Press release 23-85

SBA Announces Boots to Business Instructors of the Year to Recognize Those Who Help Set Up Veteran-Owned Small Businesses for Success

Five Award Recipients Will be Recognized During National Veterans Small Business Week, Oct. 30 to Nov. 3

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) named five recipients as “Boots to Business (B2B) Instructor of the Year” award winners. SBA representatives and its partner networks receive feedback about Boots to Business instructors throughout the year and honor those who passionately serve the veteran-owned business community with this award.

“I join all of our active-duty service members, veterans, service-disabled veterans, and military spouses in recognizing the finest Boots to Business Instructors in 2023,” said SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman. “It is their dedication to assisting future entrepreneurs through an inspiring passion for starting and owning a small business that makes this program successful, and I know they will continue to play an important role in impacting the lives of our service members, veterans, and military spouses as we continue building upon the historic small business boom under the Biden-Harris Administration.”

The Boots to Business Program helps transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses gain the knowledge and skills needed to start, run, and grow a small business. The course is part of the entrepreneurial track of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Offering crucial resources to entrepreneurs and supporting veterans once they return home are both key priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration, and the SBA is committed to helping thousands of transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses get access to opportunity and the American dream through the path of business ownership.

This year’s winners include:

  • Todd Michael Bennett, 2023 Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families.
  • Ryan Del Gallo, 2023 SBDC Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, Maryland Small Business Development Center.
  • Lori Hiramatsu, 2023 VBOC Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Pacific.
  • Donald Whitmore, 2023 SCORE Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, SCORE Boston.
  • Mark Winchester, 2023 SBA Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, SBA Houston District Office.

“We are delighted to highlight the achievements of our Boots to Business instructors during National Veterans Small Business Week. Their daily efforts and willingness to go above and beyond help to set veteran business owners up for success,” said Timothy Green, Associate Administrator of the Office of Veterans Business Development. “Each day, these award-winning instructors, and others like them, play a key role in shaping and developing the veteran- and military-spouse-owned small businesses around the country through their dedication and passionate work. They truly are the foundation of what makes the Boots to Business program special.”

Each year, veteran-owned businesses make significant contributions to the U.S. economy, employing over five million Americans and generating $1.3 trillion in total sales.  

In addition to its support for veteran-owned small businesses, the Biden-Harris Administration recently announced an executive order to support military spouses, under which the SBA will provide resources, capital, and other specialized support to help get their businesses off the ground. The SBA has made several key changes in the past year to expand access to capital for veteran- and military spouse-owned small businesses, including: 

  • Implementing the SBA Veteran Business Certification program, which connects service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with federal contracting opportunities through a more streamlined and user-friendly process. 
  • Expanding the Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program from 22 to 28 VBOCs across the country to provide more resources and support to active service members, veterans, and military spouses. 
  • Overhauling its loan program to expand access to capital for veteran-owned small businesses.
  • Launching its new Military Spouse Pathway to Business training program to help military spouses looking to start their entrepreneurial journey. 

The Boots to Business Instructors of the Year virtual recognition ceremony will be on Nov. 2, 2023, at 2 p.m. ET. To join the ceremony, use this Microsoft Teams Link Microsoft Teams Live Event dial 202-765-1264, and enter the conference ID 844 996 322#.

Since its inception in 2013, SBA’s Boots to Business program has served over 194,000 transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. Courses are offered through SBA district offices, resource partners, and grant partners. For more information on the program, visit




About the Office of Veterans Business Development

The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) works through the SBA’s extensive resource partner network, which includes Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, Women’s Business Centers, and 28 VBOCs located throughout the nation. VBOCs are also the leading partner in hosting the “Boots to Business” and “Boots to Business Reboot” programs, which offer courses on entrepreneurship on military installations and in local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2013, Boots to Business has trained and graduated more than 194,000 service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses. For more information on the resources available for veteran entrepreneurs, visit

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality.  As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

Media contacts

U.S. Small Business Administration