The first-of-its-kind event will connect veteran, military and military spouse business owners to Fortune 500 companies for procurement opportunities, while providing entrepreneurial training and resources.
Norfolk, Va., Sept. 20, 2017 – Today, Walmart and the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB) are hosting a first-of-its-kind event, VetSource, to support the success of veteran, military and military spouse-owned businesses by connecting them to several Fortune 500 companies in one day for procurement opportunities.
VetSource was created by the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB), part of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, as a unique way to convene corporations and military entrepreneurs, offering resources both for those ready to sell their offerings and those interested in learning how to become procurement-ready. The event includes supply chain matchmaking opportunities, workshop tracks for veterans with established businesses as well as those ready to grow and educational support for attendees following the event.
More than 200 participants are expected to take part in the inaugural VetSource event held in Norfolk, Va., which includes keynote speakers and sessions hosted by top Fortune 500 corporations and retail industry leaders, who will introduce the tools, resources and training opportunities needed to become successful veteran entrepreneurs. In addition, Sam’s Club is announcing a $400,000 grant to the SCORE Foundation to support the 2018 American Small Business Championship which celebrates and recognizes America’s entrepreneurs. The SCORE Foundation is the charitable arm of SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses.
Veterans are an important part of the nation’s labor force, both as workers and as business owners. According to the Small Business Administration, more than 2.5 million small businesses in the U.S. are veteran-owned. In addition, veteran-owned businesses generate more than $1.2 trillion in sales per year and employ more than 5.8 million people in the U.S.
“Veteran-owned businesses are vital for a healthy economy,” said Maureen Casey, chief operating officer of the IVMF. “By creating networking opportunities and strengthening business-to-business commerce between veteran businesses and our corporate partners like Walmart, we can sustain economic growth and advance the lives of our nation’s military veterans and their families.”
The CVOB is the first national initiative to provide innovative solutions and thought leadership to grow and support military spouse and veteran-owned businesses, entrepreneurs and suppliers by connecting them with organizations, resources and information. As the world’s largest retailer and one of the 14 founding companies of the CVOB, Walmart is uniquely positioned to lead and sponsor the first VetSource event, encouraging other Fortune 500 companies to follow suit and source from veteran-owned businesses.
“Many veterans gained important skills and leadership abilities from their active duty experiences that lead to successful business ownership, such as strong work ethic, teamwork and adaptability,” said retired Brig. Gen. Gary Profit, senior director of military programs at Walmart. “By hosting the first VetSource, Walmart is convening other corporations and encouraging them to join us in lending counsel, support and purchasing opportunities that help veteran-owned businesses grow.”
Walmart has a long history of supporting members of the military, veterans and their families. As part of its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, the company has hired more than 179,000 veterans since the initiative was announced in May 2013, and of those hires, more than 24,000 have been promoted to jobs of greater responsibility. Walmart recently announced major changes to its military leave of absence policy, offering differential pay to associates for any military assignment, including voluntary service like basic training, allowing associates who are considering enlisting in the armed forces to do so without fear of losing wages. In addition, since 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged a total of $40 million for veteran reintegration programs through 2019 to help address challenges many veterans face when returning to civilian life.
For more information on the IVMF and the CVOB, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and veteranbusinesscoalition.org. For more information about Walmart’s commitment to veterans, service members and military families, please visit: http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/veterans-military-families/.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our 11,695 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com on Facebook and on Twitter.
About the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB)
The CVOB is the first-of-its-kind national initiative, which supports the success of veteran, service member, and military spouse-owned businesses by connecting them with entrepreneurial education and training, small business resources and solutions, and commerce and supplier opportunities. Through the commitment of our Fortune500 stakeholders and partners, the CVOB aims to increase opportunities and information for the veteran and military spouse businesses within corporate supply chains. The CVOB continues to drive awareness and commerce opportunities for veteran and military spouse businesses in the public marketplace, create networking opportunities for veteran-owned businesses (VOB) and large companies, provide educational resources, and contribute to veteran and military employment. For more information, please visit veteranbusinesscoalition.org.
About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families. Through its professional staff and experts, the IVMF delivers leading programs in career, vocational, and entrepreneurship education and training, while also conducting actionable research, policy analysis, and program evaluations. The IVMF also supports communities through collective impact efforts that enhance delivery and access to services and care. The Institute, supported by a distinguished advisory board, along with public and private partners, is committed to advancing the lives of those who have served in America’s armed forces and their families. For more information, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.