Six New Veterans Business Outreach Centers to Open

New Program Hosted by University of Hawaii at Hilo to Aid Vet Entrepreneurs
Release Date: 
Friday, May 20, 2016
Release Number: 
HDO 16-06
Advisory Date: 
Friday, May 20, 2016
Advisory Number: 
HDO 16-06
Jane Sawyer, (808) 541 2990 x202

Hawaii – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced $1.5 million in grant funding for six additional Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) including a new center hosted by the University of Hawaii at Hilo to serve Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa. The new awards bring the total number of VBOCs to 19 nationwide.

“Establishing a VBOC in the Hawaii District amplifies SBA’s ability to provide high quality business training, consulting and other support to our transitioning service members, spouses, and veterans in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa,” said Jane Sawyer, Hawaii District Director. “We’ll be building on the successful ‘Boots 2 Business’ program and getting more resources to veteran small business owners and startups. Thanks to UH Hilo for stepping up and partnering with us to create this project for our veteran community.”

The grant award enables each VBOC to provide entrepreneurial training, comprehensive business assessment, and mentoring to active duty service members, veterans and service-disabled veterans, National Guard and Reservists, and military spouses interested in starting a small business. States and regions were selected as potential sites based on “Boots to Business” program demand, military installations, and transitioning population data. 

“SBA welcomes the new VBOC recipients,” said Barbara Carson, Associate Administrator, SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. “VBOCs are out front, synergizing the veteran small business ecosystem, working with SBA to empower U.S. service members, military spouses, and all eras of veterans in starting and growing small businesses.”

Other VBOC grantees in 2016 are the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE), Providence, RI; Georgia Southern University Research & Services Foundation, Statesboro, GA; Cochise County Community College District, Sierra Vista, AZ; University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX; and Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA.

The VBOCs are responsible for supporting transitioning service members as they embark on self-employment or entrepreneurship. VBOCs are directed by the Small Business Act (Title 15 U.S.C. sec 637 (b)) to participate in the Defense Department’s Transition Assistance Program. Since 2013, the Boots to Business program has trained over 40,000 transitioning service members and military spouses and counsel and mentor approximately 60,000 veteran clients each year.

Each year SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans, and National Guard and Reserve service members, and military spouses start and grow their small businesses. Veteran business development is available in each state at SBA District Offices and at VBOCs located throughout the U.S.  To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit

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