Building Partnerships – Veterans, Business, and Government
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in collaboration with other federal agencies and commercial partners, hosted the National Veterans Small Business Conference (NVSBC) from August 6-8 at the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, MO. This event was an extraordinary opportunity for businesses to grow and connect directly with Government Procurement Decision Makers (PDM) and business partners. NVSBC is the VA’s largest nationwide annual conference and the premier government event designed to help Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) maximize opportunities to compete for and win new business. Over 3,700 attendees participated in the 2013 Conference for the opportunity to:
- Connect directly with procurement decision makers across government and commercial industry at:
- 200 Business Requirement Sessions
- Dining with Decision Makers Luncheons
- More than 1,600 Networking Roundtables
- Conference Receptions
- Learn in more than 200 training sessions specifically tailored for all stages of business growth
- Grow your business by building relationships with potential clients and business partners
New to the 2013 Conference was the inclusion of 40 large commercial companies that have supplier diversity programs and a commitment to the expansion of their VOSB supply base.
This Conference generates results!
- In 2012, 52% of government representatives connected with five or more small businesses
- 59% of previous attendees reported they received a positive return on investment by attending the Conference
Who was at the Conference?
- Procurement Decision Makers dedicated to engaging VOSBs
- Contracting Officers
- Program Managers
- Senior Leaders
- Commercial Customers interested in expanding their VOSB supply base
- Large Federal Contractors interested in engaging VOSBs as subcontractors
- Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
- Non-profit Organizations
What activities took place at the Conference?
Attendees participated in various engagement opportunities designed to enable VOSBs to develop relationships with potential customers and partners including:
- Business Requirement Sessions: where they learned about procurement opportunities in 2014-2015 directly from federal program managers and contracting officers, as well as commercial customers
- Dining with Decision Makers: they shared a meal and informal discussion with potential customers and partners seeking to engage Veteran businesses at networking breakfast and lunch tables hosted by PDMs and Senior Leaders
- Networking Roundtables: where they discussed their business capabilities to address federal and commercial requirements with PDMs
- 2-Day Expo of over 400 Exhibits: attendees learned more about business capabilities and federal requirements at government and industry booths in the Expo Hall
- Conference Receptions: where they met informally with customers and build relationships essential to successful business development
- Training Sessions: which were specifically tailored for all stages of business growth
What types of training session were available?
The training and business requirement sessions were divided into three tracks specifically tailored for all stages of business growth including:
- Track 1: “Becoming Procurement Ready”
- Track 2: “How to do Business with the Federal Government”
- Track 3: “How to do Business with Commercial Markets”
In addition, attendees participated in hundreds of opportunities to Direct Connect with Procurement Decision Makers at Networking Roundtables and Receptions throughout the Conference.
Capture your Connections
This year, we provided two important tools to help participants stay connected to all of the great business contacts they made at the Conference well after they event had ended.
- Poken®: Using Poken®, a small USB device, attendees no longer had to collect and keep track of business cards. They created their own digital contact including relevant capabilities and requirements information and their social network profiles and exchanged information with other attendees by simply touching their Pokens.
- VetGovPartner. Attendees maximized their Conference experience by using VetGovPartner (VGP) to access the online community and connect capabilities to requirements, linkup with government Procurement Decision Makers (PDMs), manage their Conference agenda, and discover subcontracting and teaming opportunities.