BWG Reaches Small Business Milestone With VIP Grow



Helping Veteran-Owned Small Business Navigate Government Contracting at No Cost

BLAKE WILLSON GROUP (BWG), a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) CPA firm recently completed the Veteran Institute Procurement (VIP) GROW Program, a comprehensive training and certification program that helps veteran-owned businesses strengthen their ability to win government contracts and do business with both military and civilian agencies they once served in uniform.


On June 23, 2016, BWG alongside 47 other businesses from 14 states and the District of Columbia graduated from the VIP GROW Program. Upon graduation, RJ Blake, BWG President and CEO was presented a congressional citation by Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia’s 8th District on behalf of the company signifying a momentous day for the company.

After receiving the citation, Mr. Blake, stated, “We are honored to receive the VIP GROW certification and congressional citation. After all the networking and opportunities for guidance offered by the VIP program, I am confident BWG is now armed with the requisite knowledge and acumen to achieve our long-term goals in the government contracting industry. I highly recommend the VIP GROW program to all veteran-owned business looking for a leg up on the competition. I am extremely thankful for the selfless and dedicated men and women that deliver the program to benefit veterans like myself.”

The first program of its kind in the nation, VIP GROW is conducted by professional subject-matter specialists in the essentials necessary to win government contracts: law, accounting, insurance, human resources, marketing and proposals. It also provides participants with access to Federal and prime contracting executives along with a national network of veteran owned small businesses that they can team with on opportunities.

Since its launch in 2009, VIP GROW has helped 638 service-disabled and veteran-owned small businesses grow.  A survey of 255 of the program’s graduates determined that 2915 new jobs were created and the size of their businesses increased by an average of 51% within a year of graduating from the Institute. More than 81% of surveyed graduates credited VIP GROW for equipping them to make recent business decisions and avoid unseen pitfalls. Additionally, veteran-owned businesses are more likely to hire, mentor and train other war veterans as they transition to private life, which is a national priority.

In regards to the goals of VIP GROW, Barbara Ashe, President of Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation stated, “we are honored to give back to the men and women who served our country by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed as government contractors. We hope this training fosters their success as businesses and employers.”


VIP GROW is a three-day, 27-hour comprehensive certification program. Participants must be a C-level leader in a Veteran-owned small business operating for at least two years with a minimum of 3 full time employees, and experience working on government contracts as a prime and/or sub-contractor to a prime. With volunteer instructors and at no cost to participants, VIP GROW is fully funded by the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation, partners, and VIP sponsors.

For information on Blake Willson Group: Andrew Griffin, 919-796-1170;

For information on VIP: Barbara Ashe, 301-738-0015 x215;

For additional information, please visit or the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation.

OPEN YOUR HEART! – A Son’s Effort to Combat Heart Disease

open-your-heartDid you know heart disease is the #1 killer of all Americans? In fact, someone dies from heart disease every 39 seconds! Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined is the most common cause of infant death.

Recently, Drew Griffin – Vice President of Blake Willson Group LLC, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Government Consulting firm spoke about his family’s experience with heart disease at the Open Your Heart Committee’s most recent fundraising reception. Open Your Heart is a Washington, DC based group affiliated with the American Heart Association (AHA) charged with socializing healthy-living awareness as well as raise research dollars to help fund new breakthrough medical procedures.

Drew lost his beloved father, Jeff Griffin in 2009 after a long, hard-fought battle with heart disease where he witnessed his father not only suffer a massive heart attack at 25 years old, stroke at 44 and heart transplant at 52 but also see him withstand it all with grace. Even through trying times, Jeff was not one to complain, taking each step in stride. He often made light of his health issues by saying he had been beyond and back and was living on borrowed time. Jeff focused his energy on helping others through his work as a pastor and financial advisor. He cherished giving back. He was a loving husband for 31 years and father to three sons. He shared a close bond with his sons and never wavered in pursuit of seeing them grow up. Simply put, he was their biggest fan. Although he passed on August 22nd, 2009 at 57 years old, his presence is still felt through the mark left on those he shared time with.

Fast forward to 2012, Drew along with the help of family and friends started ‘Team Beyond and Back’ to help combat heart disease along with cope with the loss of Jeff and to date have raised over $25,000 with hopes to one day surpass the $100,000 mark.

After last week’s Open Your Heart fundraising reception held at All Set, a Silver Spring, MD based New England-style seafooder, Jesse Garchik, AHA’s Director of Development for their Mid-Atlantic Affiliate stated, “Drew’s story impacted everyone in attendance. It was extremely heart-breaking but also uplifting at the same time. His purpose is simple, to encourage engagement as that’s what will eliminate heart disease and like the heart transplant that prolonged his father’s life 5 extra years; find the next life-saving medical procedure to do the same for someone else. After Drew effectively engaged the audience through powerful story-telling and deliberate humor, the group raised over $2,000 towards the AHA mission and are well on their way to reaching its $280,000 goal by the end of February 2016.

If you’d like to join AHA’s mission partners, please click Open Your Heart to participate with thousands of others like Drew as they fight to eliminate heart disease for future generations.