These Government and Private Resources Offer Veteran Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Business Owners an Edge
Franchises praise veterans as franchisees because they are skilled in collaborating, following a system, and hanging tough even when the going gets rough. Although veterans are already equipped with many crucial tools for entrepreneurship, here are some programs that can further buoy the success of veterans who own or want to own small businesses and franchises.
- Three Small Business Administration programs are geared to veterans. 1) Veteran Business Outreach Centers help veterans find vital business training and advice in their communities. Through this program, veterans learn to create a viable business plan and analyze its strengths and weaknesses. Twenty-plus organizations have partnered with the outreach centers in 10 regions that serve most of the nation. 2) Boots to Business offers two-day in-person classroom and online training courses on useful start-up information such as writing a sound business plan. Once participants complete the introductory program, they can take a Revenue Readiness online course. 3) Its SDVOSBC program helps service-disabled veteran-owned businesspeople who seek to land federal contracts.
- The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has two key forms of assistance. Its VetBiz website helps veterans find contracts for which they receive preferential treatment; women may find its Women Veteran Owned Small Business Initiative especially helpful. The VA’s Veteran Entrepreneur Portal, part of the federal department’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, has a wide range of assistance, including business education and financing opportunities.
- VetFran, a program of the International Franchise Association, has a two-fold purpose. It educates military veterans and franchisors about the benefits that veterans bring to business ownership and eases veterans’ transition into franchising.
- The nonprofit Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) nurtures veteran business owners, including service-disabled veterans who own businesses. Its assistance includes helping these veterans network with government agencies and vet-friendly corporations.
- Syracuse University’s Institute for Veteran and Military Families helps former members of the military to enter the civilian workforce or start businesses. Syracuse University also founded the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) and the EBV’s Foundation for Veterans with Disabilities, which offers experiential training that helps post-9/11 veterans. Through this EBV program, veterans with service-related disabilities learn vital business management skills; the program’s graduates also are eligible for grants and can receive assistance in creating business plans and more.
- SCORE, which is made up of expert business people who volunteer as mentors, assists via its Veteran Fast Launch Initiative. The program trains and mentors veterans who are entrepreneurs, plus gives them software, training and advice in areas including sources for funding. SCORE has chapters in all states and offers one-on-one coaching to veterans.
- The National Veteran-Owned Business Association, or NaVOBA, has two missions: It encourages large companies to do businesses with smaller vendors owned by veterans, and it monitors the awarding of federal contracts set aside for veterans to be sure they are awarded properly.
- VetToCEO, a free virtual veteran-designed program, helps to transition military personnel and veterans explore entrepreneurship. The core curriculum is a two-hour session one night per week for seven weeks.
- The National Veteran Small Business Coalition helps veteran-owned businesses go after federal contracts. This veterans-helping-veterans organization specializes in networking.
- The General Services Administration’s 21 Gun Salute Initiative aims to meet or exceed the quota of setting aside 3% of federal contracts to service-disabled small-business owners.
- Vetrepreneur Mentoring helps vets accomplish a range of success tactics such as registering as contractors and building websites.
- V-Wise, short for Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, provides mentoring and various other resources to female veterans who own or want to own businesses.
- Veterans and spouses comprise the nonprofit network Bunker Labs, which assists veteran families in starting and growing an enterprise. Bunker Labs, which has more than five dozen resource partners, has online courses, mentorships and local chapter events.
- A Techstars program, Patriot Boot Camp helps veterans, active-duty military personnel and their spouses develop technology companies. Patriot Boot Camp’s central event focuses on free education, training and mentorship.
- Veterans operate the VetBizCentral website that helps and advocates on behalf of active-duty military entrepreneurs and veterans. It does so through training and counseling as well as networking and mentoring.