Over the last three years, President Trump has made it his priority to highlight the importance of our nation’s veteran entrepreneurs. He has empowered the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with the tools needed to help our veterans transition from military service to small business ownership. During November, the country celebrated the accomplishments of veteran, service member and military spouse small business owners nationwide during National Veterans Small Business Week, Nov. 4-8. This year’s National Veterans Small Business Week theme is Mission #VetBiz Success.
President Trump understands the needs of our nation’s small businesses, and he is committed to strong policies that promote meaningful and innovative economic growth. The president is also committed to supporting our veterans from all generations that need our support and commitment. Some of the president’s many accomplishments include his administration securing $86.5 billion in FY 2019 for discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest dollar amount in history for the VA; signing the “Forever GI Bill” providing enhanced educational benefits to veterans, service members and their families; and directing the secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security and the VA to improve veterans’ access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources.
Working in collaboration with our government and community partners, the SBA plays an important role in supporting service members as they exit the military and become entrepreneurs. Whether you are a transitioning service member, National Guard and Reserve member or a military spouse, the SBA is here to assist you with business training and education, access to capital and federal contracting opportunities. The SBA has prioritized connecting veterans to the resources available to help them accomplish small business success. Throughout November, SBA district offices and resource partners nationwide will host local events including Boots to Business, Reboot, webinars and workshops on access to capital, federal procurement training and business basics classes.
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Veteran entrepreneurs remain a driving force in our economy. Nearly ten percent of all American businesses today are owned by a veteran, collectively employing five million workers and generating $1.1 trillion in receipts. Each year, the SBA is proud to assist thousands of veterans, reservists, members of the National Guard and service-disabled veterans to start, grow and expand their small businesses.
In my travels, I have had the privilege to talk with numerous veterans about ways they can translate their military experience to the private sector. Wyoming is home to more than 50,000 veterans, and many of them see entrepreneurship as a way to make a good living and support their families. Historically, veterans have been more likely to start a small business than non-veterans. Nearly 6,500 Wyoming veterans have made the jump to small-business ownership. In many cases, the SBA worked in partnership with the veteran to help them find the financing and training they need to make their dream of entrepreneurship a reality.
One of the most successful initiatives the SBA has developed to assist transitioning military personnel is the Boots to Business Program. Boots to Business is a two-step entrepreneurial training program offered by the SBA as a training track within the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). This program has become a tremendous success at military installations across Wyoming. Boots to Business was so successful that we opened up a new training opportunity to veterans already in the workforce called Boots to Business Reboot. Boots to Business Reboot brings the Boots to Business curriculum off installations and into communities for veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve and military spouses.
The key to business success is knowing what to do and how to do it. The SBA’s resource partners train and assist thousands of Wyomingites each year. Our training and counseling services include a Veterans Business Outreach Center, eight Small Business Development Centers, a Women’s Business Center in Laramie, as well as a statewide volunteer network of executive mentors known as SCORE. The SBA’s Office of Veteran Business Development also has a comprehensive website with online business plans and other critical information for starting a business located at www.sba.gov/vets.
As regional administrator I am proud to support our many veterans and their spouses. If you would like more information on SBA’s programs and services please visit www.sba.gov/vetbiz or contact the Wyoming District Office at 307-261-6500. Also, join in the celebration by following us on Twitter at @SBAgov and sharing your stories with the #VetBiz and #MyVetBiz hashtags. Follow my office @SBArockymtn to learn about upcoming events region wide.
Dan Nordberg serves as the SBA’s Region VIII administrator and is based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.