The American Legion's Small Business Task Force is staging an all-day development workshop during the Legion's 51st annual Washington Conference. Veterans who wish to establish or grow their own small businesses are invited to attend free of charge, as are their spouses. The workshop is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 22 in Congressional Hall B, Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel, 999 9th St. NW.
The American Legion's training sessions for entrepreneurial veterans deliver, in the words of its organizers, "timely, relevant and valuable information to help veteran-owned businesses reach the next level and increase profitability." Experienced mentors will counsel attendees on the practical aspects of setting up veteran-owned businesses – from the development of business plans to the securing of government contracts. Speakers will include professional trainers, senior federal executives, contracting experts and seasoned veteran business owners.
The continuing series of small business workshops is indicative of The American Legion's support of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for veterans' employment. The Legion has lobbied repeatedly on Capitol Hill to encourage government assistance for veteran-owned businesses and enforcement of presidential executive orders that mandate a 3 percent quota of government contracts for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
In congressional testimony last year, American Legion Economic Division Director Joe Sharpe said, "Small business (is) the backbone of the American economy. It is the mobilizing force behind America's past economic growth and will continue to be a major factor as we move well into the 21st Century. America has benefited immeasurably from the service of its 23 million living veterans, who have made great sacrifices in the defense of freedom, preservation of democracy, and the protection of the free enterprise system. Due to the experience veterans gain in the military, the success rate of veteran-owned businesses is higher than other non-veteran owned businesses."
Sharpe told Congress that the federal government "should assist in the creation of new jobs by encouraging qualified entrepreneurs to start and expand their small businesses, and no group is better qualified or deserving of this type of assistance than our veterans."
The American Legion Small Business Task Force was chartered in 2006 by The American Legion Economic Division. Its mission is to gather information, data and research regarding the current and future economic status of veteran businesses. Data is gathered through congressional channels, regular meetings, expert presentations, federal agencies and field analysis. Findings are evaluated and recommendations are made to the Legion's leadership.