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Veterans- This Week is For YOU

By Ashley D. Bell, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration 

Every minute of the day, America’s Armed Forces fight to guarantee the security of our nation. Their fight makes it possible for countless others to live peaceful lives and follow paths of opportunity. After veterans have served their country, many are well-equipped to become successful entrepreneurs; even further fulfilling their American dream.  We owe them sincere thanks and one way we express our support for them is through celebrating National Veterans Small Business Week.

Veterans are integral to the growth of America’s small businesses and coming up November 5 through November 9 will be the fifth annual National Veterans Small Business Week, which honors our veteran entrepreneurs and the contributions they make to this great country.

The President showed his dedication to small businesses and veterans with his donation of his second-quarter salary to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as another gesture of thanks to our veterans. This donation will go toward helping our nation’s veterans transition from military service to become entrepreneurs. Specifically, the funds will assist the SBA with creating a seven-month intensive entrepreneur training program for veterans, which will be announced soon. 

Our military has a proud tradition of producing focused, motivated leaders who can swiftly adapt to changing environments. These same traits are invaluable for launching and growing a business. Although veterans are extremely well-trained, government efforts are critical to the successful transition process for service members exiting the military, especially for those who are considering entrepreneurship as their next move.

The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development empowers veterans by equipping them, transitioning service members, National Guard and Reserve members and military spouses, with small business counseling, training and education, access to capital, and contracting opportunities. There are many programs across the Southeast to assist with transitions such as SBA’s Boots to Business program. Also, each SBA district office includes a veteran specialist on their staff, so that you know you are receiving the information that is critical to your success.

In Kentucky, Greg Lyles, a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant, started a barbeque company with his son, Chandler, who also served in the USAF. Greg and Chandler both transitioned out of the military in 2013. That same year, Greg and his wife, Jennifer, attended a Boots to Business and Boots to Business Reboot Entrepreneurial Program offered by SBA. Greg and Jennifer Lyles used the entrepreneurial knowledge gained by participating in the SBA program to form Lyles BBQ Company, LLC in 2014.

At the SBA, we work to make sure that stories like Lyles BBQ Company, LLC are the rule, not the exception. That’s why we offer dedicated resources specifically for veterans including direct business counseling and access to capital to help them launch and grow their businesses. Over the past year the SBA has guaranteed more than $1 billion in loans to veterans.  Nation-wide, veteran-owned businesses employ five million workers and generate $1.1 trillion in receipts. We have a lot to thank our veterans for!

We honor America’s men and women in uniform, present and past, and the limitless potential they represent. The SBA is dedicated to helping them make a better future for themselves, their families, and our country.

Please take a moment to visit or contact your local SBA district office to find out about various events occurring during National Veterans Small Business Week. Also, join us in the celebration by following us on Twitter at @SBAgov and sharing your stories with the #VetBiz and #MyVetBiz hashtags.