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The National Veterans Small Business Conference, the government's premier event for Veteran-owned small businesses, is coming to Detroit's Cobo Center June 26-29.
Cobo Center in Detroit
Hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The government's premier event for veteran-owned small businesses, and the largest veterans' conference in the U.S.
1—Boost success of veteran-owned small businesses
- By providing networking opportunities with more than 300 government procurement decision makers, and large and small government contractors
- By offering more than 200 breakout sessions which include training and advice on acquisition requirements
- By helping veteran-owned businesses engage other contractors at the Expo, with nearly 500 booths
2—Provide job opportunities to unemployed veterans with the VA for Vets Hiring Fair. Interviews available on site for more than 8,000 public- and private-sector jobs committed to be filled
3—Help veterans learn about and enroll for VA benefits and receive health screening tests
Launched in May 2012, VetGovPartner is a fully integrated web application designed to facilitate matchmaking, partnering and networking among attendees before, during and after the conference. With VetGovPartner, registrants can set up face-to-face meetings with government procurement decision makers at the conference and network with them throughout the year. VetGovPartner also helps veteran-owned small businesses identify and contact other companies with complementary skills and goals for partnership opportunities on government contracts. Large contractors also use VetGovPartner to connect with veteran-owned small businesses for teaming opportunities.
- The 2012 Conference in Detroit is expected to draw 6,000+ attendees
- The 2011 Conference in New Orleans drew 5,000 attendees. Attendance was 29 percent higher than the previous year
- First conference held in 2005 in Las Vegas drew 763 attendees. The first six Conferences were held in Las Vegas
- Exhibition in 2011: 420 exhibits, more than 127,000 square feet
- Veteran Open House added in 2011
- First VA for Vets Hiring Fair held January 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Who attended in 2011
- Half were Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB)
- Nearly 20 percent represented the federal government
- More than 16 percent were prime government contractors
- More than 14 percent represented non-veteran-owned small businesses
What Happens at the Conference
Veteran-Owned Small Businesses benefit from an extraordinary opportunity to both improve their ability to compete successfully for government contracts and develop vital relationships with government procurement decision makers (PDMs) and other attendees. Formal and informal networking sessions are held.
- More than two-thirds of the respondents to the 2011 Conference survey indicated networking opportunities were a primary benefit of the conference.
- Nearly 30 percent of the 2011 survey respondents said they received contract awards because of the relationships established and content presented at the Conference.
Each PDM is expected to:
- Lead a business requirement session that outlines their procurement requirements
- Host a table at the VetGovPartner networking roundtables to learn about the capabilities of veteran-owned small businesses
- Host "Dining with Decision Makers" tables at plenary luncheons to facilitate informal discussions
- Participate in networking breakfasts
- Attend all conference receptions
- Engage with businesses in the Expo Hall
- Complete a requirements profile on the VetGovPartner platform
On-site assistance and counseling also is available to veteran-owned small businesses to verify their qualification for the VA's Vets First program.
- More than 200 sessions are held
- Business requirement sessions focus on helping businesses win contracts by understanding contract qualifications, and by providing intelligence and forecasting on government procurement
- Training sessions focus on building general knowledge needed to enhance business capacity and capability. Topics include marketing, legal and contracting issues
Attendees gain visibility in the Expo Hall with nearly 500 booths. The Expo will cover 142,000 square feet in Cobo Center's Macomb Hall. Networking is encouraged in the Expo, with businesses displaying products and services and government agencies showcasing their mission and what they procure.
The Expo is divided into four areas based on industry involvement:
- Manufacturing, engineering, warehousing, transportation and waste management
- Administration and support, including financial, legal and professional services
- Information technology, healthcare
- Multiple services