President and founder of IT consulting firm advocates on behalf of veteran-owned small businesses, promotes collaborative opportunities
SANTA ANA, CA – Jeff Estep, President and Founder of Heritage Global Solutions, an IT consulting firm, has been selected to receive the Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year Award from the Small Business Administration. Estep, a resident of San Juan Capistrano, was nominated for the award by Alice Lei, Founder of Asian Women Entrepreneurs, in recognition of his contributions to increase business opportunities for veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Estep, who first won at the District level, went on to secure wins at the State of California and Region IX level, representing California, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona and Guam.
Estep, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Marine Corps veteran, has over 30 years of experience in IT consulting and staffing gained while working in senior sales management positions for a variety of large companies. He formed Heritage Global Solutions in 2003 at the suggestion of his tribal chief, eventually joining and becoming an active member of the Elite Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (Elite SDVOB) Network and the California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Alliance (DVBE Alliance).
Some of the actions Estep has taken to increase opportunities for veteran business owners include direct referrals to contracting officers, such as in the case of Reuben Chato, a combat-wounded Navy veteran and clothing entrepreneur who was connected to the appropriate contracting officer at the Armed Forces Exchange regarding a contract for clothing. Estep has also served on panels for the California DVBE Alliance, the Native American Veterans Association, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, and the Reservation Economic Summit, advising attendees about subcontracting opportunities, explaining the procurement process, and discussing expectations regarding cost, quality, performance, and on-time delivery.
As a member of these organizations, Estep has championed legislative and regulatory action designed to help veteran-owned small businesses, eventually testifying in a Congressional hearing on the subject of veterans claims and participating in a listening session held by SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.
Estep and his management team visit the Wounded Warrior Battalion in Balboa, San Diego every few months, where they assist young disabled veterans in resume development, job search advice, and discuss the advantages of small business ownership. Over the holidays each year, Jeff and the California DVBE Alliance business owners pay for bus transportation to transport Wounded Warriors to his company’s holiday party at the Queen Mary. Estep also supports the ANGLICO Association as a former member of this unit, sending “goody bags” to deployed servicemembers.
Estep’s company, Heritage Global Solutions, Inc. is the founder of the Native American Veterans Business Network (NAVBIZ). In 2009, SBA awarded Heritage Global Solutions a contract to conduct education and outreach directed to Native American Veteran business owners. Under this contract, Estep was able to reach more than 1000 veterans at 10 locations across the U.S. Estep graduated from the first SBA Emerging 200 Initiative program offered by the Santa Ana District Office, eventually speaking at the second program’s graduation, giving an empowering talk about his growth experiences.
Estep will be honored alongside other small business champions and business owners at the 49th Annual Small Business Week Awards Celebration, hosted by the SBA’s Santa Ana District Office on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 from 11:30am to 2:00pm at the City National Grove of Anaheim. For information about the event, please contact Doug Dare at (714) 560-7467. To RSVP, please visit www.49thannualsbwawards.eventbrite.com.