The U.S. Small Business Administration has joined with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense 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. There are more than 150,000 veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that could benefit from the initiative, local SBA officials said,
“Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of our highest priorities,” SBA Administrator Karen 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.”
Entrepreneurship and small business ownership are valuable opportunities for transitioning service members and veterans. Each year, more than 250,000 service members transition out of the military. Transitioning veterans are natural entrepreneurs who possess the skills, experience and leadership to start businesses and create jobs.
Veterans make up a large number of successful small business owners. Nine percent of small businesses are veteran-owned. 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.
SBA will help connect veterans with its resource partner network – Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE, and Veterans Business Opportunity Centers – for support throughout the life-cycle of their new businesses.
The program will pilot in four locations: Quantico, Va., Cherry Point, N.C., Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif. It will be expanded across the nation during fiscal year 2013 with the goal of providing entrepreneurial training and awareness to transitioning service members from all branches of the military.