When my husband got out of the military, he decided to go back to school full time. This was a great option for our family, since he could use his military benefits to pursue his degree. This may not be a viable or the right option for every veteran and it’s important to know that there are other paths available and supported by a number of organizations.
Many veterans dream of starting their own business but feel like they don’t have a network outside of the military and are unsure where to start. To help on you on your way, we’ve compiled a list of great veteran-resources for starting a business or gaining some new skills.
The small business administration has some great veteran-focused resources, including their Boots to Business Program, to help with every phase of starting and running a small business including:
- Starting a business
- Financing a business
- Growing a business
- Mentoring and training
- Government contracting and more
Through their partnership with BusinessUSA the VA offers their Veteran Entrepreneurship Portal with access to resources to help you with everything from starting your business, to corporate partnerships, franchising opportunities, to strategic outreach, to accessing relevant programs and services.
A great place to start with their resources is with their short questionnaire that will help point you in the direction of information that is the most helpful to you and your interests.
The University of Syracuse, Whitman School of Management offers their V-Wise program, which is partially funded by the SBA. This program is “is committed to women Veterans by providing them the tools to become successful entrepreneurs.”
4 – EBV
EBV is a program offered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Syracuse University (IVMF). This program is unique in that it offers “experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans and their families.”
This program offered by SCORE, combines free software, services, and SCORE’s mentoring program into one package to help veterans and their families succeed as small business owners. Some of their offerings include:
- Free business mentoring
- Free online workshops
- Free templates and tools
- 5 Free hours of financial advice from CPAs and more
The USDA helps veterans start or continue farming or ranching. They do this is to “strengthen the American economy and provide livelihoods to our returning veterans.” They offer a number of programs from loan assistance, to disaster assistance, insurance programs, to conservation resources. The USDA lists 3 other organizations that assist veteran farmers and ranchers.
- Also check out the Farmer Veteran Coalition, which aims to help veterans become the next generation of farmers and food leaders. They offer programs like:
If you are a veteran thinking about starting your own business, check your community for local programs offered to help you get your idea off of the ground.
Colorado-based Patriot Bootcamp is an example of one such program that helps military veterans build technology companies.
If you’re thinking about gaining some skills before taking the leap into entrepreneurship or freelancing, check out full stack programs that accept the GI Bill like Skill Distillery in Colorado.
If you found this helpful, you might also like this article: 3 Local Small Business Resources you Should use