When SILS Master's students in the library science track envision their future careers, most anticipate working in either academic or public library settings. SILS alumna Vesselina Stoytcheva (MSLS 1999) chose instead to look to the world of small business and the opportunities it provides to professional knowledge workers with backgrounds in library science who have a willingness to take financial risks.
In her 1999 Master's paper, "A model business plan for a start-up of an information brokering company,” Stoytcheva outlined the structure of a fictitious small business. She eventually used this business plan to start her own company, VNS Group, which specializes in information management and business services. Incorporating VNS Group in 2002 allowed Stoytcheva to pioneer a library-based brand of information services currently in high demand.
Most recently, her firm was awarded a contract in Nebraska with Offutt Air Force Base's Thomas S. Power Library. As part of the contract, VNS Group staff will oversee all facets of the library's operation. "We honor this opportunity to assist and support Offutt AFB servicemen and their families," said Stoytcheva. "VNS Group appreciates the work of the library staff, under the direction of Becky Sims, which led to the library winning the 2010 Air Combat Command Library of the Year Award. The company is dedicated to maintaining and increasing this level and quality of service."
Since its inception, VNS Group has gone on to receive numerous small business awards, including the 2006 Minority Business of the Year Award in Charles County, Maryland, as well as a Maryland Top 100 Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprises Award.
Notable clients of VNS Group include the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Geographic Society.