Ahead of Veterans Day, Gov. Ron DeSantis recognized the state’s 1.5 million veterans in honor of the holiday that dates back more than 100 years to the end of World War I.
The Governor, himself a Navy veteran, extended “greetings and best wishes” to those who have served in uniform for the nation. He was assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, including in Guantanamo and Iraq, during his active-duty service.
“Florida will always honor and support the selfless sacrifices and courage of our military spouses, children and families,” the Governor wrote in his proclamation.
He also recognized veteran-owned small businesses and resources connecting those businesses to growth opportunities in a separate memo. The Governor’s Office highlighted state agencies Tuesday that provide those resources while encouraging business owners to take advantage of them.
“We continue working to ensure Florida remains the most veteran-friendly state, offering programs that support Florida’s hardworking, well-trained, and skilled veterans who make great contributions toward Florida’s workforce and economy,” DeSantis said in the press release.
Highlighted agencies include the Department of Economic Opportunity and its Florida Defense Cybersecurity Training Program, funded through a U.S. Defense Department grant worth more than $1 million. Together with FloridaMakes, the program provides training and technical assistance to defense contractors in the state to help them meet new cybersecurity standards.
“We are proud to support veteran-owned businesses who call Florida their home and use their unique skills to create jobs and opportunities for families throughout our state,” DEO Executive Director Dane Eagle said. “Florida is leading the way by providing multiple avenues for veteran entrepreneurs to utilize these resources to help create and grow their businesses.”
The Department of Management Services also certifies veteran-owned businesses to raise their profile with the state. Beginning in January, veteran-owned businesses will gain access to discounted surplus federal equipment through DMS’ Federal Property Assistance program.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida supports the prosperity of Florida-based veteran-owned business – providing real growth opportunities for our men and women in uniform that return to civilian life and start a business here in our state,” DMS Secretary Jonathan Satter said.
Prospective business owners can find information, including how to start a business and tax information, in the Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services.
“The Florida Department of State is proud to support the men and women who have served our country, and we work to ensure that it’s easy to start a veteran-owned business in Florida,” Secretary of State Laurel Lee said.
Through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, honorably discharged veterans and their spouses can receive full fee waivers for state license applications. Active duty members and their spouses can also receive fee waivers to keep licenses up to date during deployment, and veterans seeking licenses with experience earned during their service also receive waivers.
The Military Personnel, Veterans and Military Licensing Fee Waiver Program last year saved more than 2,400 service members and spouses a combined $175,000.
“Florida has a veteran-friendly environment and supports the prosperity and opportunities for veterans and their families through DBPR’s license fee waivers,” DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears said. “Our team is committed to providing the best quality service to those who have served our country and their families.”
The Department of Transportation’s Small Business Program invests in veteran-owned businesses to boost competition and foster an environment to help those businesses grow. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year alone, the department spent $206 million with veteran-owned businesses.
“We are forever thankful for the service of our veterans and remain dedicated to continuing our investment in veteran-owned businesses throughout the state,” FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault said.
Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization, has a Minority, Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Capital division with opportunities available to veterans. Commerce Secretary and Enterprise Florida President and CEO Jamal Sowell is also a Marine Corps veteran.
“My fellow veterans should know Florida is the place for them to live out their American Dream by owning a business and achieving the impossible,” Sowell said.