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By Debbie Gregory.

As military members complete their tours of duty, re-establishing their careers may be one of the most important tasks in returning to civilian life. Some may be returning to careers that were interrupted during the time they served, but many are starting from scratch. Though the job market is showing some signs of improvement, it’s a slow rise, and those returning veterans are only adding to the many already vying for available jobs. This is one reason many veterans are coming home with aspirations of starting their own businesses.

Entrepreneurial endeavors may be the desired direction, but a good number of veterans express the difficulty acquiring their startup funds to be their biggest challenge. While most industry sectors have veteran business-owners, be it manufacturing, consulting or service industries, technology-related businesses appear to be increasingly popular for veteran entrepreneurs.

Banks are not as willing to establish loans for startup businesses. This leaves potential business owners needing to resort to other means to get their enterprises underway, be it self-funding, crowd-funding, or acquiring funds from friends, relatives, angel investors and venture capitalists. When those resources do not prove to be sufficient, an alternative is exploring government grants specifically for veterans in technology.

There are some stipulations. For example, while the federal government cannot provide grants to a business in the startup phase, it can provide grants for veteran-owned technology firms once established. Two in particular, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, average $2 billion in grants awarded each year. Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the businesses most likely to be awarded grants from these programs fall into the small high-tech category, related to healthcare, education, public safety and criminal justice.

With numerous opportunities for gaining financial stability, and informational resources, such as those available through organizations like VAMBOA (Veteran and Military Business Owners’ Association), startups for veteran entrepreneurs are, indeed, attainable. Of the 28 million businesses in the U.S., approximately 2.4 million are veteran-owned, and this number is growing.

VAMBOA: California Business Portal

Those who own a small business — or want to start one — now have a one-stop source of information about the how-tos.

California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development this month set up a website dedicated to answering basic questions about starting, running or relocating a business.

Users also can use the portal to obtain licenses and permits, as well as to learn about state and local regulations and find links to additional information on government incentives.

The site is at www.businessportal.ca.gov and is accessible on both iOS and Android cell phones and other devices.

Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee

source: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_28482650/website-set-up-help-small-businesses?source=rss

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

Businesses owned by Veterans and Service-Disabled Veterans have been a research priority of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy since 1999. The following report contains the research and data on Veteran owned businesses, and their owners, that helps policymakers in government make informed decisions regarding the best ways to promote and assist these businesses succeed.

Veteran Business Owners Census

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