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VAMBOA: startup

By Debbie Gregory.

In what could be groundbreaking legislation, members of Congress are considering a bill that would allow Veterans to use their GI benefits to start businesses, rather than using them for a college education.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs member Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) is drafting the legislation, which could potentially lower the $1.4 billion the Pentagon spent in 2013 on unemployment for former military personnel.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

The idea has the backing of the military service organizations the American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and others.

The education benefit can be as much as $260,000 for four years at a private college or university. For Veterans who aren’t interested in attending college or transferring their benefits to a dependent, this would be a great option. It certainly is better than leaving the benefit on the table.

Congress has worked in the past to help veterans receive small business loans. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 was a similar law that allowed Veterans to buy a farm, home or business property. It expired in 1956.

Fortenberry’s bill would create a three-year pilot program for 100 eligible veterans each fiscal year. Participants would be able to use up to three years of educational benefits to start or purchase a qualified business.

Participating Veterans would have needed to serve three years of full-time active duty. If they left active duty due to a service related disability, the time period is reduced to 24 months. Veterans would be required to apply for the program no more than 15 years after leaving the service.

In order to move forward with the program, Veterans would have to attend a boots-to-business course at an accredited university. Another caveat is that they would have to have their business plans approved.

The business startup modification to the G.I. Bill would have to be drawn up with safeguards to ensure that veterans have a chance for success. Since most startup businesses fail, the G.I. Bill proposal would need guarantees that Veterans applying for the program would receive mentorship and training.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business CoachingContracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: GI Benefits for Business Instead of Education?: By Debbie Gregory

SBA Excellence Awards - Albany,   NY

By Debbie Gregory.

National Small Business Week 2015 was May 4th-8th. It included major events in Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York and Washington D.C. This year’s theme was “Dream Big. Start Small.” The annual week of celebration, education and recognition is a yearly opportunity to honor the 28 million small businesses and renew our national commitment to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that is central to the American dream. On May 8th, National Small Business Week 2015 concluded with an awards ceremony at the White House.

At the ceremony, several small business owners, entrepreneurs, lenders, and supporters were recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). One of the awardees was RTH Mechanical Contractors, Inc., winning National Sub-Contractor of the Year.

RTH is a Veteran-owned mechanical and general contracting company,  servicing clients primarily in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont for more than 28 years. Some of the services that RTH provides include pipefitting, plumbing and med gas. RTH received more than $12 million in subcontracts to provide plumbing, mechanical ductwork and rooftop HVAC. The work included emergency repairs to mission critical design-build activities for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and New Boston AFS for the ECC corporation, its prime contractor.

Other clients of RTH include the U.S. Departments of Navy, Army, and Coast Guard, the New Hampshire Air National Guard, Bath Iron Works Facility, Veterans Administration, Dartmouth College, University of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

We at VAMBOA would like to congratulate RTH Mechanical Contractors, Inc. the National Sub-Contractor of the Year.

We would also like to encourage all VAMBOA members to keep an eye out in December for notices about the 2016 nominations. Be sure to nominate yourself, your company, your lender, or any agency/organization that has helped you and your small business succeed.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members withBusiness CoachingContracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: National Small Business Week Wrap-up: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA: Ready to Start Your Own Business?

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business ownerBy Debbie Gregory.

Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions, and completing a series of legal activities. But for many Veterans, transitioning from service member to CEO may be a more natural path than they might have imagined.

Most experts agree that the two biggest components for Veterans preparing to start their own businesses are choosing the right kind of business for them, and securing capital. They also recommended that aspiring business owners take time to think about where their passion lies.

VetFran Manager George Eldridge encourages Veterans interested in business ownership to do their research and examine all possibilities.

“In the military you think, ‘I can’t fail,’ but sometimes you have to think about the risks you’re getting into and have a balanced expectation when getting into something like this,” he said.

Veterans who are considering franchise ownership may want to start by surfing VetFran’s website. With more than 100 different franchise industries to peruse, there is something for every interest. The most popular franchises are in the food industry, followed by hospitality, home-based businesses, child care and pet care.

Although VetFran does not offer funding, it connects Veterans with funding assistance by working closely with the SBA and lenders within its supplier group.

The SBA offers a checklist for Veterans interested in starting a business. It suggests starting with a business plan, which is like a roadmap to determine your starting point, where you are going, and how to arrive at success through proper planning, preparation and management. The checklist also covers things like licenses, tax ID numbers, taxes, finance, location, etc.

Financing opportunities are plentiful for Veterans. The SBA, through its 68 field offices around the U.S. and 1,000 resource partners, has Veterans Business Outreach Centers around the country offering information on how to gain access to capital.

For Veteran-specific programs, the SBA helps businesses obtain reduced loan fees for any loan under $350,000.

Leveraging Information and Networks to Access Capital (LINC) is an online tool that connects loan seekers and lenders. By answering just a few questions, applicants can reach out to lenders all over the country.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Ready to Start Your Own Business?: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA: Why Veterans Become Business Owners

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WebBanners336x280By Debbie Gregory.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),  the unemployment rate in America has dropped to 5.5%, the lowest that it has been since 2008. The unemployment rate among the Post-9/11 era generation of Veterans is at 6.5%, among the highest in the nation. Many government and private initiatives have started to hire more Veterans. But the answer to eliminating Veteran unemployment may not be solved by finding jobs for Vets, but rather by allowing them to create jobs themselves.

Veterans are 44% more likely than their non-veteran peers to start their own business, according to the BLS. Many have speculated that years spent following orders drives Veterans to want to call their own shots in their second careers. Others have guessed that after years of deployments and frequent PCS moves, Veterans want to create their own businesses in order to lay down roots for themselves and their families in a particular region. While there may be some substance to these hypotheses, the truth of the matter is that Veterans become entrepreneurs because it utilizes their knowledge and skills that were enhanced through their military experience.

Service members, especially those in leadership positions, wear many hats, much like business owners do. And much like successful military leadership, successful business ownership requires the ability to delegate, the discipline to stick to a strategy, and the fortitude to inspire yourself and others to continue in the face of death or failure.The willingness to work hard doesn’t hurt.

But in battle and in business, guts and glory aren’t always enough to accomplish your mission. Successful campaigns and successful business require proper training and knowledge of the tactics that will be used. That is why programs such as the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) are a necessary first step for Veterans wishing to start their own companies.

The EBV program is a partnership between several of the country’s top business schools and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The schools offer free courses in entrepreneurship and business management to selected Veterans and military spouses. The aim of the EBV program is to open the door to economic opportunity for Veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture.

No one should go into battle unprepared, and they shouldn’t enter into an entrepreneurial venture unprepared either. Make sure that you have the training that you need to start your business and then utilize VAMBOA to continue learning and growing as a Veteran business owner.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

SBA Santa Ana District Office

PLEASE NOTE:  The correct date of the conference is May 6th.  A previous message erroneously had the date as May 2nd.  The correct date is May 6th.

8a conference flyer


This year’s 5th Annual SBA Southern California 8(a) and Small Business Conference promises to be the biggest and best ever.  Conference attendees can count on learning from a full range of informative and engaging workshops offering insights, tools, and hands-on learning experiences for 8(a) and non-8(a) certified small businesses.

For government contracting novices, workshops will explain certification, getting started in federal procurement, writing a compelling capabilities statement, and accessing financing, including SBA-backed loans.

For growing government contractors, seminars will look at honing your marketing tools, learning insider tips from contracting officers and consultants, exploring teaming opportunities, and more.

For established government contractors, workshops will include procurement forecasts from local buying activities, expanding commercial opportunities through prime contractors, and a discussion on new government contracting initiatives that affect small businesses.

Every business participating in the conference will be able to take advantage of one-on-one matchmaking appointments with corporate and government buyers and incredible networking opportunities, right here in Orange County.

There aren’t many opportunities to attend events focused on Federal government procurement here on the West Coast, so register today to reserve yourself a seat at the 5th Annual SBA Southern California 8(a) and Small Business Conference!

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