From Service to Startup: Tips for Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurs
Life after the military may seem like uncharted territory, but the good news is that veterans are well-equipped to pursue a variety of post-service career options including entrepreneurship. As a service-disabled veteran, you bring a unique and valuable skill set to small business ownership thanks to the tenacity, resilience, and fortitude you’ve acquired from years of service to our country.
SBA works diligently to remove the barriers that service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs may face when transitioning out of the military and back into life as a civilian. We provide specialized programs, resources, and services to help ensure these entrepreneurs prosper in the business world.
Here are some tips to help you set your service-disabled veteran-owned small business up for success.
· Check out SBA’s transition assistance programs. SBA’s flagship transition assistance program is Boots to Business – an entrepreneurial education and training program available for service members, veterans, and military spouses. Offered as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), Boots to Business introduces participants to the fundamentals of business ownership and helps aspiring entrepreneurs determine if business ownership is right for them. The course is offered on military installations worldwide, but if you no longer have access to your installation, no problem! You can also access the course right in your local community through Boots to Business Reboot.
· Get specialized entrepreneurial training for service-disabled veterans. SBA’s Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program is specifically designed for service-disabled veterans who are interested in starting or growing their small business. We have a number of grantees who participate in this program including Dog Tag Inc.’s Fellowship Program, Oklahoma State University’s Veteran Entrepreneurship Program, Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, and Saint Joseph’s University’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. These specialized programs give service-disabled veterans immersive and hands-on training in all areas of entrepreneurship including business planning and strategy, accounting and finance, marketing and communications, and more.
· Set your business up for success in the federal marketplace. Did you know that the federal government’s goal is to award 3% of all federal contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOSB) each year – and they’ve exceeded that goal every year since 2012? It’s true, and SDVOSBs received 4.39% of all federal contracting dollars in 2019. SBA is in the business of helping veterans succeed in the federal marketplace by providing set-asides and programs to help you position your businesses to win and retain government contracts. And through a grant funded by the SBA, the Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) offers programs that meet you where you are in their federal contracting journey – whether you’re just starting out, interested in growing in the field, or ready to take your business to market overseas.
· Tap into local resources for additional support. SBA’s partner network, including our Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC), give service-disabled veterans access to entrepreneurial resources right in their local community. VBOCs are armed and ready to guide you on your mission to small business ownership. You can find business workshops, financial trainings, counseling and mentorship, resource referrals, and more at a center near you. Plus, all services can be accessed in-person, virtually, or over the phone. In addition to our VBOCs, there are a number of other SBA local resource partners who are also dedicated to supporting our nation’s veteran entrepreneurs.
Remember, you don’t have to embark on your entrepreneurial journey alone. For more information about SBA’s resources and programs for service-disabled veterans, visit http://bit.ly/OctVetBiz2.
Join us to celebrate all veteran entrepreneurs, including service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs, during this year’s National Veterans Small Business Week on November 2-6, 2020! Visit sba.gov/nvsbw for the latest information.
SBA’s top priority is to continue to support the small business community, including the military and veteran small business community, through the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit sba.gov/coronavirus for information.
This blog was originally written by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development.