From boots to business: SBA helps veterans make transition

Daniel Nordberg
Daniel Nordberg

President Donald Trump demonstrated the importance of veteran entrepreneurs in donating his second quarter salary to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The funding will help the SBA create a seven-month intensive training program for veterans transitioning from military service to small business ownership.

Veteran entrepreneurs remain a driving force in our economy. Nearly 10 percent of American businesses are owned by a veteran, collectively employing 5 million workers and generating
$1.1 trillion in receipts. Each year, the SBA is proud to assist thousands of veterans, reservists, members of the National Guard and service-disabled veterans to start, grow and expand their small businesses.

Working in collaboration with our government and community partners, the SBA plays an important role in supporting service members as they exit the military and become entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a transitioning service member, National Guard and reserve member or military spouse, the SBA is here to assist you with business training and education, access to capital and federal contracting opportunities.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to talk with many veterans about ways they can translate their military careers to the private sector. Colorado is home to more than 410,000 veterans. Many of them see entrepreneurship as a way to make a good living and support their families.  Historically, veterans have been more likely to start a small business than non-veterans. Nearly 50,000 Colorado veterans have made the jump to small business ownership. In many cases, the SBA worked in partnership with veterans to help them find the financing and training they needed to make their dreams of entrepreneurship a reality.

The key to business success is knowing what to do and how to do it. SBA resource partners train and assist thousands of Coloradans each year. Training and counseling services include a Veterans Business Outreach Center, 14 Small Business Development Centers and a Women’s Business Center at the Mi Casa Resource Center in Denver as well as a statewide volunteer network of executive mentors known as SCORE. The SBA Office of Veteran Business Development also maintains a comprehensive website at www.sba.gov/vets offering online business plans and other critical information for starting a business.

One of the most successful initiatives the SBA has developed to assist military personnel is the Boots to Business program. Boots to Business is a two-step program offered as a training track within the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program. This program has been a success at multiple military installations across Colorado. Boots to Business was so successful we opened up a new training opportunity to veterans already in the work force called Boots to Business Reboot. Boots to Business Reboot brings the Boots to Business curriculum off installations and into communities for veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve and military spouses.

Veterans are integral to the growth of America’s small businesses. We set aside Nov. 5 to 9 as National Veterans Small Business Week to honor our veteran entrepreneurs and the contributions they make to our thriving economy. SBA district offices and resource partners across the country host local events, including Boots to Business Reboot; webinars; and workshops on access to capital, federal procurement and entrepreneurial development.

Visit www.sba.gov/vetbiz or call the Colorado District office at (303) 844-2607 to find out about various events in your community. Join us in the celebration by following us on Twitter @SBAgov and sharing your stories with the #VetBiz and #MyVetBiz hashtags.