For many veterans, facing a return to civilian employment after military service can seem a daunting challenge. The U.S. government invests billions of dollars to train the men and women of the armed forces to become successful and disciplined leaders in the battlefield. So why not put those same organizational skills and “can-do” attitude toward the most appropriate match in the job market—owning your own business?
Effective leadership, teamwork, and discipline are the talents that are most directly correlated to becoming a successful entrepreneur. To help veterans interested in starting their own business or expanding an existing one, the SBA’s Small Business Develop Centers (SBDC) provide free, hands-on assistance through their Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers, located throughout the country.
The SBDC’s Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC) provides targeted business training, counseling, and mentoring to help veterans start and grow their small businesses. In New York State, the SBDC has Veterans’ Business Outreach Centers in Albany, Buffalo and Farmingdale (Long Island), staffed by knowledgeable Business Advisers who are dedicated to assisting veterans and their spouses. Other centers across the country are listed on the SBDC website, http://www.sba.gov/content/veterans-business-outreach-centers.
The NYS SBDC will work with any Veteran at NO cost, in one-on-one counseling, to assist in the following areas:
- Business Plan Development
- Financials Projections
- Small Business Start- Up Information
- Buying/Selling a Business
- Business Expansion
- Purchasing a Franchise
- Marketing Strategies
- Market Research
- Cost Analysis/Financial Management
- Identifying Sources of Capital
- Business Growth Strategies
- International Trade
These are just a few areas in which they help to improve the economic viability of your business. The VBOC also works with a network of Veteran support agencies that can assist you.
The program works closely with lending institutions and local venture capital firms acting as a catalyst to help small businesses access capital. The NY center counsels more than 1000 entrepreneurs annually.
The VBOC was created by the U.S. Congress to enable men and women who have served in the Armed Forces to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by owning and operating their own business. Service disabled veterans are especially encouraged to use these services.
As a Veteran Business Advisor, I travel all around New York State and other parts of the country, attending veteran-related events to gather as much information as possible to better serve the veteran communities. As a result of some of those efforts, the NY State Veteran Business Outreach Program just won the 2013 National Award for outreach services to the veteran communities.
Since its inception, this award-wining program has provided advice and outreach to more than 10,000 veterans and located more than $160 million in investment funding for veterans. The NY State VBOC program has become a national model for providing business assistance and targeted outreach to veterans.
In upcoming posts in this series on Veteran Entrepreneurship, I’ll discuss in-depth the different programs we offer and the types of industries that show growth, as well as success stories of the many Vets who have benefited from the VBOC program. Starting a business doesn’t have to be daunting. All it takes is honor, courage, and commitment—the hallmark qualities of all our Veterans.
Published: September 12, 2013