The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers programs and initiatives to veterans and service members in order to start, grow and expand a small business. Several SBA programs provide access to counseling, training, capital and business development opportunities, as well as offering loans and government contracts.
“When you consider the leadership and management skills our veterans develop while on active and reserve duty, it’s no wonder we see so many of them choose a path as entrepreneurs and small business owners,” Karen Mills, an SBA administrator, stated in a press release.
One program targeted towards veterans is the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). Developed in partnership with business schools around the country, the program provides career training for service-disabled veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and their family caregivers, women veterans and National Guard and Reserve members and their families.
Since the start of the program, more than 320 wounded veterans have graduated and more than 150 small businesses have been launched. The SBA and Syracuse University, now in their third year of partnership, are expanding the program to an eighth school, Cornell University. Other participating schools include: Syracuse University; University of Connecticut; University of California, Los Angeles; Florida State University; Texas A&M University; Purdue University and Louisiana State University.
The SBA will also be launching two new programs, Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) and Operation Endure and Grow. It will provide $2.6 million through a cooperative agreement over 3 years in support of veteran entrepreneurs. Both initiatives are expected to serve over 1,950 individuals and their families over 3 years.
V-WISE is a 3-day training program targeted towards women veterans. The off-site training program, online training and network support structures are delivered at several locations around the country.
Operation Endure and Grow addresses National Guard and Reserve members. It focuses on alleviating economic hardship for small businesses owned by service members by training the owner, as well as the person, or people, which will maintain the business if the service member is deployed, injured or killed. The 8-week online course teaches the fundamentals of launching and/or growing a small business.
Through its 7(a) and 504 loan programs, the SBA issued more than 4,300 loans, totaling $1.5 billion, in the 2011 fiscal year. It has also helped to establish equality through parity legislation for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses that compete with other small businesses for set-aside contracts.
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