Starting a business following military service is a great way to put your experience, self-starter attitude and confidence into action in your civilian life.
The leadership skills, the willingness to get the job done, and the ability to change course are all attributes that will make you a strong, successful entrepreneur. The Small Business Administration is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for resources to guide you along the way. But there are many other organizations that can offer critical advice and guidance.
Here are just a few:
The SBA provides assistance to veterans in their local communities through Veteran Business Outreach Centers. The centers can help veterans access resources such as business training, counseling and mentoring, right in their local communities.
From SCORE, the Veteran Fast Launch Initiative provides mentoring and training, along with free software and other services, to military veteran entrepreneurs.
A part of the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal provides access to a number of business tools and services, from business education to financing opportunities. The site also provides links and information related to government programs and services created specifically for veterans.
Boots to Business is another program of the SBA. It’s a two-step entrepreneurial training program that includes a two-day classroom course and an eight-week online course that offer instruction on forming a business plan and other essential elements of early business ownership.
This organization supports veteran owned small businesses by promoting policies that encourage participation of veteran owned businesses in federal contracting opportunities. Members receive access to resources related to federal contracting.
The SBA also offers resources for service-disabled veteran owned businesses looking to procure federal contracts. The SDVOSBC program allows procuring agencies to set aside contracts specifically for veteran owned businesses.
This non-profit organization connects U.S. veterans to business leaders for mentorship and career advice. The organization partners with businesses and institutions like Allstate, AT&T, Whirlpool, HP and many more to find mentors and assistance for veteran participants.
The BusinessUSA Veterans Resource tool is an interactive guide to help veteran business owners find the most relevant federal, state and local tools to help start and grow their businesses.
The VA’s VetBiz site provides information about the Center for Verification and Evaluation’s verification process for veteran owned businesses looking to gain eligibility for the VA’s Veterans First Contracting Program. Any veteran owned business looking for VA contracts set aside for veterans must first go through the verification process.
The Federal Business Opportunities website provides a portal for businesses looking for active federal contracting opportunities. It’s not specific to veteran owned businesses. But since some contracts are set aside for such businesses, it can be a useful resource for finding those opportunities.
As part of the Global Entrepreneurship Collective, Inc., Victory Spark is an accelerator program focused on startups led by U.S. military veterans. The program includes a 12-week mentor-driven Lean LaunchPad Program, along with grant funding for entrepreneurs who complete the program.
A program of Syracuse University, IVMF provides a wide variety of resources for military veterans. There are plenty of resources specifically geared toward veterans re-entering the workforce or looking to start their own businesses.
The GSA’s program to support service-disabled veteran owned businesses is known as the 21 Gun Salute Initiative. The initiative includes an action plan aimed at meeting or exceeding the goal of reserving 3% of contracts to service-disabled veteran owned small businesses.
Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship is an organization that provides resources, courses and mentorship to female veterans who have started businesses or are looking to do so.
EBV Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities offers experiential training in entrepreneurship and business management to post-9/11 veterans with service related disabilities. The foundation provides grants to graduates of the program, help with business plan development, raising donations for participating schools and more.
Presented by Techstars, Patriot Boot Camp is an accelerator program focused on helping military veterans and their spouses build technology companies. Open to all active duty military members, veterans and their spouses, PBC’s main program is a 3-day event that provides participants with free education, training and mentorship.
HCC provides resources and empowerment to veteran entrepreneurs including grants, scholarships and a fellowship program designed to build leadership qualities.
VetBizCentral is a veteran run site that assists veteran and active duty military entrepreneurs through training and counseling, networking opportunities, mentoring and advocacy.
USVIncCC is a membership based organization focused on creating new business for its members VOB’s. Members have access to multiple resources including but not limited to collaboration and communication with the organizations established VOB community and alliances.
VIB Network advocates for VOB’s, SDVOSB’s, and DVBE’s by creating content based resources such as workshops and outreach opportunities which are available through the organization.
CVOB supports VOB’s and military spouse owned businesses. The coalition aims to enhance the success of the businesses and drives awareness of available resources to these business owners such as events, information on certification, including information on access to capital.