Military experience teaches organization, resourcefulness, persistence and the ability to take smart risks—skills that also distinguish smart business owners. It's no wonder that, in 2011, a study from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy found that veterans are about 45 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs. If you're interested in starting or buying your own business, there are a number of resources and programs that can help you get started.
Veterans Business Outreach Centers
The SBA provides assistance for veterans who own or are considering starting a small business with the Veterans Business Outreach Centers. Serving 10 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
You can learn more about the services offered and find the outreach center serving your region 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 provides mentoring and training to entrepreneurs with its network of 13,000 volunteer mentors and trainers. Through their Veteran Fast Launch initiative, you can access free software, services and SCORE's mentoring program to get your business running sooner and give you the tools to succeed. Learn more at SCORE's Veteran Fast Launch page.
Veterans First Contracting Program
Are you looking to contract with the government with 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 startup 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 civilian franchise investors. Currently, over 500 franchise companies participate in the VetFran program. You can find the list of participating companies and veteran discounts offered on their 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 is your financial resource for making it all come together. See how Navy Federal Business Services can help you today.