What resources are available for military veterans and their spouses who are seeking further guidance on how to advance from start-up to established business status?
Part of the challenge is that the skills needed to start a business are not the same as those needed to maintain and grow an established business. In addition to the skills, a common concern revolves around resources.
Usually, little if any distinction is made between the needs of a military veteran vs. a non-veteran in starting a business.
Typical resources include the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), which provides business counseling and assistance; SCORE, which helps educate entrepreneurs and assist growth, and other Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), which are partnerships between the government and universities that provide free services to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
However, veterans may also utilize the American Corporate Partners (ACP), a networking and mentoring program intended to help veterans re-enter the civilian workforce.
A more recent development is the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), founded in 2007 at Syracuse. The bootcamp was designed to provide free training to veterans. Universities now offering the program include Syracuse, Cornell, Purdue, Florida State, Louisiana State, UCLA, the University of Connecticut and Texas A&M.
The bootcamp has three phases. After a self-study, concept development phase, there is a brief residency and workshop period. During Phase 3, the veteran receives technical assistance from participating faculty and other partners. Additional information about EBVs can be found at www.whitman.syr.edu/ebv/.
With the initial success of the EBVs, additional universities may become partners or offer complementary programs. For instance, IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) will establish its first American Legion on a college campus. Overall, these men and women have served and sacrificed for our country. The EBVs are but one humble way to provide recognition and appreciation to them.