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Energizing Vet-Owned Businesses in Minnesota

This article just goes to show that when people with a “can-do” attitude work together towards a common goal, they can move mountains. And there is a common thread that binds those who serve in the Military, the ideals of teamwork and getting the job done. We salute the state of Minnesota for what they have been able to accomplish to reduce the rate of Veteran unemployment.

Energizing Vet-Owned Businesses in Minnesota

With Minnesota facing the 3rd highest veteran’s unemployment rate amongst states in the US, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) chose to increase their veteran-owned business contracting goals in 2012. The challenge was that there were only 29 vet-owned businesses identified in the state. MnDOT decided to undertake a proactive statewide outreach effort to find more vet-owned firms. Duff Consulting, a MN-based SDVOSB marketing consulting firm, was contracted to perform this Vets Outreach Project with a goal of increasing the number of vet-owned firms in MnDOT's system from 29 to 100 or more. This outreach initiative included finding vet-owned firms, assisting them with CVE verification and connecting them with prime contractors. The results of this project were profound, and included:

• Finding more than 2,000 vet-owned firms throughout the state through multiple outreach efforts utilizing numerous military, veteran, business, construction and multiple media outlets;

• Increasing the number of vet-verified firms from 29 to 90 as of today, with another 25 firms in process of CVE review;

• Extensive enthusiasm throughout the state for vet-owned firms that has resulted Minnesota enhancing its veteran business climate from one of the worst in the US to one of the best (rated #5 state in recent research); and

• Numerous legislative efforts to increase vet-owned contracting programs down to the state and local levels of government throughout the state.

This project is a model outreach project for other states to follow for energizing vet-owned businesses to prosper within today's economy.

Alan Duff, President
Duff Consulting, LLC