CLARKSBURG -─ The U.S. Small Business Administration, in conjunction with its network of small business resource partners throughout West Virginia, will be hosting a Veterans Business Summit on Sept. 14 at the I-79 Technology Park Research Center in Fairmont.

This free event will provide veterans and their spouses with training and resources on veteran-owned business financing; doing business with the federal government; strategic business planning; business legal structures; legal lessons for federal contractors; and free small business resources.

The summit will feature speakers from SBA's Office of Veterans Affairs, Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams, numerous veteran small business owners, local lenders, and small business resource partners.

"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 173,000 veterans reside in West Virginia making it a state with one of the highest number of veterans per capita in the nation," said Judy McCauley, Director of SBA's West Virginia District Office. "And veterans make great business owners. Because of their military background, they understand the importance of teamwork, have tremendous self-discipline, and often develop technical skills during their military service that serves them well as entrepreneurs."

Federal contracting officers are actively searching for veteran-owned and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses to fulfill various contracting opportunities. According to SBA's Office of Advocacy, there are approximately 15,000 veteran-owned small businesses in West Virginia. However, only 229 are registered to do business with the federal government.

"That number needs to be much higher," McCauley said. "The Veterans Business Summit is an excellent starting point for veteran-owned businesses to learn about doing business with the government. The agenda features several successful veteran small business owners who will be sharing their government contracting experience free of charge."

The event is free for all veterans and their spouses, but pre-registration is encouraged. For registration information, visit www.wvscore.org or call 1-800-767-8052 ext. 8.

Sponsors of the Summit include the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, the West Virginia Women's Business and Training Center, and SCORE.

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