Business Accelerators

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By Debbie Gregory.

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If you are launching or have recently launched your business startup, you are more than likely familiar with business incubators and business accelerators. Although the two seem to be used interchangeably, there are some very important differences.


While both provide developing companies access to mentorship, investors and other support that helps them become stable, self-sufficient businesses.  Many large startup incubators are run as nonprofits. They generally won’t ask for equity in a company in return for access to funding or resources in the way that accelerators do.


As a result, startups generally receive far less access to capital by joining an incubator than they could expect to receive from an accelerator. As a result, most investors prefer the accelerator model.


Additionally, incubators focus on fostering slow growth that can last years, where accelerators sponsor intensive, boot camp style programs that typically are much faster growth.


Companies that use business accelerators are typically start-ups that have moved beyond the earliest stages of becoming established, meaning they can stand on their own two feet but still need guidance and peer support to gain strength.


We have listed (alphabetically) a number of excellent accelerator programs:


  • Blue Startups – based in Honolulu, Hawaii, focus on technology companies, especially those that address markets in both Asia and the United States.
  • The Brandery – based in Cincinnati, offers support in branding, marketing and design.
  • Capriabased in Seattle, Washington, works with startups that develop innovative solutions to global problems, specifically those operating in emerging markets.
  • Cofound Harlem – based in New York City has the goal to build 100 companies in Harlem that want to make a real impact on the community by the year 2020.
  • Disney Accelerator – focuses on aiding technology innovators that want to create entertainment and new media experiences.
  • Gener8tor – based in Wisconsin, invests in high-growth startups that have a strong team.
  • Illumina Accelerator – based in San Francisco, focuses on clinical research and applied sciences, especially in the area of genomics.
  • LightSpeed Innovationsfocuses on helping startups in the aerospace industry in southern California.
  • Luma Launch – based in Santa Monica, California, focuses on evolving technology and content startups.
  • Make in LA – based in Los Angeles, focuses on hardware, from building prototypes to preparing pitches for investors.
  • Matter – based in both San Francisco and New York City, focuses on design thinking.
  • MergeLanebased in Boulder, Colorado, is focuses on women-led startups, Some of the programs can be completed virtually.
  • SaltMines Group, based in Vero Beach, Florida, focuses on mobile technology and social media products.
  • Sixers Innovation Lab – cultivates and supports the startup communities in Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.
  • StartFast – based in Syracuse, New York, is a mentorship-driven accelerator for startups working in software, mobile or Internet.
  • Startup52 – based in New York City, is an early-stage accelerator program that focuses on promoting diversity.
  • Startup Next – a pre-accelerator designed to help startups get into top accelerator programs, raise seed rounds of funding and achieve other early goals.
  • The Yield Labbased in St. Louis, Missouri, focuses on agricultural technology companies that want to create more sustainable agricultural products.
  • VentureOut – based in New York City, is a one-week hyper-accelerator that brings in startups from around the world and connects them to members of the startup and technology communities in New York City.
  • XRC Labs – based in New York City, focuses on retail and consumer goods.


Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

By Debbie Gregory.

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A memo from Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan appears to have preserved $310 million in California military construction funds that were in danger of being diverted to border wall construction.


Shanahan directed the Pentagon to provide a list of $3.6 billion in military construction projects that could be used to fund the border wall by early May. Shanahan’s memo exempted projects awarded in fiscal 2019.   The majority of the new construction planned for military bases at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Camp Pendleton and Fort Irwin have fiscal 2019 award dates.


The projects include a $118 million reconstruction of the docking facilities at the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, which includes the overhaul of the Anaheim Bay depot. This project will allow the station to load munitions onto larger ships and onto more ships simultaneously. It also will help accommodate the current shift of ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Work could begin as early as the end of this year.


The Navy’s preferred plan includes a 1,100-foot pier, a new breakwater to protect the pier, a causeway for trucks and a channel dedicated to public boats, which now travel through the same area used by Navy.


Camp Pendleton is slated for a $49-million amphibious-vehicle maintenance and warehouse building that is needed to properly maintain and repair the existing fleet of AAVs and new ACVs, that support the main combat focus of the Marine Corps amphibious operations.  There is also a $47-million upgrade to the base’s potable water system. The base still stands to lose $26 million awarded last year for a replacement medical care center.


Fort Irwin, a major training center in the Mojave Desert, is scheduled to receive $29 million in 2019 awards for a multipurpose training range complex. The National Training Center (NTC) is part of the United States Army Forces Command. The opposing force at the NTC is the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse Cavalry, who are stationed at the base to provide an opposing force to units on a training rotation at Fort Irwin.


Tell us what you think and bring any new updates to this information to our attention.


Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

Research & Development Tax Credits

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Governments typically incentivize private industry to produce research and development (R&D) as a strategic tool to advance their economies. The United States government also does so. The  Research & Experimentation Tax Credit (R&D Tax Credit) was first introduced in 1981 as a two-year incentive, and has remained part of the tax code ever since.

The rules of the Research & Development Tax Credit can be found under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 41 and the related regulations. The R&D tax credit may apply to any taxpayer that incurs expenses for performing Qualified Research Activities (QRA) on American soil.

It’s not only high-tech or life sciences companies with dedicated research departments that qualify for the R&D tax credit. Some other common industries that qualify include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Architecture
  • Automobile
  • Chemical & Formula
  • Engineering
  • Environmental
  • Food Science
  • Foundries
  • Life Sciences & Pharmaceutical
  • Machining
  • Manufacturing & Fabrication
  • Software Development
  • Tool & Die Casting

To qualify, you must be able to prove that the activities rely on are hard science, such as engineering, computer science, biological science, or physical science;  that they relate to the development of a new or improved business component; and that your activities constitute a process of experimentation involving testing and evaluation of alternatives to eliminate technological uncertainty.

The potential R&D credit benefits include a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your federal and state income tax liability; improved cash flow; look back studies that recognize unclaimed credits for open tax years(generally for three or four years); and up to 13.5 cents of R&D tax credit for every qualified dollar spent.

Whether you’ve already filed your return or filed an extension, the R&D credit is a powerful tool to help lower your tax rates. If you are uncertain as to whether you qualify for the R&D tax credit, there are numerous professionals that can guide you through the process.


Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

Small Business Ideas for Veterans – Part 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

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VAMBOA invites you to enjoy Part 3 of this series of Small Business Ideas for Veterans.


Security Dogs

If you love canines, breeding and training security dogs can be a very lucrative business.  This is an excellent idea for those who handled dogs in the military.  Law Enforcement Agencies are potential clients as well as private individuals.


Security Gadgets Installation

Installation of many security gadgets can be user friendly, a lot of people prefer to have someone else do the installation for them. Outdoor security lights, video door bells and home security system installations are on the rise.


Self-Defense Training

In real life, victims do not get to pick the bad guy or the time, place and/or method of attack. You can offer group training or individual training to those who want to take responsibility for their personal security.


Senior Care Business

Aging at home is often the first choice for the elderly population. Services you offer can include meal preparation, light cleaning, medication reminder, client escort, companionship, helping with bills etc.  With the aging of America, this is a huge market.


Special Event Security

Many venues that host special events, including musical concerts, award shows, film festivals, carnivals, require a security staff.  Many venues need reliable security and will award contracts.


Tax Services

People usually prefer having a tax expert handle the filing of their income taxes. If you have a talent for accounting, this may be a good business to pursue.


Temporary Staffing Agency

There will always be employers looking for temporary staff, and people looking for employment,  This can be a lucrative business as your agency will make money for every hour that each temporary employee earns and you can obtain contracts.


Tire Shop

Every car on the road will eventually need new tires. Make sure that you can secure a good location and be competitive.


Tow Truck Business

Your business can be called upon for everything from towing an illegally parked vehicle to helping those with a broken-down vehicle including accident victims. Keep in mind the hours can be long and you will have to work in all types of weather.



As a professional tutor, you will need to be constantly updated and have relevant knowledge of the subjects you are tutoring.  You may want to specialize in a specific subject or preparing students for specific tests such as SAT, ACT and moe.


Vehicle Wrap and Graphics Business

You can produce your own graphics and wraps, or order wraps from a dealer. This is a growing industry.


Wilderness Survival School

There has been an increase in wilderness survival schools due to the demand. If you’re resourceful and the outdoors type, consider sharing your knowledge with others.


Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

Small Business Ideas for Veterans – Part 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

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VAMBOA hopes you enjoyed Part 1 of Small Business Ideas for Veterans.  Please find below Part 2 of this 3 part series with more small business ideas for entrepreneurs.


Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Business (HVAC)

There is a great demand for HVAC experts and requires special training and licensing.  You can count on being extremely busy when temperatures are very high or low.   You might want to focus on maintenance and annual service calls as well as new installs.  You may also want to work exclusively in residential or commercial.   As a service-disabled veteran business owner, you have extra points when you bid on some contracts.


Home Inspection Services

The home inspection service business requires you to have knowledge of the construction and real estate. Plan on climbing up on roofs, attics and into crawl spaces. Having ASHI or NAHI certification may be required.  There is a huge market because almost every home sale requires a home inspection.


Identity Theft Protection Agency

If you are well versed in cyber security, this is a good business for you to get into as ID theft is a constant threat that costs consumers and businesses billions of dollars.


Junk/Trash Removal Business

You make money when people are moving, renovating or cleaning out their homes or businesses. You can also expand into document shredding.


Landscaping Business

If you have a green thumb, gardening tools and equipment, and are physically fit, this could be a great business for you. You can also provide artificial turf installation as this is a popular trend.  You may wish to focus on residential or on commercial.  Again, if you are a service-disabled veteran, companies seeking a diverse supplier network want to do business with you.


Locksmith Business

Locksmiths can be heroes to anyone who has ever found themselves on the wrong side of a locked door.  Additionally, tenants move, employees leave and there is a demand to change locks and update to locks and security that is better and offers more technology.


Off Road Tours Business

The ability to drive in rugged terrain and a love of the outdoors can lead you to start an off-road tour business.



Some jobs are best left to the experts, especially when they involve ladders, scaffolding and expertise.   You may want to focus on residential or commercial.


Personal Security/Bodyguards Business

More and more, people who are targets for kidnappers due to their wealth or fame are utilizing personal protection services. Prior security experience is highly recommended.  It addition many corporations provide their top management bodyguards.


Pest Control Services

Insects and wild animals are often a nuisance for residential homes and businesses. Your business will identify and eradicate these pests.  You can obtain monthly contracts too.



A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you have the talent to take beautiful photographs or capture precious moments at special events, consider a photography business.


Private Investigation Firm

Move over Magnum PI.  This business is a good one for those who are inquisitive and like to investigate, who are resourceful and are detail oriented.   resourceful.


Remodeling Business

If you can use remodeling design software, have a flair for design and are up on the latest design trends, this could be a great creative outlet as well as a lucrative business.  Perhaps you might want to focus on one area such as additions, fireplaces, bathrooms, kitchens.


Residential Security Consultant

You will provide expert advice and tips on various security issues to homeowners.  More and more homeowners are securing their homes with technology that they can access with their smart phones. Security stores and companies might want to partner with you for a mutually beneficial relationship.


Restaurant Business

You need to have passion for cooking and love to try out new recipes as well as be service oriented and understand all the aspects of running a business that is usually open seven days a week.



Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.