After retiring in 2014, Major Emmett Roberts began networking throughout the U.S. to gain insight into federal contracting and help develop his business. But he quickly noticed one key similarity in most of his discussions—the lack of resources available for veteran-owned businesses.
“I’ve talked to individuals around the country, I’ve been to every conference you can name, and I hear what people are saying—nobody is investing the time to show veterans how to win,” said the U.S. Army veteran.
With this realization, Roberts decided to sacrifice the success of his business to support a larger group of veterans. Knowing that his skills and services could be beneficial in his home state of Maryland, he collaborated with fellow local veterans and launched the Maryland Veterans Chamber of Commerce (MDVCC) in May 2018.
“One thing I know about veterans is that they will come together to support the success of other veterans and the success of MDVCC will make the state of Maryland even better,” said Roberts. “I’m confident that this organization is necessary to support the success of veteran business owners.”
MDVCC provides education for business owners and helps give back to the local economy by supporting entrepreneurial activity throughout the state. The chamber offers a 24-month training program comprised of several different steps to ensure entrepreneurs learn the fundamental principles of owning and operating a business in Maryland. The organization is part of the United States Veterans Chamber of Commerce, which includes 27 independent state chapters across the country.
“Our incubation program helps those who have business ideas. Participants join our training program and find out who they are—they build their concept, go through business registration, learn about branding, and more,” said Roberts. “Every veteran who wants to run a business can join our program and prepare themselves.”
For the past 18 months, Roberts has worked to grow MDVCC’s network in Maryland and fulfill its mission of helping veterans, veteran-owned businesses, and their families. His goal for the next five years is to see the group and its trainees collectively generate more than $1 million in revenue for their individual companies. He would also like to collaborate with a number of Maryland’s educational institutions to help grow the veteran training program even more.
"Our goal is to make sure veterans are better equipped to run a business than ever before,” he said.