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Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses


  • 09/01/2020 3:43 PM | Barron Mills

    Pivoting your company’s business model during this challenging time could mean the difference between your company’s continuity or closure. The R.I.S.E. program may but you need right now.  R.I.S.E (Resilience. Innovate. Sustain. Evaluate.) is a virtual, boot camp-style program focused on sustainability and tackles head-on topics such as the financial, operational, strategic planning and communication challenges small businesses are facing during these unprecedented times.

    Hosted by the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, part of Florida State University’s College of Business, and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, R.I.S.E. is a six-week program dedicated to small business owners, veteran business owners and military family business owners. Over the course of six weeks, participants will walk away with the tools and training needed to continue to pivot and grow their business during these challenging times. Topics include re-determining your company’s business model, content ideation, rebranding for reopening, determining a sustainable growth rate, strategic assessment and more.

    Applications close on 9 September and the program will run from 14 September to 23 October. Apply here. For additional information, check out this recent informative webinar about R.I.S.E. and join our next Virtual Town Hall on 3 September when this will be one of the entrepreneur/small business programs highlighted that afternoon.

  • 08/31/2020 7:25 PM | Barron Mills

    We have been pushing the CEO Mindset course offered by JULO Strategy for a full year now. Along with the great results being achieved by it's graduates, veteran business owners and CEOs (or other executive roles) in Florida can attend the Phase 1 at no-cost thanks to a grant provided by Veterans Florida. A dozen or more FAVOB members have gone through the program and we've gained members out of it as well thanks to our partnership with JULO Strategy to facilitate getting more veterans into the class.

    If you can give three hours every Wednesday evening for six weeks (plus some homework in between), then we highly recommend that you participate in this CEO Mindset course. This is really a rather easy way for business owners to invest in themselves. Please take a hard look at this right now and jump on it if you are tired of being your best/only employee, doing too much on your own, or not seeing the needed growth in revenue. Don't keep thinking that you are too busy to do CEO Mindset. The reason you are too busy is because your business is running you instead of you running your business. Learn to ADE yourself - Automate, Delegate, and Eliminate.

    CEO Mindset is currently presented as a virtual course and there are still some spots left for the class that starts on 9 September. Find our more about CEO Mindset here and apply here if interested. Applications close on 4 September. Please make sure you indicate that you heard about the course through FAVOB.

  • 08/30/2020 1:52 PM | Barron Mills

    The 8th Annual Startup of the Year Summit, produced by Established®, will take place virtually in November 2020. Application Deadline is 15 September 2020 at 11:59 PM PT.  Amongst the various awards is the U.S. Veteran Startup of the Year. In order to qualify, you must meet these qualifications:

    - All applying startups (all categories) must have the following at the time of application:

    • Have a founding date between 2014 and 2020
    • Have raised less than $5MM in funding
    • Be an independent company (not a subsidiary)
    • Have a working beta product or service

    - U.S. Veteran Startup of the Year applicants must meet these additional qualifications:

    • Veteran/veteran spouse-owned businesses located in the United States. Veterans must have served in the U. S. Armed Forces or The National Guard or be a spouse of a veteran of the U. S. Armed Forces or The National Guard
    • Active Military/military spouse/partner and qualifying household dependents located in the United States are also eligible
    • This award will be designated to an eligible "USA Only" military company
    • Minimum Age Requirement is 18 years old

    To learn more and to apply, please go here.

    Want to attend the virtual Summit in November? Sign up here to know when registration opens.

  • 08/30/2020 11:55 AM | Barron Mills

    The CARES Act is providing a significant amount of grant monies to support small businesses around the country. Specifically, many counties have recently set up grants strictly for veteran owned businesses. Miami-Dade County Government is one them and just opened up applications for $5M in available grant funds. To apply, go here The eligibility and application requirements are below. If you are a veteran owned business but not in Miami-Dade, then please check with your the small business office of your county as many counties are rolling out similar grants.

    From the application page:

    Initial Submission – applicant will be required to upload the following six (6) documents in order to determine eligibility (all documents must be in PDF form).

    Eligibility documents should be the most current and valid:

    1) 2019 tax return; if 2019 not available, submit 2018

    2) 941, RT-6, or signed statement from payroll company of number of employees

    3) Local Business Tax Receipt (Miami-Dade County and/ or Municipality)

    4) Veteran’s Affairs identification card

    5) Department of Defense Form 214.5 (DD214)

    6) Executed lease agreement or mortgage statement for establishment

    Reimbursable Expense Submission and Funding Setup – if eligible for the program, you will be required to itemize your expenses for each category and upload the supporting documentation. This information will be collected at a later time and you will be notified via email.

    - 100% Reimbursable Personal Protective Equipment – PPE purchases and other associated expenses necessary to comply with CDC guidelines or Miami-Dade County COVID-19 safety orders; proof of purchase via a receipt, or paid invoice

    - 80% Reimbursable Rent or Mortgage – proof of payment via a receipt, or cancelled check; if behind on payments, a notarized letter from landlord or lender stating how many months behind/default and to include specific dates is required

    - 50% Reimbursable Other Expenses – utility bills, licenses, insurance are allowable expenses needed to keep the business operational, and to safely meet local, state, and federal requirements; proof of payment via receipt, paid invoice, or cancelled check

    - Vendor establishment to get funded if approved – Applicant must upload a current and completed W-9 and a copy of the IRS Letter 147 C or any other official document from the IRS, State or Federal government that certifies the vendor name and FEIN (tax ID).

    After a complete application submission, it will be reviewed and a response will be provided via email of

    (1) an approval to include completion and return of the grant agreement and affidavit or

    (2) denied and the reason why.

    If you encounter submission issues, please send an email to or call (305) 375-3111.

  • 08/13/2020 3:12 PM | Barron Mills

    Leaving the military and deciding to offer your services to the government can be rewarding. Knowing how to navigate the government contracting space is essential. This section will cover opportunities for small and veteran-owned businesses to pursue government contracts. We will provide you an insight of what to expect if you are looking to work as a government contractor, advantages and disadvantages of doing business with the Government, the process to register to do business with the Government, where and how to look for opportunities, basic strategies for new businesses, and how teaming and subcontracting work on federal contracts.

    Learn from those who have walked in your shoes. Garth Arevalo is CEO of Lukos. Lukos is one of the most successful small businesses in the military special operations market. Prior to co-founding Lukos, he served on active duty for 12 years in the Air Force and at Special Operations Command as a Contracting Officer and then served another 8 years in the Air Force Reserve. He has worked supporting special operations forces throughout the world for most of his career. He has a BS-Business Administration from Georgetown University and an MS in Entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida. Garth and Lukos are also FAVOB members and an Operational Trustee Partner.

    Register HERE for this no-cost Zoom webinar

  • 08/06/2020 8:50 AM | Barron Mills

    Thank you to FAVOB member Lonnie Koyama for sharing this with our network. Check out this incredible virtual event for military spouse entrepreneurs on 19 August!

    The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) is hosting a virtual Military Spouse Entrepreneur Summit on Wednesday, 19 August, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. In collaboration with Second Lady Karen Pence and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, this event will inform aspiring and current military spouse entrepreneurs about FREE resources available to help them on their small business journey. Panel discussions will focus on SBA and partner resources, disaster preparedness, access to capital, government contracting, and more. Please help spread the word about this event to your local networks. For more information and to register, visit

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  • 07/23/2019 12:10 PM | Trish Murphy (Administrator)

    A U.S. Marine who fought in some of the most deadly and infamous World War II and Korean War battles, including the battle at Iwo Jima in Japan and North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir, recently celebrated his 100th birthday at the Pacifica Senior Living Center in Vista, California, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

    First Sgt. John Farritor, spent 30 years in Corps ― 20 on active duty and 10 in reserves, the Union-Tribune reported. He is one of the few surviving Marine veterans who in September 1942 marched 55 miles from Camp Elliott in San Diego to the newly opened Marine base near Oceanside, California.

    Celebrating his birthday in his dress blue uniform, Farritor was joined by a group of Marines from Camp Pendelton, California, July 9. Friends, senior center residents and Marines listened to Farritor’s Marine Corps experiences in a slideshow presentation by friend and a local historian Linda Dudik.

    Farritor sang along to his “Happy Birthday” song and said, according to the Union-Tribune: “I enjoyed the first 100 years. But I don’t know what I’ll do from here on out."

  • 03/08/2019 12:54 PM | Trish Murphy (Administrator)

    ORLANDO, Florida -- Barron Mills, a Central Florida-based community activist and leader, has been named the first-ever executive director of the Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses [FAVOB], Orlando Chapter Chairman Don Morrell announced.

    The hiring of Mills at the helm of the statewide veterans association is the first of its kind for what, until now, has been an all-volunteer nonprofit organization. However, the continuous growth of FAVOB -- whose membership now reaches 150 statewide -- led its leaders to create its first paid position. 

    "When the board interviewed Barron, it was clear to all that he has the passion, energy and expertise to grow FAVOB and increase our sphere of influence throughout the state of Florida," Morrell said. "Barron is a proven military and civilian leader, well known in the Florida veteran community. I am excited for the future of Florida's veterans!"

    Mills, who grew up as the son of a career Army officer, served in the Marine Corps for 20 years. His prior experiences include leading Marines on missions in the Mediterranean, Haiti, Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan; screening and evaluating Marine Corps officer candidates; building and then assisting a 3,000-man Iraqi infantry brigade; managing operations for a schoolhouse with 14 unique courses and 6,000 annual students; managing a $42M project to develop and sustain a command and control training system; managing a six-month collaborative effort of 12 distinct organizations and 50 subject matter experts to demonstrate a first-of-its-kind technological training capability to the Marine Corps; and managing a $7M annual contract with a staff of 60 personnel providing project management, logistics, instructional systems design, engineering, cost analysis, and administrative/operations support to the Marine Corps. His eclectic background includes a degree in chemistry and a master's in program management.

    "Florida veteran-owned businesses are very fortunate to have Barron Mills step up as our executive director," said Mack Sasser, chair of FAVOB's Spacecoast Chapter. "With Barron's tenacity and acumen, there is no doubt that he will take our efforts to the next level. Barron will create a long-needed, consistent, powerful voice and will be a catalyst in banding our fellow brother and sister veteran entrepreneurs together."

    Along with his new primary duties as FAVOB's executive director, Mills' activities include serving as: strategist and connector through his company in solution, LLC; board member for the Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation; vice president for the Central Florida Chapter of the First Marine Division Association; member of the Orlando Mission United Advisory Council; member of the University of Central Florida's Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative Advisory Board; member of the Valencia College Business Advisory Council; and mentor with the Camaraderie Foundation's Mentor Leadership Program and through  Mills is also a graduate of Leadership Orlando Class of '94.

  • 09/07/2018 8:59 PM | Trish Murphy (Administrator)

    The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016 was passed on December 16, 2016, to restore amounts improperly withheld for tax purposes from severance payments to individuals who retired or separated from service in the Armed Forces for combat-related injuries, and for other purposes.

    Since 1991, the Secretary of Defense improperly withheld taxes from severance pay for wounded veterans, thus denying them their due compensation and a significant benefit intended by Congress. Many veterans owed back taxes are beyond the statutory period to file an amended tax return because they were not or are not aware that taxes were improperly withheld.

    The Act requires the Secretary of Defense to notify those individuals who were impacted for tax purposes and provide them their information and instructions for filing amended tax returns to recover the amounts improperly withheld.  The Secretary has one year from the date of enactment (December 16, 2017) to do so.

    Veterans must act within one year of receiving the notification to claim their refunds.

    Those affected include veterans that received an increase in their percentage of disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs (which may include a retroactive determination) or combat-disabled veterans applying for, and granted, Combat-Related Special Compensation, after an award for Concurrent Retirement and Disability.

    The disabled veteran will need to file the amended return to claim a refund.  Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct a previously filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. An amended return cannot be e-filed. It must be filed as a paper return.  Disabled veterans should include all documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs and any information received from Defense Finance and Accounting Services explaining proper tax treatment for the current year.

    If needed, veterans should seek assistance from a competent tax professional before filing amended returns based on a disability determination. Refund claims based on an incorrect interpretation of the tax law could subject the veteran to interest and/or penalty charges.


    Some key points:

    1. The Secretary of Defense has until 12/16/2017 to notify all who have been affected; however, many may not receive their notification if their address in the DoD system is not current or for some other reason they did not receive their mail. 
    2. The veteran has one year from the time they are notified to file an amended tax return. 
    3. The general recommendation is that the veteran contact their CPA for guidance on amending their return. 

    If you need assistance with this, our treasurer can connect you with someone who can help.

  • 09/07/2018 8:58 PM | Trish Murphy (Administrator)

    At issue before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Howell v. Howell was the so-called veteran-offset and how it impacts a divorce settlement. This issue has been debated for years and became less of an issue when Congress waived the offset for certain cases. I previously wrote on the Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay that ended the offset for those whose disability rating is 50% or greater. What exactly is the offset?

    Disabled veterans were required to select either their full retirement compensation from the Department of Defense or their VA disability benefit with a reduced retirement annuity. This penalty became known as the VA offset. Many veterans choose the offset, however, because disability payments are tax free. Congress waived this offset in the 2003 and 2004 defense authorization bills. Now veterans with career-ending combat injuries or those with a disability rating of 50 percent or higher are allowed to concurrently receive both types of payments. Monday’s ruling began in 1991.

    Sandra Howell was awarded half of John Howell’s Air Force retirement pay when the couple divorced. In 2005, John, received a 20 percent disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and elected to waive $250 of his $1,500 per month in retirement pay, which is taxable, in favor of $250 monthly disability pay from the VA, which is not taxable. That reduced Sandra’s monthly divorce settlement by $125. Sandra went back to court, arguing that she should get half of what his retirement pay would have been if he had not opted for disability pay.


    John Howell’s attorney argued that Congress intended for veterans to keep their disability pay, as it fills the gap for pay they will no longer be able to make in the future. The goal of protecting a veteran’s pay is not temporal in nature, he said, meaning it has nothing to do with whether the veteran is eligible for disability before or after the divorce. He also argued that the court previously decided, in Mansell v.Mansell, that the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act did not permit state courts to treat retirement pay that had been waived to receive veterans’ disability benefits as something that could be divided.

    Sandra Howell’s lawyer tried to distinguish this case from Mansell because her ex-husband hadn’t waived his retirement pay until after the divorce settlement was finalized. But the Supreme Court ruled that state courts did not have the authority to take John’s disability benefits, regardless of its effect on his ex-wife.

    If you have questions concerning your military pay or how your military status impacts your legal issues call Don Morrell at the Kendrick Law Group at 407-641-5847. Don is a 30 year veteran and Accredited VA Attorney.


Creating opportunities for Veteran Business Owners to THRIVE.


Physical Address: 835 Bennett Rd. 
Orlando, FL 32803

Mailing Address: PO Box 540447 
Orlando, FL 32854-0447



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