4 resources for veterans starting businesses

Thinking of putting your military experience to work in your own business?

veteran entrepreneurVeterans have lots of knowledge, skills, and experiences that can make them ideal entrepreneurs: many have specialized expertise, persistence, an ability to take smart risks, and strong organizational and goal-setting skills.

In fact, veterans are about 45 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs than people with no active-duty military experience, according to a 2011 study from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Veterans also have several resources to tap into for help getting started as an entrepreneur. Here are four to check out:

1) Small Business Development Centers

There are more than 900 local SBDCs throughout the United States and they offer free business advising, mentoring, and training classes to help people build businesses. A collaboration of the U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local governments, and private sector funding resources, SBDCs also offer specialized programs for veterans.

Locate an SBDC near you to learn more about their range of services, which may include:

2) GI Bill benefits

Veterans may be able to use their education benefits to pay for training on how to start or develop a small business, through the SBDCs. Find out if you might be eligible under any of these programs.

3) Small Business Administration

The SBA also has 15 organizations that serve as Veterans Business Outreach Centers. These sites provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.

4) VA assistance

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also sponsors resources for veterans who want to start or develop their own businesses. Their Veteran Entrepreneur Portal makes it easier for small businesses to access federal services, and quickly connects veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information on topics such as accessing financing, business growth strategies, federal government contract opportunities for businesses, and more.

Find more tips and resources to help veterans transition to civilian careers at CareerOneStop’s Veterans ReEmployment.

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