After courageously serving our country as part of the Armed Forces, upon re-integrating back into civilian life many Veterans decide to launch (or re-launch) a small business, so they can continue making a meaningful impact and contribution.
However, just like other groups of entrepreneurs, generally speaking Veterans have key strengths and talents that can certainly be cultivated for a business context — such as leadership, discipline, integrity, work ethic, and the list goes on — and they also have challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome, such as understanding issues like business financing, business taxes, marketing, recruiting, and so on.
If you’re a Veteran looking to make your mark (perhaps not for the first time) in on the small business landscape, here are some excellent resources to point you in the right direction:
- The Small Business Administration
The SBA offers a wealth of resources to help you plan, launch and run a successful small business. For example, you’ll find tips and templates for business plans, preparing business taxes, finding a business mentor, and more. There is also some information on small business loans for Veterans.
However, keep in mind that the SBA loan application process can be quite time consuming, bad credit could be a deal-breaker, and annual budgets typically dry up by late summer each year. You may find it more effective to explore the alternative lending marketplace, where some private lending firms offer specialized loan programs for Veterans. Learn more at https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/how-start-business/business-types/veteran-owned-businesses.
- The Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) is an acclaimed program launched by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. The 3-phase program includes a 30-day online course, followed by a 9-day residency and 12-months of mentorship support. If you’re accepted into the program, your travel expenses, accommodations, meals, textbooks, program materials, and all other associated costs will be covered. Learn more at http://ebv.vets.syr.edu/veterans.
- Coalition for Veteran Owned Business
The Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB) is a non-profit advocacy group that exclusively serves Veteran-owned businesses, and businesses owned by the spouses of Veterans. Once you register your small business in the CVOB’s database (there is no cost to do this), you can network with corporations that have made a commitment to helping grow Veteran-owned businesses. Learn more at http://veteranbusinesscoalition.org.
The Bottom Line
Veterans who launch successful small businesses do more than just grow the economy and create good jobs here in the U.S. They also demonstrate the kind of commercial, civic and community leadership we need to ensure that business is done the right way: through dedication, integrity, hard work and commitment to service. The resources above can help you be part of this legacy, and eventually help lead the way forward.