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About Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup

Creating the “New” Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

The Obama Administration recognizes the contributions of veteran entrepreneurs, and has identified the need to create a nationwide entrepreneurship training program to unleash the potential of the 250,000 service members that transition each year. To meet this goal, SBA is partnering with DOD and VA to include an entrepreneurship training component as a part of the overall changes to the existing Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

The goal of TAP is to strengthen service members’ transition from military to civilian life and to prepare them for success in the next phase of their life. There are now three optional tracks a transitioning service member can choose to explore more deeply as a part of the new TAP: 1) Education; 2) Technical Training; and 3) Entrepreneurship.  SBA and its Resource Partner network will deliver the Entrepreneurship track to transitioning service members who opt-in to receive such training.   Read more about the TAP Program.

Collaboration with Syracuse University and SBA’s Resource Partners to Implement the New TAP

The Operation Boots to Business program builds on SBA’s role as a national leader in entrepreneurial training.  Leveraging our ongoing collaboration with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), SBA will provide comprehensive training materials specifically geared toward transitioning service members.  SBA’s expert Resource Partner network (including Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE chapters,   Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and Veterans Business Opportunity Centers (VBOCs)) already provides entrepreneurship training to over 100,000 veterans every year, many of whom are service members transitioning out of the military. Through this initiative, our Resource Partners will build on these efforts to collaboratively deliver a phased, progressive entrepreneurship training program, and will introduce transitioning service members to the lifetime business support available to them through our Resource Partner network.

Marine Corps Pilot Program 2012

To test the Boots to Business initiative prior to national rollout, SBA is working with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to deliver a streamlined version of the Boots to Business phased entrepreneurship training to approximately 20,000 transitioning Marines in four pilot locations: Quantico (VA), Cherry Point (NC), Camp Pendleton (CA), and Twenty-Nine Palms (CA).

 If you are a transitioning service member interested in learning more about the program, visit the Boots to Business website at http://boots2business.org/apply.asp.

The pilot with the Marines consists of three progressive phases to deliver exposure, introduction, and in-depth training for service members interested in business ownership.

National Rollout of Boots to Business in 2013

Phase 1: Video - Short Introduction on Entrepreneurship: Call to action for returning veterans to consider entrepreneurship, with a description of the career path    Phase 2: Classroom Instruction - In-Person Course: Provides a 90-minute training course on entrepreneurship    Phase 3: Online Instruction - In-depth Online Entrepreneurship Course: Provides an 8-week online/distance learning course that leads to the creation of a business plan


The Boots to Business program is a national program that aims to provide exposure to entrepreneurship for the over 250,000 service members who transition each year. The national program will be implemented after further assessment of the Marine Corps Pilot Program. In addition to the three phases described above, the National program will include a fourth phase, which will follow the 90-minute training course.  In this phase, SBA Resource Partners will guide participants through a 2-day classroom instruction focused on creating a feasibility analysis for a business plan. Participants will walk away from the training with a completed feasibility study of their own business concept.