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Boots to Business: New SBA Entrepreneur Program for Vets

By: Amy Amoroso

 

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Last year the Department of Defense launched a revamped transition assistance program for Veterans. “Transition Goals Plans Success,” known simply as Transition GPS, replaces the 20-year-old Transition Assistance Program, or TAP. The goal of Transition GPS is to strengthen service member’s transition from military to civilian life and to prepare them for success in the next phase of their life. There are now three optional tracks a service member can choose from:

 
  1. Education
  2. Technical Training
  3. Entrepreneurship
 
As a result of the Entrepreneurship track, SBA and its Resource Partner Network (Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)), Women’s Business Center (WBC), SCORE, Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), and Syracuse University have collaborated and will deliver the training. This Entrepreneurial training program is aptly named Boots to Business: Service to Startup. The Boots to Business program builds on SBA’s role as a national leader in entrepreneurial training.
 
Boots to Business, or B2B, began in July 2012 as a pilot program, and rolled out in January 2013 across the nation. B2B aims to provide exposure to entrepreneurship to the 250,000 members who transition every year, many of whom have faced constricted employment opportunities during the economic downturn.
 
Entrepreneurship and small business ownership are key opportunities for service members as they transition into civilian life. Transitioning veterans are natural entrepreneurs, possessing the training, experience, and leadership skills to start businesses and create jobs. According to the most recent Census Data, veteran-owned businesses represent 9% of all U.S. businesses. These 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employed 5.793 million individuals.
 
The NYS SBDC, VBOC recognizes the contributions that veterans make by owning and running small businesses that employ millions of Americans. As a Veteran Business Advisor with the SBA, I believe that the opportunity exists to support more veterans so they can grow businesses and create jobs. We provide the service members with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to evaluate opportunities and become entrepreneurs as they transition out of the military. We will help them get started, and introduce them to our Resources Partner Network for support throughout the life-cycle of their new business.
 
As an adjunct professor under the Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), I am just one of the resource partners who has been solicited to teach this entrepreneurship training track, B2B. The program will guide the service members through a 2-day classroom instruction course focused on creating a feasibility analysis for a business plan. Upon completion of this course, the service member has the option to further their business planning and entrepreneurship training in an 8- week course.
 
Boots to Business is offered in a three-part entrepreneurial track, offered by SBA and its resource partners like Syracuse University, which includes:
 
  1. Transition GPS: Service members attending Transition GPS gain exposure to the entrepreneurship track by viewing a 10 minute video http://youtu.be/sZ-M5FS-cPw
  2. Intro to Entrepreneurship: During Transition GPS, the service member elects to participate in an entrepreneurial class, taught by one of the resource partners, which teaches business fundamentals and provides a feasibility analysis tool at a local military installation
  3. Business Plan Development: Upon completion of the intro course, transitioning veterans have the option to further their study of business planning though an online course. This online course provides 8 weeks of instruction and covers the principles of accounting, finance, market analysis, planning, business operations, sales and more.
 
After completing B2B, participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a plan, and launch their business enterprise.
 
The SBA is a government sponsor of B2B offered in conjunction with the Department of Defenses’ Transition GPS program. Service members wishing to participate in B2B should inquire with their Transition GPS coordinator and or career advisor. The SBA’s District Offices can also provide information about upcoming B2B events abo9ut two weeks in advance of an event. Contact info can be found at www.sba.gov or you can contact me directly at aamoroso@albany.edu.
 
B2B is offered at no cost to all participants. It caters to all pay grades, Enlisted and Officers, as well as military spouses and dependents.
 
Published: October 10, 2013
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Amy Amoroso

Amy Amoroso held the position of Business Advisor at NYS Small Business Development Center from 2006-2014, then took on the role of SBDC’s VBOC Program Coordinator, 2014-2016. During her tenure with SBDC VBOC, Amy collaborated with the Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership to develop programs offered through its Michael R. McNulty Center for Veteran Entrepreneurial Activity including monthly Veteran to Veteran networking hours. In 2016, Amy became Director of Veteran Business Outreach NY/NJ when the Arsenal Partnership was awarded the VBOC designation. Amy assists veterans, service members and military spouses with starting, buying or expanding any business. She teaches a Boots to Business program for service members transitioning out of the military and into entrepreneurship. Amy is actively involved with the Tech Valley Chamber Coalition. She serves as a Board Member of United Military Affairs Council and its Marketing Committee Co-Chair, a Board Member of Schenectady Business Advocacy Committee, an Advisory Board Member of Peaceful Acres Horses Rescue in Pattersonville, NY, as well as a Building Committee Member of Montgomery County SPCA. Amy helped create a bill currently in legislation that will secure NY State Procurement opportunities for Veteran Business Owners. In addition, she owns her own small business.

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