Veterans are selfless, altruistic, and leaders – qualities that carry them through their military careers and post-military endeavors. In turn, many veterans who pursue entrepreneurship end up using their business as a launchpad to help others.
When service members transition to civilian life, they don’t leave their military community behind. Instead, they find other ways to contribute by lending a hand to service members, veterans, and military spouses any way they can. For example, since U.S. Air Force veteran and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recipient Joe Shamess launched his manufacturing company Flags of Valor in 2015, he has employed 65 veterans and raised more than $1 million for veteran charities.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran and PPP recipient Chris Rawlings similarly supports the military community through his business, Veteran LED Lighting and Energy Design. Rawlings gives back to the veteran community through non-profits and associations each year including Tech For Troops, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and BOURBIZ. Chelsea Mandello, a U.S. Navy veteran and CEO of Troopster, started a company with help from her local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) that helps civilians send fresh, high-quality care packages to loved ones in the military.
These business owners and many others exemplify that the military community takes care of its own. Just like they served our country in the military, they continue to serve their fellow veterans nationwide. At the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), it’s our duty to give back to these entrepreneurs by providing resources to empower and support them along their small business journey.
SBA’s programs and services aim to help veteran entrepreneurs start or grow their business, and we pride ourselves in celebrating the accomplishments of veteran-owned small businesses across the country. National Veterans Small Business Week, held just a few days ago, was an annual opportunity for SBA to honor veteran entrepreneurs and connect them with tailored business resources. Our focus this year was “#VetBiz Resources in Your Local Community,” which highlighted the transition assistance, entrepreneurial training, government contracting, disaster assistance, and access to capital resources available through the SBA at the local level.
This Veterans Day, learn more about the SBA resources available for veteran entrepreneurs:
- Boots to Business (B2B) and Boots to Business Reboot (B2B Reboot): SBA offers B2B as a training track of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Available on military installations worldwide for service members and their spouses, this course teaches the fundamentals of business ownership. B2B Reboot, on the other hand, brings the B2B course off installations and into communities for veterans who may not have access to take the course on base.
- VBOCs: VBOCs provide business mentoring to veterans, offering support for everything from business planning and strategy to financing and marketing. Our centers are conveniently located at 22 institutions across the country, and our skilled advisors are armed and ready to assist you in all things business.
- Entrepreneurship Training Programs: Through a network of grantees, SBA offers entrepreneurship training programs for women veterans, service-disabled veterans, and veterans interested in federal procurement. These programs are designed to help participants translate the skills they acquired through military service into small business ownership.
To learn more about SBA’s resources for veterans, visit sba.gov/veterans.