Small Business Resources Reserved for Veterans
To serve. Few know the meaning of that phase better than veterans. Serving our nation takes discipline, commitment and grit. Turns out, those are the same qualities that serve successful small business owners too. So it’s no surprise that veteran-owned small businesses account for over $1 trillion in annual sales. If you’re a veteran or you know someone who is, here are some resources to help you be in command of your own small business.
Move from Boots to Business
Is entrepreneurship for you? The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers this two-part course. It’s part classroom and part online study. It helps vets explore business ownership and provides a foundation to build a business plan.
Enlist as a Franchisee
Owning a franchise gives you immediate access to an established brand and customer base. They often provide the SOP manual to running a successful business. The organization, VetFran, can help you determine if franchising is a good fit for you. There are some franchisees, like Batteries Plus Bulbs, that offer special discounts and benefits for vets. Here’s a list of others.
Start with Provisions
Start-up funding can be a challenge for any business owner. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to vets. Access Financing is a web-based tool. It helps veterans (and others) locate specific sources of loans and grants for their state and industry. The Veteran’s Opportunity Fund is a venture capital fund. It focuses on funding east-coast, veteran-owned businesses. The SBA’s Veteran’s Advantage Loan Program speeds up applications for government-backed loans.
Recon with Experts
The Veteran Fast Launch Initiative provides training and mentoring to vets. That includes free business workshops, business calculators, templates and spreadsheets. And you get five hours of free advice from a CPA. Bunkers Labs provides education, mentoring and funding to military entrepreneurs. They offer peer-to-peer learning opportunities at their “bunker” labs located in nine U.S. locations.
Join the Ranks
V-WISE is a three-phase program for women veterans with entrepreneurial goals. It starts as a 15-day online experience on the basics of business. Then participants participate in a three-day conference. Graduates are connected with a support network focused on small business.
Given the right opportunities, veterans can become successful small business owners. With resources like these, they can continue to serve their customers and their communities.