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Helping to Support Our Troops When They Return Home

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Helping to Support Our Troops When They Return Home

By bridgetwpollack, Guest Blogger
Published: November 27, 2012 Updated: November 28, 2012

On November 11, we took the time out of our day to thank those who serve and protect our nation.  However, our nation owes it to them to show them our gratitude every day, and provide them with the support they need after what they have given for us. The men and women of our military sacrifice so much for our freedom, and when they return after years of serving, it is a difficult transition for them and their families starting the next chapter in their lives.

The number of veterans early in their careers is on the rise: 74 percent of service-disabled veterans over the last 10 years is under 30 years old. They are equipped with unique skills as a result of their service, and their veteran status offers distinct business advantages. For those veterans and their family members with the entrepreneurial spirit, there are now several programs aimed at helping them leverage their skills and talents and start a business. With the help of these initiatives, veterans have a greater chance of achieving success and once again, providing critical support for our country as one of the many small businesses that are the backbone of our nation.

  • Joining Forces: Led by the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families opportunities and support. The mission is to integrate existing services and offer new forms of business support, knitting them all together and making it work for each veteran’s individual needs.
  • Veteran Fast Launch: For over 48 years, SCORE has been a leader in providing mentoring and training to entrepreneurs through its network of more than 12,000 volunteer mentors and trainers. With the support of its partnership with the Wal-Mart Foundation, the Veteran Fast Launch initiative provides veterans and active duty military members – plus spouses and members of their immediately family — with:
    • FREE or significantly discounted resources for starting businesses, such as computer software and business services (provided by major corporate partners)
    • Training in how to start and how to grow a successful/profitable business
    • SCORE’s mentoring program where Fast Launch participants will be assigned a knowledgeable and highly experienced mentor to guide them every step of the way.
  • Operation Boots to Business: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the contributions that veterans make by owning and running businesses that employ millions of Americans.  According to the most recent U.S. Census Data, veteran-owned firms represent 9 percent of all U.S. firms. These 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employed over 5.8 million individuals. Transitioning service members are natural entrepreneurs, possessing the training, experience, and leadership skills to start businesses and create jobs. SBA is dedicated to help even more veterans grow their businesses and create jobs.  Through the Boots to Business initiative, service members will learn the nuts and bolts of how to start and grow a business. They will also be introduced to the SBA’s nationwide Resource Partner network for support throughout the lifecycle of their new business.
  • Veterans Business Fund: The Veterans Business Fund (VBF) is a not-for profit organization,  established in response to the high unemployment rate among veterans, many of whom are well qualified through their military experience to become successful small business owners but lack sufficient equity capital to qualify for a small business loan.  The VBF assists veterans by providing them with the supplemental capital required to satisfy the equity requirements for a small business loan, providing capital to veterans in the form of a non interest bearing loan with favorable repayment terms.
  • Operation Endure and Grow: Aimed at National Guard and Reserve members, Operation Endure and Grow gives them, their families and business partners access to online training courses focused on the fundamentals of launching or growing a small business. This program offered by the Whitman School of Management, in cooperation with the SBA, offers service personnel courses on crafting a business or nonprofit plan. In addition, they'll receive ideas for presenting to investors, lenders or other financial backers.

About the Author:

Bridget Weston Pollack

Guest Blogger

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the SCORE Association. She is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. She collaborates with SCORE volunteers and develops SCORE’s online marketing strategy.

Comments:

That is a staggering statistic: "74 percent of service-disabled veterans over the last 10 years is under 30 years old" So proud to see the SBA lending a helping hand and raising awareness to this issue wherever they can.
Many veterans cite the poor job the military does in preparing them for life after the service. So, perhaps the most important thing a veteran can do to make the transition to the private sector is find a mentor to offer guidance, insights and contacts. This is a way employers can help – assign a seasoned employee to take the newly-hired veteran under his or her tutelage. Serving in the military is a life-changing event. During service, veterans often obtain skills and training that make them valuable to employers. However, regardless of those skills, veterans deserve a place in American business. Hiring vets can be a win for everyone if both sides understand the fundamental differences between the military and private sector and determine ways to successfully integrate veterans into the workforce.
I work with a veteran-owned manufacturer of protective packaging and military packaging products and we are big supporters of veterans. Thank you for recognizing and supporting the contributions of veterans.

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