Operation: Start Up & Grow

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Do you want to start a business? Expand your existing business? Find all the resources in one location at this FREE conference for veteran entrepreneurs! Operation: Start Up & Grow is the premier veterans business conference in Upstate New York for our veterans and members of the military community who want to start or expand their own small business. The half-day event includes breakout workshops, networking sessions with guest experts and exhibitors, award ceremony, free breakfast and lunch.

Questions? Interested in information for the 2017 conference? Please contact SBA at 315-471-9393 ext. 233.
Location: SRC Arena and Events Center,
4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, NY 13215-4585 (Free parking in Lot # 13)


The 2017 ONLINE REGISTRATION for attendees is now open! 

2017 VOBA Award Nominations Invited

Do you know of an exemplary veteran entrepreneur? The Syracuse District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration requests nominations for the Veteran-Owned Business Achievement (VOBA) Award to recognize the entrepreneurial success of a local business owner who has served our country.

The nominee must be a 51 percent small business owner with military service, in business for at least two years, a resident of the United States, and meet one or more of the following criteria: staying power; growth in employees or sales; current and past financial performance; innovativeness of service or product; response to adversity; and contributions to community-oriented projects. For complete details, please view the VOBA Award guidelines and be sure to submit all required forms (including DD 214, SBA Form 3300, SBA Form 3301, VOBA Award Form).

Additionally, the business must be located in one of the following Upstate New York counties: Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates.

Nomination packages must be postmarked by January 31, 2017 and sent to the U.S. Small Business Administration Syracuse District Office, 224 Harrison Street, Suite 506, Syracuse, NY, 13202. The winner will be presented with the award at the 2017 Operation: Start Up & Grow veterans’ business conference at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse on Thursday, March 16, 2017. 


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    • Allgaier Law Firm
    • Bellevue University
    • Berkshire Bank
    • Central New York International Business Alliance
    • Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board
    • City of Syracuse Office of Neighborhood and Business Development
    • Columbia College
    • Cooperative Federal Credit Union
    • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)
    • Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation (GSBDC)
    • Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University
    • Keller Williams Realty Syracuse
    • Key Bank
    • M&T Bank
    • New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC)
    • New York State Division of Veterans Affairs
    • North Country Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
    • NYS Office of General Services, Procurement Services Division
    • NYS OGS, Division of Service-Disabled Veterans' Business Development
    • Office of the NYS Comptroller
    • Onondaga County Office of Economic Development
    • Onondaga Employee Leasing Services, Inc.
    • Rapid Response Monitoring
    • SCSD Literacy Zone
    • Site-Seeker Inc
    • Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College
    • South Side Innovation Center
    • SRC
    • SUNY Upstate
    • Syracuse SCORE
    • Syracuse Vet Center
    • The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, Whitman School of Business
    • The Tech Garden
    • U.S. Small Business Administration
    • University College of Syracuse University
    • USDA Farm Service Agency
    • USDA Rural Development
    • VA Network Contracting Office
    • Watertown Vet Center
    • WISE Women's Business Center

    Interested in exhibiting at this great conference? Please contact Dan Rickman at daniel.rickman@sba.gov or 315-471-9393 ext. 250.

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    2017 AGENDA
    8:15-8:45 Registration, Continental Breakfast & Networking with Exhibitors
    8:45-9:00 Opening Ceremonies
    9:00-9:05 Welcome

    Keynote Address ~ Matthew Griffin, USA veteran, Combat Flip Flops CEO

    9:35-9:55 Rapid Response Elevator Pitch Competition for Existing Veteran-Owned Businesses
    • Connections Central with Business Experts
    • Networking with Exhibitors
    • The Black Box of Small Business Financing Workshop
    • Tools to Increase Market Share Workshop
    • Government Contracting Workshop
    10:45 Networking with Exhibitors
    • Connections Central with Business Experts
    • Networking with Exhibitors
    • Defining Your Marketing Mix Workshop
    • Contracting Panel- Ask the Agencies
    • Ask the Attorneys Workshop
    12:00 Lunch Buffet

    Award Presentations: 2017 Veteran-Owned Business Achievement Award,
    2017 Rapid Response Elevator Pitch Competition Awards, and FY 2016 SBA Patriot
    Lender of the Year Award

    12:35 Emcee Interview with Jason Young, USAF Veteran, Clark's Steakhouse owner
    • Connections Central with Business Experts
    • Networking with Exhibitors
    • Building Your Business Plan Workshop (Startups)
    • Hiring Your Team Workshop (Existing Businesses)
    2:00 Conclusion


    2017 SPEAKERS
      photo of Matthew Griffin

    Matthew “Griff” Griffin is a 2001 United States Military Academy graduate commissioned into the Field Artillery. Between 2003-2005, Griff deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan with 2d Ranger Battalion as a Company Fire Support Officer. He planned and participated in over 100 special operations direct action missions.  After departing the military in 2006 as a captain, Griff worked in the defense sector that eventually led him back to Afghanistan to assist with medical infrastructure development.  After witnessing the positive effects of economic growth in conflict areas, Griff co-founded Combat Flip Flops with a fellow Ranger and began the mission to manufacture peace through trade.  

      Barbara Carson photo

    Ms. Barbara Carson joined the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in Washington, D.C, in June 2013.  She is the Associate Administrator for the Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD), which aims to empower Veteran entrepreneurship. In this role, Ms. Carson oversees the OVBD team in formulating, implementing, administering and promoting policies and programs that equip veteran, service member (active duty, National Guard, Reserve), and military spouse owned small businesses with counseling and education, access to capital, and contracting opportunities.  

    Ms. Carson brings a unique perspective and first-hand insight to her position. She is currently a Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserve, with more than 20 years military experience, assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs. Additionally, during a family military assignment to Japan in 2006, Ms. Carson embarked on her first entrepreneurial adventure where she co-developed an outdoor personal training business with another military veteran. 

























    Cosponsorship Agreement # 17-0248-29. SBA's participation in this cosponsored activity in not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs or cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact SBA at 315-471-9393.