Service-Disabled Vets Get Business Help

TALLAHASSEE — Service-disabled veterans are being added to the groups of minority business the state assists through the Department of Management Services’ Office of Supplier Diversity.

Gov. Charlie Crist signed House Bill 687 in June to create the Florida Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Opportunity Act and put into law a preference in state contracting for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. OSD provides business development and certification for minority- and women-owned businesses.

“Florida is proud to give back to the men and women in the Armed Forces who serve our great country,” said Crist. “Their sacrifices are immeasurable, and by helping service-disabled veterans in Florida rebuild their lives, we show them we are behind them 100 percent.”

The law takes effect Veterans Day, November 11, 2008. The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) and the Department of Management Services will work together to implement the preference.

“The Department of Management Services is determined to help implement this key legislation and support Gov. Crist in this initiative,” said Department of Management Services Secretary Linda H. South. “This opens doors for Florida’s 257,000 veteran-owned small businesses of which 18,000 are owned by service-disabled veterans. Working with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, our Office of Supplier Diversity will connect service-disabled veteran business enterprises to state contracts and other business development resources.”

OSD connects vendors with spenders, both private and public, and works with more than 4,000 minority business enterprises. Once certified, service-disabled veteran business enterprises are eligible to benefit from the full scope of OSD resources and alliances.

“The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs is grateful to Gov. Crist, the Florida Legislature and Florida’s Veteran Service Organizations for their support,” said FDVA Executive Director LeRoy Collins Jr.  “The contract preference is a step in the right direction to help Florida’s veterans achieve their dreams after they complete their military service.”

“State certification for minority business enterprises gives those business owners tools and resources to develop their business opportunities with government in Florida, as well as private sector opportunities,” said OSD Director Torey L. Alston. “Certified minority businesses that fit a solicitation’s criteria, are on the first list of referrals we provide, they are listed in our online directory, are eligible for our mentor-protégé and loan mobilization programs and much more. We encourage minority business entrepreneurs to become certified.”

The first step to certification is to register with MyFloridaMarketPlace at <> . For more information about the Office of Supplier Diversity, visit <> or call (850) 487-0915.

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