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Small business training for veterans set for major expansion

Jun. 11, 2014 - 04:01PM   |  
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The Small Business Administration announced a major expansion of their post-military entrepreneurship training efforts Tuesday, unveiling a plan to open the program beyond transitioning troops to any interested veteran.

The “Boots to Business: Reboot” effort will launch in July at the White House, the first of 12 new classes this summer, each of which will train up to 100 veterans in the basics of creating and launching a small business.

Officials did not announce how many veterans may participate beyond those 1,200, but SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet identified the potential pool for future program work as “the 23 million veterans who’ve already made the transition to civilian life.”

“We also have a special obligation to serve those who served us so well,” she said in a Washington, D.C., speech on SBA outreach efforts Tuesday. “They fought for our freedoms, and now many are ready to fight for their dream of starting a business.”

The existing Boots to Business program is offered as an elective track within the Defense Department’s transition assistance efforts. SBA officials estimate that 15,000 separating service members will take part in the classes this year, and have planned to expand the program to overseas bases in the next six months.

Separating troops with an interest in self-employment take part in a two-day course on business fundamentals taught by SBA experts, and have the option for a follow-on eight-week online course from Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families on the fundamentals of developing a business plan.

The program’s stated goal is to give participants “the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity and launch their enterprise.”

Now, those same course offerings will be made available free of charge to any interested veterans who have already left service.

The adapted curriculum will feature not only business planning for would-be entrepreneurs but also ways to connect to “a network of lifetime business support,” including SBA’s veteran business outreach centers, women’s business centers and agency counselors.

Participants also will have access to SBA resources designed to connect them with start-up capital and technical assistance, to help get their small business ideas started.

Agency officials said its a good investment; according to SBA data, veterans in America today own roughly 2.5 million small businesses, which combined generate more than $1 trillion in sales annually.

For more information or to register, visit the SBA’s Boots to Business website.

The schedule for the new “Boots to Business: Reboot” events:

July 11-12: Washington, D.C.

July 24-25: Dallas-Fort Worth

July 29-30: Miami

July 31-Aug. 1: Chicago

Aug. 5-6: Boston

Aug. 6-7: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Aug. 8-9: Kansas City, Missouri

Aug. 13-14: Detroit

Aug. 13-14: Philadelphia

Aug. 15-16: Los Angeles

Aug. 20-21: Seattle

Aug. 25-26: Charlotte, North Carolina

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