PHOTOS AND VIDEO: MGC’s first-ever Veterans Small Business Forum provides information about opportunities and certification for veteran-owned businesses
The following is a message from MGC Commissioner Bruce Stebbins
This month, as the nation commemorated Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission joined organizations around the country to recognize veterans who have started their own businesses during National Veterans Small Business Week (November 5th through the 9th). As part of MGC’s mission to provide strategies for maximizing the opportunities for veteran owned businesses, MGC Director of Supplier, Workforce, and Diversity Development Jill Griffin and Program Manager Crystal Howard organized the first-ever MGC Veterans Small Business Forum. Attended by more than 40 representatives from stakeholder organizations across Massachusetts, the event was a chance to highlight opportunities available to veteran-owned businesses at Massachusetts casinos.
MGC was pleased to be joined by the Secretary of Veterans Services, Francisco Ureňa, who reminded attendees that 7% of the population in Massachusetts has served. Secretary Ureňa remarked that he had visited casino projects under construction, and noted the pride he had seen first-hand in the veterans at work on the job sites.
“Veterans are good for business,” Secretary Ureňa said. “Veterans are good for community. The sense of mission accomplishment, the sense of teamwork, the sense of putting finishing the work, camaraderie, and all the things that veterans learn while in the military, they will be great.”
In accordance with the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011, all of our licensees have set aggressive goals for all phases of casino construction and operations, and MGC is committed to holding the licensees to those goals.
Highlight on certification
Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE) certification is relatively new to the Commonwealth. MGC was pleased to take the lead on VBE certification of early on in its licensing process, but following Governor Charlie Baker’s executive order in November 2015, MGC eagerly partnered with SDO on a streamlined statewide certification system.
Today, VBE certification can be attained through the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office (SDO). Certification through the SDO can be completed within a month, much quicker than federal certification, and is free of charge.
Bill McAvoy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Operational Services Division, encouraged companies seeking SDO certification to begin the process at mass.gov/sdo/start, and to attend a pre-certification workshop.
In addition to consideration by casino licensees, gaining SDO certification allows a company to be well-positioned to bid on other state contracts. Veteran-owned businesses are encouraged to register on COMMBUYS, the state’s online procurement system, where they can find out about public bidding opportunities.
MGC appreciates the attendance of representatives of the Small Business Administration, VETRN’s “Streetwise MBA Program”, the New England Veterans Chamber of Commerce and veteran-specific Volunteers of America programs. Additionally, MGC is grateful to Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor for their presentations about opportunities available at their properties.
We thank our veterans for their service to our country, and appreciate the unique skills and values they bring back to our Commonwealth and communities. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission hopes that veterans will spread the word about opportunities or business relationships in the expanded gaming industry.
View the MGC Veterans Small Business Forum