Barbara Ashe Named a Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year by U.S. Small Business Administration

May 12, 2011

View the SBA Presentation to Barbara Ashe here!

Rockville, MD, May 12, 2011 -- For her work to help veterans thrive in government contracting, Barbara Ashe was yesterday named a Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The award, presented by the SBA Washington Metropolitan Area Office during a ceremony at the Women in Military Service Museum at Arlington National Cemetery, recognizes commitment to the advancement of small business opportunities for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Ashe, president of the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation, was honored for founding and leading the Veteran Institute for Procurement, or VIP. Ashe was also named a Regional Champion among winners in the surrounding five states.

VIP is the nation’s first non-profit training program that equips entrepreneur-minded veteran-owned businesses to thrive in the government contracting marketplace. Since its inception in 2009, VIP has helped 165 veteran-owned businesses accelerate their ability to win contracts to support the government agencies they once served.  In a recent survey, the Foundation learned that 29 of VIP’s earliest graduates have created 570 jobs and increased the size of their businesses by an average of 50 percent in the year after completing the VIP program. Also, 85 percent of respondents credit VIP with significantly equipping them to make recent business decisions and helping them avoid unforeseen landmines.

“All of us are grateful to veterans who have already given us so much. And many continue to serve—as entrepreneurs who are creating jobs, hiring other veterans, building economic value, and innovating solutions to address some of our nation’s toughest challenges.  We built the Veteran Institute for Procurement to give something back to our veteran-owned businesses and accelerate their success in government contracting—a market they are uniquely able to serve,” said Ashe.  “On behalf of our VIP graduates, our network of business and government volunteers and supporters, and my amazing colleagues at the Foundation, I am truly honored to receive this award.” 

Initially a regional program, the Foundation received requests from veterans, businesses, and government representatives to start similar VIP programs in other states.  To serve more veteran-owned small businesses, Ashe and her team transitioned their delivery model and launched a national program, headquartered near Washington, DC—the epicenter of federal contracting.  In March 2011, the National Center for the Veteran Institute for Procurement proudly graduated its first 40 businesses.  

A three-day, 25-hour comprehensive certification program, VIP was developed and is taught by volunteer subject matter professionals, is funded through private sponsorships, and is offered at no cost to participants (except transportation). VIP participants must be a C-level leader in a veteran-owned small business operating for at least two years with minimum of 3-4 full time employees, and have experience working on government contracts as a prime and/or sub-contractor to a prime. Registration is currently open for the June and October sessions.

Press Contact:  Anna DiPaola Gemolas, (301) 751-2911;

For additional information or to register for the June or October sessions, please visit Veteran Institute for Procurement or the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation.

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