If you’re a veteran, you may be better prepared than most to start your own business. You’ve already been trained in many of the skills necessary to be a successful veteran entrepreneur. You’re likely great at solving problems, staying motivated, and communicating with other people. You may also be good at leadership and working as a team member – both valuable talents for a business owner. You may even have specific education in a field, such as electronics, computer programming, or logistics management. These can be key to veteran entrepreneurship.
What you may not know is that there are a number of valuable resources available to you to help you take that first step and hit the ground running as an entrepreneur. Here are some of the resources you might take advantage of to start a veteran-owned business:
- The Office of Veterans Affairs
Becoming a certified Veteran-Owned Business can be hugely helpful in generating clients and opportunities. The VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) can help you gain the official designation of a Veteran-Owned Business. Further, the VA’s Veteran Entrepreneur Portal offers valuable information on starting and growing a business, finding financing, and many other areas of business expertise.
- American Corporate Partners
Founded in 2008, American Corporate Partners (ACP) pairs veterans with mentors from scores of Fortune 500 companies. Over the course of one full year, veterans learn how to apply their military experience to the corporate world. ACP hand-selects mentors for veterans hoping to start their next careers. More than 11,000 veterans have completed their ACP mentorship, and 98 percent of them would recommend the program to their fellow veterans.
- Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
You’re probably thinking, “Why would I want to go through another bootcamp? The first one was tough enough.” But the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) can be just what you need to begin your journey as a veteran entrepreneur. If you’re a post-9/11 veteran with a service-connected disability, you receive specialized training to help you create and sustain a business over the long haul. Operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), this week-long bootcamp is offered free of charge to all participants and their families at ten college campuses across the country.
- U.S. Small Business Administration
The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development helps veterans start their own small businesses with counseling, workshops and many other business creation and growth resources. Its popular “Boots to Business” program offers two different educational tracks that provide in-depth instruction on entrepreneurship for veterans. This is also a good resource for women and service-disabled veterans striving for entrepreneurship.
- Veteran-Owned Law Firms
Most business start-ups rely on the legal assistance of law firms to help them properly structure their business. Whether you’re launching a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S corporation, C corporation or DBA business, you may want to hire a lawyer to help. Lawyers can also provide sound advice on the contracts and agreements that keep your business on solid footing and may be able to assist you with employee-related matters. Further, if the law firm happens to be a Veteran-Owned Business, you’re likely to get the service you need combined with an deep understanding of the challenges you face as a veteran entrepreneur. As a veteran, you may also be eligible for veteran discounts that a non-veteran-owned law firm may not offer.