FAVOB’s New Jax Chapter Helps Veterans’ Small Businesses
Veterans wanting to start or grow a small business in Jacksonville just got easier with the newly created FAVOB Jacksonville Chapter.
So, what is FAVOB and how do they help? The Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses, or FAVOB, is the only Florida business organization singularly focused on supporting Veteran Owned Businesses (VOBs) to do business with each other, while creating opportunities to work with local government agencies and for-profit supplier diversity programs.
Founded in Orlando in 2014, its mission is to create opportunities for Veteran business owners to thrive with 350 plus veteran business owner members and supporters across Florida in four chapters – Orlando, Tampa, the Space Coast and the Panhandle and, now, in Jacksonville.
FAVOB assists by:
- Sharing with the community and business leaders, legislators, and the public about the “value of the Veteran-owned business;”
- Connecting members to each other and to supplier diversity and commercial business opportunities that can increase revenue and profits;
- Providing professional development events so members can grow their business; and
- Annually hosts a Congressional event fostering VOBs.
And we can’t forget the importance of networking with like-minded VOBs and supporters because, “Everything comes from that…networking, supporting, learning, growing,” said Douglas Cochrane, CAPT, USN, (ret), Jacksonville Chapter Chair, during the chapter’s launch ceremony in downtown Jacksonville on November 1st.
Keynote speaker for the event, Trish Murphy, founder and CEO of Marketing Smarty Pants and FAVOB Florida Chair, emphasized all that FAVOB has done for her business stating, “In the last three years my company has garnered more than $120,000 in revenue from other VBOs or those met through a FAVOB event.”
Even more impressive, FAVOB has documented more than a million dollars in business from FAVOB companies and patriotic trustees over the last three years.
“It’s a very worthwhile organization,” said Cochrane, which is why he reached out to help and ended up being asked to create and head-up this new chapter.
Cochrane boasts a 28-year military career as a naval officer and aviator, and has been stationed at Mayport Jacksonville both as the commanding officer of the helicopter squadron and, later, as the commanding officer of Naval Station Mayport itself. He was also the navigator on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and chief of staff for Naval Installations Command, overseeing operations of 72 Naval bases world-wide. His love for the military and Veterans runs deep.
Since retiring in 2015, Cochrane has worked in the financial services industry and has been looking to help a Veteran-based non-profit ever since. “There’s a ton of Veteran organizations out there and this is the only one I know of that focuses on the entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to start, grow and scale a business,” said Cochrane.
Cochrane and Jacksonville Vice-Chair Jason Pryor’s (owner of Teal City Home Inspections) overall goal for the chapter is to meet once-a-month, in-person, with a speaker or topic of timely educational value.
The first meeting was held Nov 16, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stephen A. Cohen Military Family Center. The agenda was education all on how to be a part of updating the Duval County School’s infrastructure projects getting underway, based on the recently approved half-penny tax. A review the six-step process to certify small businesses for these projects to be able to bid on any set-aside small business projects was held.
Another hot topic coming up very soon is the Veteran Small Business Certification (VSBC) program being transferred to the Small Business Association (SBA) which will officially begin operations and accept new applications in January 2023. Official certification is needed to compete for federal contracts.
Until the SBA opens the VSBC program in January 2023, the recommended next step for uncertified veteran-owned small businesses is to self-certify to open federal contracting opportunities through all federal agencies, aside from the VA, until 2024. For any questions or concerns on all of this, reach out to the SBA headquarters’ mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Being a part of FAVOB can boost small business opportunities and create networking with some great people, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Cochrane.