"We want veteran-owned small businesses to know that they have a friend in Pennsylvania," so says DeShawn Lewis, director of the Bureau of Small Business Opportunities, with the Department of General Services (DGS). "Our Program is relatively new and we are making an all-out effort to spread the word on the opportunity that we are offering for our veteran and service-disabled veteran small businesses."
Last year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law, Act 185 of 2012, which establishes an initiative for assisting veteran-owned businesses in pursuit of state bidding opportunities and sets a statewide annual goal of 3 percent participation in state contracts. Act 185 follows on the heels of an Executive Order issued by the Governor in2011, which directed state agencies to increase opportunities for veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
In order to participate, veteran-owned small businesses must first self-certify as a small business by going online and filing out a streamlined application. The whole process can be completed in 20 minutes," Lewis says. The small business certification immediately enables veteran-owned businesses to start competing on reserved small business bidding opportunities as prime contractors.
To gain full advantage of what the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has to offer, veteran-owned small businesses are strongly encouraged to proceed to the next step, which is to become"verified" as a veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned small business by presenting certification of their veteran status through the Department's verification process. At present, the Department accepts VetBiz certifications issued by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. All a veteran-owned small business needs to do is present a copy of their determination letter verifying their veteran-owned status and they can be listed on DGS's database within days. "This makes the veteran-owned business eligible to participate in a wide range of sub contracting opportunties from construction to information technology," Lewis says.
Interested veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses are strongly encouraged to learn more by visiting the DGS small business website at www.smallbusiness.pa.gov, or by contacting the Bureau of Small Business Opportunities at 717-783-3119; e-mail adress: RAfirstname.lastname@example.org.