CVMD hosts Vet Biz Rally Point Summit

Lorenzo Rios speaks during the Vet Biz Rally Point Summit. (Photo Jesus Cano, Clovis Roundup)

Start Up, Scale Up and Succeed.

That’s the motto used during the Vet Biz Rally Point Summit, which was held on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District in Old Town.

The purpose was to help veterans and the spouses of veterans who want to start or grow their current business.

“We hope that today’s not the end,” Dawn Golik, District Director at U.S. Small Business Administration said. “Today was the first step and what we hope will be more steps that you’ll take to either start-up or scale up your business if you’re a veteran.”

“No man left behind, no woman left behind and no business left on their own to figure anything out,” she added. 

Panelists were invited to the event to discuss counseling, training and technical assistance, along with local business lenders regarding funding and loan government contracting.

Derrick Smith comes from a family of veterans and has hopes of one day opening a small business. He found out about the event through a social media advertisement and immediately thought it would be a great way to take the first step in planning for the future.

“I left with a lot more knowledge than when I entered the room,” he said.

“I think it’s amazing that the Clovis Veterans Memorial District puts on events like this not just for veterans, but for the family of veterans themselves,” Smith said. “They basically are setting us up and providing an amazing support system.”

The event also featured a speech from Lorenzo Rios, CEO of The Clovis Veterans Memorial District, and Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.

As a veteran, he wants to set up those who have served for success, especially somewhere like the Central Valley. 

“The Central Valley needs a new message. This Central Valley is not the valley of the broken and those who couldn’t make it,” Rios said. “We realize the opportunity that we have today to build on tradition of excellence and look to the future with a smile saying, ‘Bring it’.”

This was the first event they had but hope to see a much bigger crowd at the next one.

“The next rally point will be bigger. I won’t call it better because I thought it was fantastic today,” Rios said. “Now that you no longer wear the uniform. I need you to serve by serving as a great role model in your community.”

Jesús Cano
Jesús Cano spent five years covering high school sports in the Bay Area, which included bylines in the Mercury News, East Bay Times and Brentwood Press. Jesús transferred to Fresno State in 2020 to pursue his education in journalism and hopes one day be a beat reporter covering a professional sports team. He is originally from Pittsburg (No H), California, a suburb community in the Bay Area.