Operation: Start Up & Grow

OSUAG save the date image

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. 

Interested in sponsoring this conference for veterans and the military community? Please contact Cathy Pokines at cathy.pokines@sba.gov or 315-471-9393 ext. 241. For complete details, please view the event sponsorship flyer PDF.

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


OSUAG photo 1

OSUAG photo 2OSUAG photo 3

8:30-8:55 Registration, Continental Breakfast & Networking with Exhibitors
8:55-9:05 Opening Ceremonies
9:10-9:15 Welcome

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

  • 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 Presentation: 2017 Veteran-Owned Business Achievement 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


  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.  Griff serves as the Operations Officer for Team 5 as a means of continued global service.































 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.