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The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 directed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to create a Governmentwide certification program for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. Effective January 1, 2023, SBA assumed responsibility for certifying Veteran-Owned small firms. If you have questions, please contact SBA at You can also call 800-862-8088, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EST to speak to an SBA representative about the Veteran certification program or visit Veteran Small Business Certification.(

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Thank you for Attending the

National Veterans Small Business Engagement

November 7 - 9, 2023
Kissimmee, Florida

General Sessions

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Hearings and Appeals: What is it and how it may affect you in the Veteran Small Business Certification Process

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) is an independent office of the SBA established in 1983 to provide an independent, quasi-judicial appeal of certain SBA program decisions. Among those appeal types includes Veteran Small Business Certification Process decisions and protests related to Veteran and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses. This General Session will provide an overview of OHA and how it can impact an applicant seeking certification as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) or Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB).

  • Mrs. Kimberly McLeod, Small Business Administration

Large Business Panel - Characteristics of Small Firms that Attract Companies Looking for Subcontracting or Teaming Relationships.

This panel discussion will explore the characteristics that attract a large firm to consider a subcontracting or teaming relationship with a small business. The discussion will explore the benefits resulting from the business relationships mentioned earlier, such as improved flexibility, access to specialized expertise, and the potential for innovation. The panelists will share their insights on the importance of trust, communication, and shared values in fostering successful collaborations between large and small enterprises.

The Insight from Successful Firms - Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

The host for this session will explain and provide insight about developing effective marketing strategies as one activity to grow a small firm. Key points that will be explained include recommendation about how small businesses can maximize their limited resources and reach their target audience in the most efficient way possible. By discussing effective marketing strategies with small firms, representatives of successful companies can provide valuable insights and guidance on how entrepreneurs can promote their products or services, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales.

An Update from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Chief Acquisition Officer (VA CAO)

The VA CAO will discuss various subjects. The topics presented will include the initiatives the VA Office of Acquisitions, Logistics and Construction is pursuing to Build Access and Dismantle Barriers for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and underserved firms.

  • Mr. Michael Parrish

VA Pathfinder Prowess: Unleashing your Inner Trailblazer

Staff from the Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction (OALC) will explain Pathfinder, the Department’s vendor portal. The host and co-host will demystify selling and innovating with the Department of Veterans (VA) by providing information about the tools needed which includes Pathfinder.

  • Dr. Ernest Reed and Ashley Hammond, VA OALC

How to Do Business with the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) for the U.S. Department of the Navy (DoN), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Executive Directors of the OSDBUs mentioned above will present an overview of the best practices for entrepreneurs interested in doing business with their federal agencies. Businesses can gain valuable insight and advice from the panelists about navigating the procurement process and how their agencies purchase products and services. Mrs. Ruby Harvey will moderate the session. Before retiring from federal service, Mrs. Harvey held a number of leadership positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), with her capstone assignment being the Executive Director of VA OSDBU.

  • Arveice M. Washington, Acting Director, DoN OSDBU
  • Denise Benjamin-Sirmons, Executive Director EPA OSDBU
  • Shannon Jackson, Executive Director HHS OSDBU
  • Jean Lin Pao, Executive Director HUD OSDBU
Please note: Content on this Web page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or to be a comprehensive statement or analysis of application statures, regulations, and case law governing this topic. Rather, it's a plain language summary. If you are seeking claims assistance, your local VA regional office, a VA-recognized Veterans Service Organization, or a VA-accredited attorney or agent can help.