Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs Celebrates Veteran Entrepreneurs

2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs today co-hosted the 2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast with Prince George's Community College at their Largo campus. Over 125 members of the military and entrepreneurial communities attended the event which commemorates both National Military Appreication Month and National Small Business Appreciation Month.

“This is a perfect confluence of celebrations," said the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs Special Secretary Y. Maria Martinez. “Veterans are 45 percent more likely to own a small business and they possess the leadership qualities needed to succeed. We are honored to celebrate our veteran entrepreneurs."

The keynote address was delivered by Major General Janeen L. Birckhead. Serving as the 31st Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard, she leads a force of over 6,300 soldiers, airmen and federal and state employees.

“Our state proudly proclaims the bravery and sacrifice of our military men and women, especially this month, Military Appreciation Month," said Maj. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead, adjutant general for Maryland. “And, our state's commitment to veterans doesn't end with their time in uniform. Maryland is committed to helping our veterans transition their entrepreneurial efforts into successful business ventures when they return to civilian life."

During the program, several outstanding veteran small business owners were recognized by Governor Wes Moore for their service and entrepreneurial spirit. Governor's citations were presented to:

  • Vernon Irving of Admiral Elevator Company, Inc.
  • Jennifer Rios of Pinnacle Software Consulting, LLC
  • James Radford of Trust Consulting Services, Inc.
 Left to Right: Danielle Davis, Maj. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead, James Radford, Jennifer Rios, Kris Cumberland, Maria Martinez, Geoffrey Colbert

For the second consecutive year, the Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast was co-hosted by Prince George's Community College. The college is home to a robust Veterans Services Office which provides a variety of educational, financial, health, and employment services in addition to hosting an annual veteran business pitch competition.

Following the program, guests were able to connect with buyers from nine state agencies along with small business and veteran resource providers.


About the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs
As a Coordinating Office within the Executive Department, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs connects the small business community, including those firms owned by minorities, women, and veterans, to greater economic opportunities. Learn more by visiting our website at and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and X @goMDsmallbiz.  ​

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