Veteran entrepreneurs are unmatched in their drive and determination. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has observed America’s veteran-owned small businesses as they have built upon lessons from the pandemic to make strides and thrive in innovative ways. Through resources, events, and mentoring, the SBA is dedicated to empowering veteran and military spouse small business owners to move forward on their entrepreneurial journey.
National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW) is a time to honor our heroes who continue to serve our country by creating diverse and essential businesses in their communities. Held from Oct. 31 through Nov. 4, this year’s NVSBW will celebrate the strength and resilience of our veteran small business community as they continue to march beyond the events of the pandemic and use what they’ve learned to propel their businesses forward. The SBA is committed to providing a variety of resources through our local district offices, resource partners, and other veteran organizations, ranging in topics from transition assistance, entrepreneurial training, access to capital, government contracting, disaster assistance, and more. During NVSBW, there will be opportunities to tap into virtual events across the country, connect with local resource partners, and learn more about the tools available to help start, grow, expand, or recover small businesses.
Brea Binstock, Sergeant First Class in the North Dakota Army National Guard and owner of the Lovely Lash Company, pursued her business dreams during the pandemic. She worked together with the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) of the Dakotas to create a marketing plan for her boutique eyelash salon. Through the SBA resource partner network, Brea connected with the Dakota Women’s Business Center (NDWBC) to plan her next steps for business growth. With support from her business partners, Brea has applied the determination and skills that she learned in the military towards building a thriving business.
Kate Reimann, an Air Force spouse, and mom of two, was always aware of the plastic pollution crisis, but didn’t realize it’s impact until she was at the beach with her sons and a plastic beach toy was taken out to sea by a wave. After recovering the toy, Kate noticed the amount of plastic used in beach toys on the shore. While her husband was deployed, she resolved to make conventional, oil-based plastics obsolete. She spent the next two years in Washington, D.C. in the research and development phase of her new business, Rogue Wave. Then, when the Air Force moved her family to Hawaii, Kate saw the shorelines littered with marine debris. She renewed her drive to make a compostable beach toy a reality. Kate turned to her local Small Business Development Center and Veterans Business Outreach Center for help after a failed Kickstarter campaign. She worked with the VBOC of the Pacific team to refine her business plan and financials, lower her start-up costs, and make introductions to lenders that would ultimately provide her with an SBA-backed loan. The VBOC team helped Kate throughout the pandemic, and she’s since won pitch competitions and another SBA-backed loan to kick off production. With the help of the VBOC, Kate and Rogue Wave are one step closer to eliminating the need for plastic toys to enable cleaner oceans and a healthier planet.
Business owners like Brea and Kate represent the veteran and military spouse small business community’s hard work and dedication. During NVSBW, you can learn about the resources that they used on their entrepreneurial journeys.
For more information about NVSBW, check out sba.go/NVSBW. You can also join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #VetBiz.