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By Debbie Gregory.

It seems that you can’t watch an hour-long news program without the mention of at least one of many hardships Veterans are facing. Along with VA scandals, there are struggles with PTSD, unemployment, homelessness, and underemployment. These societal ills have scourged all generations of Veterans, and are taking an extreme toll on the Post-9/11 generation. But from pain and discomfort, the strong usually seek ways to improve their situation. It is for these reasons that Veterans are 45% more likely to seek self-employment through entrepreneurial ventures that their non-Veteran peers.

But Veterans aren’t just shucking off their uniforms and conforming to life in business suits. They are taking their military experience with them into entrepreneurship, and getting positive results. Many in the business world are now looking to Veteran business owners as examples of the ideal business owner. Here are a few examples of why:

  • Efficiency– It is commonly joked about that the most effective military leaders are the ones who are free to goof around on their computer all day. While we know that this isn’t true, the culture of military leadership is to prioritize tasks and delegate work as needed. Veteran business owners are more likely to heighten efficiency by delegating tasks, freeing them up for more critical tasks.
  • Leadership– Everyone in the military answers to somebody else, and at some point in their career, most enlisted personnel have others below them. Taking and giving orders is a skill, just like anything else, and Veterans have had some of the best training around. Those with military leadership experience have the conditioning to make important decisions and assign tasks in a manner that can instill confidence from their employees.
  • Team Building– Veterans know that the key to accomplishing any mission is to have all members of their team working together, as one unit. It doesn’t matter if that mission is securing a building, cleaning the workspace, or meeting a sales quota, the principles are all the same, and Veterans have been conditioned with the mentality to apply that principle to any task.
  • Selling Commitment– Most living things instinctivelydo whatever they can to preserve their lives. Service members rush towards danger. That’s not by accident, that’s by mental conditioning and by being sold on a commitment to your comrades, to your unit, and to your country. There are no better cheerleaders and brand sellers than military personnel and Veterans.
  • Gathering Intel– This is an attribute that is often overlooked. But because of the thought process involved with immersing one’s self into battle, Veterans have been conditioned to study the field, know the rules of engagement, and keep a constant tally on their assets. This type of thinking is second-nature to those who have served, and comes in handy when developing and carrying out a business plan.

Veteran business owners apply these same skills to their businesses. There are numerous other skills and attributes that Veterans picked up through their military experience that contribute to their success as business owners. With the right resources and the right mindset, Veterans know that they can accomplish anything.

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: Five Examples Why Veteran Are Successful Business Owners: By Debbie Gregory

EBV

Today, many Veterans are struggling to transition into corporate jobs, even as their own bosses. Many lack the specific business skills and confidence needed to succeed in this new environment. But why do these men and women, who thrived in uniform, consistently continue to struggle after separating from the military?

To answer to this question, Veterans should think back to the start of their military careers. Did they enter their branch of service automatically able to find success? Of course, the answer is no. Service members had to spend time learning the fundamentals of how to do their jobs, so that they would be capable of working and leading in their military occupation. And before that, they were sent on a crash-course, called Basic Training or Boot Camp.

Can anyone who served ever fathom beginning their military career without going to basic training first? That would be ludicrous. How would anyone expect to know about the basics of military life without going to boot camp first? In the same vein, Veterans can’t be expected to spontaneously know all they need to know in order to be successful in civilian careers and entrepreneurial ventures? But in reality, too many Veterans attempt to do so.

The good news is that there are programs, such as the one through the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) Foundation to assist them. The EBV program is designed to open the door to economic opportunity for Veterans and their families. This is done by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. EBV is basic training for Veterans looking to start their own companies, but who need to learn the fundamentals of business and business ownership first.

Veterans who graduate from EBV leave with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to start their post-military careers as businessowners. The program also offers graduates grant funding and a support system to better ensure success. EBV is free to all Veterans with a disability rating from the VA. To see all eligibility requirements and apply for an EBV program near you, please visit www.ebvfoundation.org

If you are interested in becoming an EBV mentor, donating to the program, or otherwise supporting EBV or Veteran businesses, please get involved here.

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: Why You Need Bootcamp: By Debbie Gregory

EBV SuccessBack in 2007, Syracuse University played home to the inaugural class of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program. The EBV program is designed to open the doors of economic opportunities for Disabled Veterans and their families by helping them develop professional networks, and learn how to create and sustain their own businesses.

The EBV program has grown into a national movement, helping over 700 disabled Veterans. Several university campuses across the country now hold entrepreneurship boot camp sessions for Veterans.  Joining Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management in offering the EBV program to Veterans are Cornell University, Louisiana State University’s E.J. Ourso College of Business, the University of Connecticut’s School of Business, Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, Florida State University’s College of Business, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, and Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

The entrepreneurship training is offered, to qualified Veterans who are accepted into the program, at no charge to the Veterans, and without using any of their GI Bill. For the last seven years, 70% of EBV graduates have gone on to start their own companies.

One EBV success story comes from the very first session at Syracuse in 2007. Marine Corps Veteran John Raftery was preparing to start a contracting firm in Dallas when he read an article about a small business training program for Veterans with disabilities.  The former Marine immediately applied and was accepted into the EBV program.

Raftery credits the program with helping him take the critically important first steps as a small business owner. In 2012, Raftery’s company, Patriot Contractors, Inc., was on a list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the country.

“I don’t think the business would have grown as quickly if not for the EBV program,” Raftery said.

Many Veterans served to preserve the American dream for their countrymen. Thousands of Veterans fulfill their own American dreams when their service to our country has ended. Already proven to have the winning spirit, Veterans make great entrepreneurs.

There are numerous resources available to help Veteran entrepreneurs succeed in their business ventures. The EBV program is just one of many. Please be sure to visit www.VAMBOA.org, as well as VAMBOA’s Resource Page to find out more information on the EBV program and many other state, federal and local programs for Veteran entrepreneurs.

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: Entrepreneur Bootcamp Success Story: By Debbie Gregory

EBV-LogoA considerable number of Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home with some form of VA-rated disability. Many of these disabled Veterans have difficulty adjusting to their new lives, and some are experiencing difficulties finding meaningful employment. But through the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program, disabled Veterans are becoming empowered small business owners.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program offers top of the line training and experience in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 Veterans, disabled as a result of their military service. The program is offered at no cost to participating Veterans, and does not require the use of any Veteran education benefits.

The program is based on three principles:

1) Developing skills in the activities associated with launching and growing a small business

2) Teaching disabled Veterans to leverage state and federal programs for Veterans and people with disabilities

3) Establishing a support structure for graduates of the program

EBV originated in 2007 at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. EBV now has offerings at the Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, the E.J. Ourso College of Business at LSU, Florida State University’s College of Business, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, the University of Connecticut School of Business, and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

The EBV program is an invaluable opportunity for disabled Veterans to take an important step toward economic freedom through entrepreneurship. The program is selective based on eligibility, need and potential. Applications for EBV will be accepted from Veterans who:

  • Have separated from active duty service after 2001 (or are currently in the administrative process of separating)
  • Have been identified as having a ‘service-connected disability’ as a result of their military service (including activated National Guard and Reserves) Note: Can be in process of evaluation of disability through the VA
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership/management

Applicants must also submit their Résumé and two Letters of Recommendation when filling out an online EBV Application Form.

The selection process will be based on the ‘whole-person’ concept, with a focus on an assessment of the applicant’s potential to excel in the program. Also taken into consideration is the Veteran’s potential to excel upon graduating from the EBV in the area of entrepreneurship and small business management.

NOTE: The percentage of your disability is not a factor in determining your acceptance into the EBV program.

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: Crash Course in Entrepreneurship for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

SBA Learning CenterOne of the greatest advantages to running your own small business is that you are your own boss. The down-side to this is that there usually isn’t anyone else within the company that has more experience or knowledge to rely on; it’s just you. As the owner of a small business, you need to be on top of the latest business trends, technologies and laws. Luckily, to that end, entrepreneurs can utilize the SBA Learning Center.

The SBA Learning Center, powered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offers small business owners a wealth of resources. The site provides online training courses, videos, and live chat sessions with SBA representatives. Some of these resources help business owners learn about the government programs available to them, including grants, loans and exemptions.

There are also “Featured Training” courses that every entrepreneur should take. Whether you’re just getting your feet wet, trying to tread water, or sailing full-steam ahead, your business questions can be answered by utilizing the learning center’s educational resources. The site also contains tools that go beyond just education.

There is a link that connects small business owners directly to assistance in their area. By clicking on the “Find Resources” tab, under “Get Local Assistance,” entrepreneurs can be locate mentors, counselors, and training from SBA district offices, SCORE chapters, Small Biz Development Centers, and Women’s Biz Centers by zip code.

The SBA Learning Center also showcases the “Featured Tool” that shows entrepreneurs how their small business matches up against similar companies in their communities, in their state, and in the nation.

By clicking “Start Analysis” you are prompted to input your industry and location. From there, business owners can compare their business to industry competitors, find the best places in your town to target an advertising campaign, and map out competitors, customers and suppliers.

There is a multitude of resources available to small business owners through the SBA at www.sba.gov.

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: SBA Learning Center: By Debbie Gregory

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