Helping to Support Our Troops When They Return Home
by bridgetwpollack, Contributor
- Created: November 27, 2012, 12:19 pm
- Updated: November 28, 2012, 2:03 pm
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 is the director of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association. In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies for the organization to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. She collaborates with SCORE volunteers to develop channel marketing strategies and media / PSA efforts in order to acquire new clients and volunteers. Bridget develops SCORE’s online marketing strategy in order to increase clients’ consumption of SCORE services (mentoring and training). Finally, she continues to enhance and manage SCORE’s public brand and image through the development of promotional materials. Prior to SCORE, Bridget was at Mid-Atlantic Control Systems in Rockville, Maryland as Marketing Manager. There she created and implemented the company’s business-to-business marketing strategies, including redesigning a web site, developing marketing collateral and forming relationships with vertical market partners. Bridget has worked as a Marketing Coordinator at Temple University Health Systems in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she focused on marketing Temple Heart & Lung Center as a center of excellence in the Philadelphia region. Bridget has her Master’s of Business Administration from Temple University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Outside of work, she currently coaches first grade girls soccer for Arlington County. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rick.
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