In 2013, when the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) was established, corporate participation in Veteran supplier diversity programs was minimal. Seven years later, corporations and government entities spend over $80 billion with qualified Veteran business suppliers. This surge in corporate interest is driving new opportunities for certified Veteran businesses across the country.
Today, over 18.8 million (8%) American men and women are veterans of the United States Armed Forces. An estimated 2.5 million of them are “Vetreprenuers” who own and operate businesses. Unfortunately, many of them are not certified and miss out on unique advantages to grow. Brigadier General Richard Miller, Vice President NVBDC, wants to change that, “A common complaint we hear is that our corporate members can’t find a certified Veteran business to work with.” The NVBDC and the Office of Veterans Affairs are working to simplify and streamline the certification process so that more qualified businesses will participate.
Certification Pays Off for Buyers and Suppliers
Service-Disabled Veteran-owned and operated A. Pomerantz & Co. received their certification from the CVE. Elisa Feola, the VP of Marketing, explains that the process was well worth the effort. “Although the process can be complex, the investment pays dividends. It has opened up multiple opportunities for us with Federal agencies and corporations.”
Pomerantz & Co., a Coupa supplier, is an authorized Steelcase dealer headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. The company represents 400 manufacturers worldwide with offices in Illinois, New Jersey, and Florida. The company is owned by Garry Maddox, a Vietnam Vet and former Major League Baseball World Series champion and eight-time Gold Glove-winning center fielder. Maddox is proud to be recognized as a US Veteran and continues to build partnerships with other Veteran-owned businesses.
According to Feola, “CEO Maddox decided to become Verified with the CVE for several reasons. To start, it allowed us to compete for Veteran Affairs SDVOB set-asides under the Vets First program .” Vets First opportunities are VA contracts set aside for companies that can verify that they are owned and operated by Veterans. “The corporate market was equally important to us,” Feola continued. “The certification helped us identify Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies seeking to do business with Veteran-owned businesses like ours.”
Veteran Certification Opens the Door for Pomerantz & Co. with Sanofi, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Comcast
Certification has helped A. Pomerantz & Co. attract the attention of companies that are genuine in their commitment to inclusion. Feola cites the global pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, as an example, “Sanofi is passionate about working with Veteran-owned and operated suppliers. We connected with them through an awards event held by National Veteran-Owned Business Association and Vetrepreneur Magazine. This relationship has yielded several projects for us with Sanofi in the Northeast region, including Boston and Cambridge, MA.”
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is another example of an institution with a long-standing commitment to supporting the Veteran community. In addition to operating a dynamic supplier diversity program, they also offer civilian career opportunities to active military, Veterans, and spouses. Feola continues, “Pomerantz has been a primary supplier for CHOP for over 30 years. They recently awarded us the furniture contract for their 17-story Physician and Administrative Office Building.” Pomerantz will be working with CHOP to help the Philadelphia local community after the pandemic. The program will provide employment training and opportunity for those who were impacted the most.
Comcast has had a formal supplier diversity program since 2010, spending over $14.7 billion with diverse businesses over the past decade. Pomerantz is proudly one of their suppliers. “In 2014, the city was buzzing about constructing what was to become the tallest building in Philadelphia, the Comcast Technology Center. We had been working with Comcast as a primary supplier since 2002, and we inquired immediately about the furniture contract for the new building. Comcast awarded us the ancillary products category, the largest furniture portion of the contract. It included the conference room, lounge, collaboration room, café, small meeting room, and other furniture from over 100 manufacturers across the globe.” Feola concluded, “We were thrilled to receive the ultimate satisfaction rating on our “flawless” project completion.”
NVBCD is the Matchmaker that Brings Buyers and Suppliers Together
Comcast was the first media and technology company accepted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a corporate advocacy organization created in 2001 to celebrate companies that spend at least $1 billion with diverse-owned suppliers. The NVBDC connects Veteran-owned and operated businesses with the Billion Dollar Roundtable that includes household names like Kellogg’s, AT&T, General Motors, Ford, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Delphi, PPG, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Facebook, BMW, Google, and Apple.
NVBDC certification assures corporate partners that Veteran suppliers have gone through a rigorous vetting process. Certified suppliers are added to a national database so that corporate buyers have easy access. The NVBDC also provides development and training programs to help suppliers build their capabilities and relationships.
To be eligible for Veteran certification, a business must be 51% owned and operated by a veteran who served 180 days on active duty and was discharged under honorable conditions.
Learn more about Veteran-owned business certifications.