Military experience teaches organization, resourcefulness, persistence and the ability to take strategic risks—skills that also distinguish smart business owners. It’s no wonder that the most recent data from the Small Business Administration (SBA) shows over 2.52 million small businesses are owned by veterans, making up 9.1% of small businesses in America. If you’re interested in starting or buying your own business, a number of resources and programs can help you get started.
Boots to Business Training
The SBA offers a training program called Boots to Business (B2B) as a track through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). This course is a two-day in-person introduction to entrepreneurship, offered to transitioning servicemembers and their spouses on military installations worldwide. If you don’t live near a military installation, outreach programs are also available. Learn more about the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development.
Veterans Business Outreach Centers
The SBA provides assistance for veterans who own or are considering starting a small business with Veterans Business Outreach Centers. Serving 22 regions of the United States, these outreach centers provide:
- pre-business plan workshops
- concept assessments
- business plan preparations
- comprehensive feasibility analysis
- entrepreneurial training and counseling
- other business development-related services
You can find the outreach center nearest you on the SBA website.
Veteran Fast Launch Initiative
Learning the ins and outs of running your business doesn’t have to be a guessing game. The SCORE Foundation®1 provides mentoring and training to entrepreneurs with its network of 13,000 volunteer mentors and trainers. Through the Veteran Fast Launch initiative, you can access free software and services such as SCORE’s mentoring program to get your business running sooner with the tools you need to succeed. Learn more at SCORE’s Veteran Fast Launch page.
Veterans First Contracting Program
Are you looking to contract with the government for your small business? You may be able to participate in the VA’s Veterans First Contracting Program, which gives contracting priority to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB) and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB). This program is part of the VA’s mission to care for our nation’s veterans. To qualify for the Veterans First program, you must be verified. You can learn more about the program and how to get verified on the VetBiz website.
If you’d like to own your own business but don’t have an innovative idea ready or are wary of start-up risks, buying a franchise may be right for you. Through the VetFran program started by the International Franchise Association, you have access to financial incentives, such as lower franchise fees, that aren’t available to civilians. Currently, over 500 franchise companies participate in the VetFran program. You can find the list of participating businesses and veteran discounts offered on its website.
You can find more links to programs and resources for military veteran entrepreneurs at the SBA’s Veteran-Owned Business Guide. And, when you’re ready to take the next step to making your business a reality, Navy Federal Credit Union is your financial resource for making it all come together. See how Navy Federal Business Solutions can help you today.
- Draft and refine your business plan before you reach out to the SBA or other small business programs. Your business plan is the gateway to securing funding for your veteran-owned venture!
- Explore programs and funding sources that are specific to the type of business you’re starting up. Check SCORE’s Veteran Fast Launch page and the VetBiz website, for example.
- Talk with Navy Federal about the different loans and lines of credit available for veteran servicemembers seeking to start a business. Apply for the one that’s right for your situation.
SCORE Foundation is a registered trademark of The SCORE Foundation, Inc.↵
VetFran is a registered trademark of the International Franchise Association.↵
This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.