From Tuesday, June 26 through Friday, June 29, the National Veteran Small Business Conference will be held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. I took some time this week to find out exactly what will be offered at this event, and I learned that it is much more than an event for vets who want to start their own small business.

It is actually three big events.

Yes, vets can learn the ins and outs of starting their own small business and making it a very successful business, too, because in attendance will be procurement officers from multiple federal government agencies—the very people with whom many veteran-owned small businesses can conduct business with to achieve that success.

VA anticipates the attendance at this event to be around 6,000 individuals, and that there will be about 500 government agency and private industry booths from whom veterans can gather information about starting a small business. In addition, there are over 200 training sessions for small business entrepreneurs, including separate tracks for new and existing businesses. Attendees will also have the chance to have meals with leaders from both private industry and government agencies. They have thought of everything to help vets become successful business owners when their military lives are behind them.

While this annual event started out in 2005 as strictly a small business ownership/management conference, those 500 booths for government agency and private industry have evolved to become a Hiring Fair as well. To me, this is a smart upgrade to this annual gathering because both private companies and public employers get to meet the best and the brightest American men and women that our great country has to offer.

So, if you are a vet who is not looking to start a small business, but who is just looking for a decent job, now you have a reason to get to Detroit from June 26 to 29. The nation’s largest private and public employers are always looking for a few good men and women.

The third event that the National Veterans Small Business Conference has become is a Veterans Open House. It is scheduled from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Tuesday, June 26; Wednesday,
June 27; and, Thursday, June 28 only. At the Cobo Center on those days within those hours, any vet can walk in to learn about the benefits and services that might be available to her or him from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Also, vets can enroll in the VA health care system on the spot and even receive a free physical examination. And, VA representatives will be there to provide veterans with additional information about benefits and services that are available to them, their families and survivors.

The National Veterans Small Business Conference, the Hiring Fair and the Veterans Open House: now here comes a triple play for “those who have borne the battle.”

Terry Moakley
Chair of the VetsFirst Committee