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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

NC portraits: Veteran-supported businesses

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With eight active military bases across the state, it’s no surprise there’s a large military population in North Carolina. Fort Bragg alone, which is set to be renamed Fort Liberty in June, is one of the largest military bases in the world by population. The veteran population and veteran-owned businesses are a major driver for the state’s economy, as you’ll read in the following profiles. Organizations across the state are focused on supporting and hiring veterans as well as helping them develop their own businesses. 


SMART BUSINESS

The North Carolina Military Business Center was created by the General Assembly in 2004
with the goal of leveraging military and other business opportunities to grow businesses, jobs and the defense economy across the state. 

Since then, Executive Director Scott Dorney states the organization has helped businesses bring more than $17 billion in federal revenue into the state. Just last year, the NCMBC played a role in helping contractors win 530 prime contracts, which contributed to the $8.93 billion in federal contracts awarded to businesses in North Carolina.   

The state entity considers itself a business development organization. While part of its focus is ensuring the veterans transitioning out of the eight North Carolina military bases stay in the state to contribute to the economy, a large part of their work is helping small and other businesses win federal prime and subcontracts.

“Prior to establishing the NCMBC, what was missing in growing defense contracting was someone to connect defense opportunities to our business capacity, and to provide technical support to help great businesses win,” Dorney says. 

He’s quick to clarify that he and his team are not responsible for winning the contracts — they’re won because the business chosen has the best product or the best service at the best price.  But the NCMBC plays a supporting role in getting more businesses registered to bid, competing for and successfully executing federal contracts that make sense for their businesses.   

Each contract won means more jobs and an expanding business community in North Carolina, including veteran-owned and veteran-operated businesses. It’s a win-win, but Dorney says businesses need to register with the NCMBC’s public facing database (www.MatchForce.org) to reap the benefits, no matter what their business does.

“Some might think they can’t be government contractors, or that the government does not buy what they sell,” he says. “Whether they’re making weapons, painting houses, or selling ice cream, there’s no doubt the government buys it — and wants to do business with small businesses in North Carolina.” 



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