The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has joined with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to launch a training program for transitioning service members and veterans to help them become entrepreneurs and create jobs. Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup is a national initiative that will be piloted with the U.S. Marine Corps. The announcement was made in July 2012 by SBA administrator Karen Mills and U.S. Marine Corps representatives at Quantico, Va.
“Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them to start or grow their own business is one of our highest priorities,” Mills said. “Through this partnership, we stand ready with support, entrepreneurial training and resources that are critical tools to help them start businesses, drive economic growth and create jobs for themselves and their communities.”
Skills and leadership
Each year, more than 250,000 service members leave the military and return to private-sector life. Transitioning veterans are natural entrepreneurs who possess the skills, experience and leadership to start businesses and create jobs to benefit their communities. Veterans make up a large number of successful small business owners. Nine percent of small businesses are veteran-owned, and these 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employ more than 5 million individuals. In the private sector workforce, veterans are more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.
Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup will help support veterans as they build businesses and create jobs by building on the SBA’s role as a leader in entrepreneurship training. SBA will help connect veterans with its resource partner network—Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE, and Veterans Business Opportunity Centers (VBOCs)—for support throughout the life cycle of their new businesses. Through its ongoing collaboration with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), SBA will also provide comprehensive training materials specifically geared toward transitioning service members.
SBA partners will coordinate training and services at military bases around the country, delivering a face-to-face introductory entrepreneurship courses. In addition, an intensive eight-week online business planning training will be provided by Syracuse University and its affiliated university partners for service members who choose to continue to pursue entrepreneurship after the introductory course. As a followup, service members and veterans will be referred to SBDCs, WBCs, SCORE chapters and VBOCs for counseling and training throughout the lifetime of their businesses.
For more information on the Boots to Business training program, and on how to take part as a transitioning service member, visit www.sba.gov/bootstobusiness.