WASHINGTON – As the nation marked Veterans Day 2012, the U.S. Small Business Administration continued to build on its successful programs for America’s military veterans, helping tens of thousands of veterans each year with small business financing, comprehensive business training and counseling and access to federal contracts.
“Around Veterans Day, our thoughts turn to the men and women who are currently serving in the Armed Forces, as well as to all veterans who have made sacrifices and served our country over the years,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “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 the path of small business ownership.”
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau veterans are successful small business owners. Nearly one in 10 small businesses nationwide are veteran-owned. Collectively, these 2.4 million small businesses employ almost 6 million Americans and generate more than $1 trillion in receipts. In the private sector workforce, veterans are 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.
SBA supports veteran business owners through entrepreneurial training and mentoring, access to capital, and business development opportunities through government contracts.
This year SBA partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to develop a national entrepreneurship training program for transitioning service members as part of the new Transition Assistance Program. Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup was piloted with all four branches of the services in summer and fall 2012. The Boots to Business program will be rolled out during 2013 providing exposure to entrepreneurship training to all 250,000 service members who transition from active duty to civilian life each year.
In a closely related effort, SBA and Syracuse University continue to expand the success of the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities program. The growing partnership between SBA and Syracuse University, now in its fourth year, provides training on how disabled vets can start and grow a small business, with programs targeted to service-disabled veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family caregivers, women veterans, and National Guard and Reserve members and their families. Since 2009, the first year SBA partnered with Syracuse University, 434 service-disabled veterans have participated in the program.
Participating schools include: Syracuse University, University of Connecticut, UCLA, Florida State University, Texas A&M University, Purdue University, Louisiana State University, and Cornell University.
SBA is also providing $2.6 million through a cooperative agreement over three years for two programs; Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), that focuses on training, networking and mentorship for women veterans, and Operation Endure & Grow, targets National Guard and Reserve component members, their families and partners.