As we celebrate Independence Day, the Cayuga Economic Development Agency team felt it was an appropriate time to talk about the services we offer for veterans in Cayuga County. As economic developers, we are able to assist veteran business owners and entrepreneurs. While veterans may take advantage of any of our services, there are a few programs for which only veterans are eligible.
In 2014, New York state passed and signed the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act. Under this act, the state aims to spend 6% of its contract dollars with firms owned by service-disabled veterans, or service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. That means that the state is setting goals for all State agencies and entities/projects funded by State grant dollars to contract with SDVOBs. In order to count towards this goal, a contracted firm must become a certified SDVOB through an application process. There are certain requirements to get this certification, foremost being that the business must be at least 51% owned and operated by veteran(s) with a service-connected disability rating of 10% or greater. All certified firms are listed in an online SDVOB directory, so a state agency or other entity looking to contract with an SDVOB can easily find a certified firm that provides the good or service they are seeking. The state contracting goal also gives agencies and state-funded entities a specific reason to seek these businesses out and provide them with the opportunity to bid on projects and contracts.
Becoming certified could open a small, veteran-owned business to bid opportunities they may not have otherwise been aware of. However, it is important to understand that this certification does not guarantee any contracts. It opens up the opportunity to bid, but does not require an agency or entity to utilize your business specifically. For more information about the SDVOB certification, including eligibility and how to apply, visit ny.gov and search “become certified service-disabled veteran business.” To search the directory of certified SDVOBs, visit online.ogs.ny.gov/SDVOB/search.
Cayuga County Veterans Services Agency and the Auburn YMCA will be hosting a Veterans Resource Fair from 8 a.m. to noon Friday, July 19, at the YMCA, 27 William St, Auburn. This is a great opportunity for veterans and their families to learn about resources available to them and participate in some fun activities. Light refreshments will be available. Demonstration fitness classes will be provided starting around 8:30 a.m. for all fitness levels, and an Aqua Therapy class will be offered in the pool from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. In the gym will be vendor tables for education, employment, business development, social services, the Office for the Aging, health care, home health care, compensation benefits, housing assistance, nutrition education and resources, and much more. Benefit advisors will be available on site to help veterans enroll in benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Please call the Cayuga County Veterans Services Agency at (315) 253-1281 or email email@example.com with any questions.
The Cayuga Economic Development Agency and SCORE volunteers regularly work with veterans wanting to start businesses. Some of our local SCORE mentors are veterans themselves, giving them insights into turning your military experience into business success. There are other resources available for veterans starting businesses. The Small Business Administration has a full-day course, called Boots to Business, which offers an introduction to entrepreneurship only available to veterans, National Guard and reserve members and military spouses. The next Boots to Business course being offered in our area is in Utica on July 13. Contact the Syracuse district office of the Small Business Administration at (315) 471-9393 for more information about this course. The Boots to Business program also offers online follow-up classes on specific business-startup related topics. The Small Business Development Center in our area, located at Onondaga Community College, has a special version of their online business startup training program just for veterans, called EntreSkills for Veterans. This program describes how veterans can use their military experience and training to succeed in small business ownership. For more information, or to register for this program, go to entreskills.org.
If you know a veteran with a goal of owning their own business or expanding their current business, and who needs help figuring out the right path to take, tell them to contact us to schedule a free and confidential meeting with our development specialists. There are so many services for new and existing businesses at 2 State St. that you just have to give us a call to find out how we might be able to assist your business.