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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

VAMBOA DOTThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) views military Veterans as a valuable resource, one that needs to be cultivated and utilized. Proving that the department isn’t just offering lip service, the DOT’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) has been teaming with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other partners to administer the Boots to Business: Reboot program to Veterans and Veteran entrepreneurs.

Through the summer of 2014, Boots to Business: Reboot has presented instructional events with discussions on topics such as developing a business plan, molding business concepts, and overall business fundamentals. Veterans were also connected to a network of resources through the OSDBU and its Small Business Transportation Resource Centers.

The OSDBU’s centers work closely with the transportation contracting community to assist transportation-related businesses in their respective regions. The resource centers also serve to provide business counseling to Veteran-owned businesses.

Veteran entrepreneurs participating in the Boots To Business: Reboot were also connected with resources conducive to locating access start-up capital and additional technical assistance. These resources include: Veteran Business Outreach Center, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE Counselors.

The DOT sees Veterans as natural entrepreneurs who can make a real impact on the transportation industry. Veterans are disciplined and mission-oriented. Veterans are also decisive and are used to being held accountable.

Unemployment among Post-9/11 Veterans has been consistently higher than the national average. With an increasing number of locally and federally sponsored business ownership programs available to current and former Military personnel, it only makes sense for Veterans to pursue entrepreneurship.

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: Training for Veteran Entrepreneurs: By Debbie Gregory

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By Military Connection Staff Writer Carol Miraula.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And no one is tougher than our nation’s Veterans. Many have found when they transition back to civilian life, it’s a tough economy,  and job openings are scarce. So they create their own jobs and jobs for others.

A study done by the Small Business Administration (SBA) found that veterans with 20-plus years of service had higher rates of self-employment. Veteran business owners possess military training that develops organizational skills and risk-tolerance. Veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to take the plunge into entrepreneurship than people with no active-duty military experience. Another added benefit, Veteran business owners tend to hire veterans.

Veteran Todd Fisher, the founder of two successful Yardley, PA based technology companies, agrees. In addition to the electronics and communication technology training he received as a signals officer in the Army, he learned other lessons that helped him run his two businesses. Fisher gives credit for the success of his companies, MobileMD and Intraprise Solutions, to his military training. His company employs 66 people, and of his first  11 employees, nine were veterans.

Several significant financial, mentoring and resources are available for veteran business owners. Service-disabled veteran-owned business owners have access to federal contract set-asides, a reserve of public contracts awarded to a minority or small business enterprise.

Among the additional resources for veteran business owners and service disabled veteran business owners are:

  • The SBA’s Veteran-Owned Business Programs , which include the Patriot Express Loan initiative for  veterans and members of the military community wanting to establish or expand small businesses, and the Operation Boots to Business initiative.
  • The VA Accelerator,  an online learning environment of eight curricula and five programs that focus on entrepreneurship, franchise ownership and employment.
  • The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal, which provides links to resources for financing and instructions on winning VA contracts.
  • VAMBOA – Veteran and Military Business Owners Association,  a non-profit veteran business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business  Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses and Military Business Owners. Membership in  VAMBOA is free and provides a multitude of resources

If your business needs additional workers, you may be able to achieve a number of goals at the same time: obtain qualified help for your business, reward those who served this country, and get a special tax break. Federal tax law allows employers to claim a work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) for hiring certain veterans. But to claim the credit, you must follow the rules.

 

Which veterans give employers a tax credit?

While hiring any vet can be beneficial for an employer because of the skills and training the vet has had, not all vets entitle an employer to the tax credit. Qualified vets for purposes of the WOTC include someone who:

  • Has served on active duty (not including training) in the U.S. Armed Forces for more than 180 days or has been discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability, and
  • Has not had a period of active duty (not including training) of more than 90 days that ended during the 60-day period ending on the hiring date.

Even if these tests are not met, a vet can still be considered qualified for the tax credit if he or she is:

  • A member of a family receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (food stamps) for at least a 3-month period ending during the 12-month period ending on the hiring date.
  • Veteran is unemployed for a period or periods totaling at least 4 weeks (whether or not consecutive) but less than 6 months in the 1-year period ending on the hiring date.
  • Veterans unemployed for a period or periods totaling at least 6 months (whether or not consecutive) in the 1-year period ending on the hiring date.
  • Entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability and hired not more than 1 year after being discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability and unemployed for a period or periods totaling at least 6 months (whether or not consecutive) in the 1-year period ending on the hiring date.

 

What is the amount of the tax credit?

You can reduce your tax bill by the full amount of the WOTC you’re entitled to.  The amount of the credit depends on the number of hours the vet works for you (at least 120 hours to claim any credit) and the category in which he or she falls. The credit ranges from a minimum of 25% of first-year wages up to $6,000 (for a top credit of $1,200) to 40% of $24,000 (for a top credit of $9,000).  You can find a complete listing of the credit amounts from the IRS (www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/VOW-to-Hire-Heroes-Act-Frequently-Asked-Questions-and-Answers).

There is no limit on the number of Veterans you can hire for this credit. However, the credit is part of the general business credit, which has an overall annual limit on the amount of credits you can claim currently (unused amounts can be taken in other years).

 

What steps must employers take?

You must hire a qualified vet before the end of 2013. While the credit may be claimed in 2014 with respect to the employee’s wages, the last day to hire is December 31, 2013 (unless Congress extends this break).

The vet must be certified by your state workforce agency as being qualified for purposes of the WOTC. To do this, you must submit IRS Form 8850 to your state workforce agency (usually the state’s unemployment department) within 28 days of the vet’s first day on the job. Have all new employees who might be qualified sign Form 8850 on their first day so you can submit it and find out whether a worker entitles you to a tax credit.

For any employee hired on or after January 1, 2012, and before April 2, 2013, you have until April 29, 2013, to submit the form and have it considered to be timely.

If a worker indicates that he or she believes he or she is eligible, you can claim the credit if the workforce agency fails to respond to your submission.

Barbara Weltman is an attorney, prolific author with such titles as J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, and trusted professional advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also the publisher of Idea of the Day® and monthly e-newsletter Big Ideas for Small Business® at www.barbaraweltman.com. She was named one of the 100 Small Business Influencers for 2012. Follow her on Twitter @BarbaraWeltman.

For the first time, this year’s National SBIR conference will be co-located with the 15th Annual TechConnect World and the National Innovation Summit and Showcase (NISS) in Washington, DC from May 13,-May 16 2013. NISS is designed to accelerate commercialization of American innovation by providing the world’s largest on site match making with investors, whereas the National SBIR Conference will provide important information for small businesses and stakeholders who are competing for SBIR/STTR contracts.

The SBIR/STTR program is one of the largest federally funded R&D grant programs providing over $2.5 billion dollars in contracts to innovative small business firms annually. We expect over 4,000 innovators, agency leads, corporate partners and investors to participate in this conference. This new event format gives you the best of both worlds! Whether you are a veteran or a beginner innovator, you will find something to suit you. This conference offers a range of activities including one- on -one meetings with program managers, to information sessions on your technical SBIR/STTR questions.

Please remember to register before March 30, 2013 before prices go up!

To register online, please visit: http://nationalinnovationsummit.com/program/National_SBIR_Conference.html.

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