 3 percent for veteran-owned businesses. The Small Business Association offers a plethora of assistance and credit programs. Larger government contracting firms such as Harris offer veteran-owned businesses mentoring partnerships.
One often over-looked resource, however, may prove to be a veteran business owner’s best friend.
“We found out that The American Legion is the best advocate a veteran can have,” said Janice Cavolt, co-owner of JBC Corp, a Virginia Beach, Va., small business that contracts with the Department of Defense to provide customized medical kits. “People talk about having lobbyists. Well, if you’re a veteran, you want the Legion on your side. That’s who’s going to take care of you.”
When JBC Corp ran into issues with a supplier, the American Legion went to bat for the company, lining up support from Congress members and saved the company’s DoD contract.
At a recent American Legion small business development workshop, veteran business owners learned of the many assistance programs the American Legion provides. The workshops bring together private and public-sector information and tools to assist small businesses compete for federal contracts.
“We take our business very seriously,” Cavolt said. “We take our commitment to The American Legion very seriously. Because without them, we wouldn’t be.”