JVSG Companion Programs: Small Business Administration (SBA) – Support for Veteran Entrepreneurs

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Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) personnel are tasked with providing individualized career services and employer outreach to help veterans realize and sustain employment; in some cases, veterans seek entrepreneurial opportunities and want to understand more about options for starting their own businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the impact that veterans have on the American economy.

Veteran-owned businesses made up about 5.9% (337,934) of all businesses, with an estimated $947.7 billion in receipts, approximately 3.9 million employees, and about $177.7 billion in annual payroll.

High-performing entrepreneurs tend to demonstrate good decision-making skills in chaotic environments, confidence, independence, and high self-worth and achievement—all traits commonly found in service members and veterans.

Devoted to promoting veteran entrepreneurship, the Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) facilitates the use of all SBA programs by service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses. 1 The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is an OVBD initiative that oversees VBOCs across the country. VBOCs offer resources for veterans who are interested in starting or growing a business. Located at 22 institutions nationwide, these centers provide business plan workshops, concept assessments, mentorship, and training for eligible military and veteran entrepreneurs. JVSG staff can locate their nearest VBOC here to identify training programs and resources available at those sites. 2

Examples of successful SBA programs and partnerships include:

  • Boots to Business (B2B) is the two-step entrepreneurial training program offered by the SBA as a training track within the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and is open to service members (including members of the National Guard and Reserves), veterans, and their spouses. The curriculum provides assistance to those interested in exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities by leading them through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and providing foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan. In addition, participants are introduced to SBA resources available to access start-up capital, technical assistance and contracting opportunities. Through Boots to Business Reboot, the same course is offered in community locations for those who may not have access to an installation.
  • SBA offers an array of entrepreneurship training programs designed to arm veterans and their families with the resources and skills to design, start-up, and grow their entrepreneurial success. Grantees across the country provide specialized training for women veterans, service-disabled veterans, and veterans interested in federal procurement. Programs are available in a variety of formats featuring customized curriculums that teach the fundamentals of business ownership and connect veterans to SBA resources and small business experts.

Another illustration of inter-agency cooperation in this area is where Veterans Affairs (VA) and SBA’s OVBD have partnered to provide education and support to disabled veterans interested in self-employment. The VA’s Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program and the OVBD offer self-employment guidance, assistance and on-the-job training to disabled veterans. To qualify for the program, veterans must meet three conditions: a service-connected disability, an employment handicap and acceptance into the VR&E program. 3

Finally, the Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act of 2018, was established to give certain veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) access to federally owned surplus personal property that is no longer needed by the federal government and donated to GSA’s surplus property program. VOSBs may begin to receive surplus property once agreements are implemented at the state level. This program is designed to level the playing field for veteran entrepreneurs and further support SBA’s mission to empower small business across the nation. 4

JVSG resources at SBA: Tim Green, former VETS Director of Strategic Outreach, now Deputy Associate Administrator at SBA’s OVBD 5