Access Denied!
This module is private, please login to access this module.


Now Accepting Applications for 2019 - Class Date: TBA 


 Download the VIP START Flyer

VIP START is a 3-day, 27-hour comprehensive certification program designed for veteran-owned businesses that want to enter or expand their business growth into the federal marketplace through best business practices. VIP START is offered at no cost to participants.

Note: VIP START does not focus on teaching how to start a business; rather, it focuses on how to do business with the government.
Since the program launched in 2016, 292 Veteran-Owned Small Businesses have graduated from VIP START. To view a Recap of the October 2018 - Pilot Program of two sessions:    VIP START October 2018 Class Photos Link
Scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of frequently asked questions.


There are over 20 topics taught by highly experienced industry and government professionals with a focus on accelerating your success in the Federal market through best business practices. Examples include:

  • Elements that have to be in place in order to do business with a PRIME or Government
  • Strategic Planning in the Federal Market
  • Accounting / Budgets / Developing Rates Compliance
  • Cyber Security
  • Contracting – Sub-Contracting/ RFP/ RFI
  • Operational Program Controls
  • Financing / Capital Management / Banking
  • Human Resources Management
  • Business Insurance
  • Marketing / Business Development / Proposals

Eligibility Requirements 

Participating companies must be

  1. An owner, principal or C-level executive for a veteran-owned business;
  2. In business for at least 1 year;
  3. The company has generated revenue in the past year; and
  4. The company has owner or executive that is working full-time as a W2 employee.

VIP START Statistics

Since its launch in April 2016, 292 companies have graduated VIP START.  On average, VIP START graduates companies are in business for 5 years with 2 full-time employees

  • 75% are Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business
  • 70% are Minority-Owned Business
  • 22% are Small-Disadvantaged Business 8(a)
  • 29% are Woman-Owned Business
  • 14% are HUBZone

72% of applicants had never worked on a Federal Contract (including as a Prime or sub-contractor) prior to VIP START

Attendance requirement

Attendance is required to graduate from a session. If a participant misses more than 3 hours, their enrollment in the session will be terminated and they will be charged the cancellation fee.

Cancellation policy

Upon acceptance into the VIP Program participants must provide a credit card to secure their spot. VIP participants will not be charged for services outlined above. The credit card will only be used if the VIP participant cancels their participation in the program after the date that is noted in their acceptance email. Cancelations must be received in writing to Charges are $500 for day package participants and $1000 for overnight participants.


  • How many VIP START graduates are there?

    VIP START launched in April 2016 and has graduated 292 Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.

  • Do I have to live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to participate?

    No, VIP enrollment is open nationwide.

  • How much does it cost to attend VIP?

    VIP is offered at no cost to participants. *The Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation (MCCCF) funds this program through a public-private partnership made up of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), support from the State of Maryland and private sponsorships. 

    *Travel expenses are not covered.

  • In addition to attending VIP sessions, what else is included in enrollment?

    Travel expenses are not covered. Enrollment includes the cost of the following during each session:

    Day package includes the following:

    • 27 hours of Instruction
    • Breakfast on Tuesday
    • Lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 
    • Access to snack break-out rooms on all three days
    • 2 Admissions to the Graduation Reception at the conclusion of the program on Thursday

    (Please note, individuals can request to secure nights and additional meals at their own expense)

    Overnight package includes the following:

    • 27 hours of instruction
    • 3 nights lodging: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights
    • Meals: breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; Dinner: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
    • Access to snack break-out rooms on all three days
    • 2 Admissions to the Graduation Reception at the conclusion of the program on Thursday

    The Bolger Center submits a hotel confirmation direct to each overnight participant within 2 weeks of arrival date. Individuals can request additional nights and meals at their own expense.

    Note: Travel expenses to and from the Bolger Center are the sole responsibility of participants.

  • What if I have to miss a part of the session?

    Attendance is required to graduate. If a participant misses more than 3 hours, their enrollment in the program will be terminated and a cancellation fee will apply.

  • How many applicants can be enrolled in a VIP session?

    Class size is limited to 50 individuals per session (one representative per company).

  • Can my company attend a VIP program more than once?

    No, not from the same program. VIP graduates companies, not individuals, therefore, your company may only attend/graduate from each VIP program (START, GROW or INTERNATIONAL) only once.

  • What is presented to each VIP graduate upon completion of the program?

    A certificate of completion is provided to each graduate. Graduates will also receive access to the online VIP Marketplace (an online tool keyword search tool) for the closed community for all alumni, government partners and prime contractors.

  • What are the upcoming dates?

    VIP  START Dates:  TBA for 2019

  • Where is VIP held?

    Location: The Bolger Hotel and Conference Center
                 9600 Newbridge Drive
                 Potomac, MD 20854-4436

  • How do I apply for the program?

    The application is online. Acceptance into the class is made based on eligibility on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete the online application to be considered for the next session:

    • VIP START: Go to the application to apply for the upcoming class.

    Who are the class instructors?

    Government Contracting experts and business leaders from industry and government are the instructors. 

The unauthorized use of audio or video equipment is not permitted at any VIP session.