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Tips for Veterans Considering Business Ownership

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VAMBOA Small Business

One reason that many young Americans join the military is to get the chance to excel in a broad range of talents. Many young people complete high school and college, and realize that they have not isolated a singular talent that they want to spend the rest of their working lives doing. With their futures laid out before them, these brave patriots opt for military service as a means of finding an occupation that afford them the opportunity to wear many hats.

When these same patriots complete their contractual term of military service, some find that they still don’t have a desire to work in a field that only utilizes a few of their many skills and talents. Many Veterans choose to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is an exciting path for many Veterans, because it provides them with the freedom to be their own boss, while using all of their natural abilities and trained skills.

Similar to military missions, success or failure of a Veteran entrepreneur’s business relies heavily on the individual effort in preparation and execution of a business plan. In creating a business plan, Veteran entrepreneurs need to be sure to research every option, benefit and program available to them as a Veteran small business owner. Contacting the U.S. Small Business Administration, or researching their website at www.sba.gov is the best way to start gathering all of the intel needed to create a business plan. Veterans interested in starting their own businesses should also research the VA website’s portal for Veteran entrepreneurs.

Once a strong business plan has been created, Veteran Entrepreneurs can look into seeking loans and financing. Some of the particulars that Veterans want to look at include the type of credit scoring model their prospective lender uses, the lender’s loan rates, and loan terms. Lenders reputations can be viewed at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) by visiting www.finra.org. And again, the VA and SBA websites are great places to start your research for lenders who have a history of loaning to Veterans.

Veteran entrepreneurs who brave business ownership should take care to find a way to remember that like great military careers, great businesses aren’t made overnight. No one wakes up one morning to find stripes on their sleeves or stars on their collar. Instead they spent years learning the ropes and paying their dues as lower-grade enlisted or officers. The same mindset needs to be kept for entrepreneurship. Your business might start out small and experience struggles and hardships before it establishes itself and its reputation.

UF Launches Free Veteran Entrepreneur Program

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VAMBOA EntrepreneurWith the struggling job market and the confidence gained by their experiences in the military, more and more Veterans are choosing to start their own businesses. Many colleges and universities have committed to helping these Veteran entrepreneurs succeed.

Many Veteran-friendly schools have created independent programs for Veteran Entrepreneurs. These programs are designed to help current and potential Veteran business owners with the basics of how to start, fund and maintain their small businesses.

The University of Florida is in the middle of launching its own Veterans Entrepreneurship Program. UF’s program was created by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at their Warrington College of Business Administration. The program will be made available to 30 disabled Veterans at no cost. To qualify for the free program, Veterans must be

  • Separated from active duty
  • Identified as disabled by the VA or DOD due to a service–related disability
  • Demonstrate a passionate interest in entrepreneurship.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 20.

The University of Florida’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Program will provide its participants with an area of study that will be conducted in three phases.

Phase 1 Mar. 24- Apr. 26: This phase will cover Concept Development- Online discussions and self-study will be used to help Veteran entrepreneurs explore and develop business concepts that will shape their companies.

Phase 2 May 3-10: This phase has more of a boot camp feel to it. Veteran entrepreneurs will participate in a rigorous workshop on campus in Gainesville. Faculty and guest entrepreneurial experts will provide hands on teaching that gets down to the nitty-gritty of owning and running your own small business.

Phase 3 May 19 – Jan 2015: During this phase Veteran entrepreneurs are mentored for eight months by business experts. During this mentoring period, Veteran business owners can utilize the knowledge and experience of their mentors during the crucial, first few months of business ownership.

For more information about UF’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, email Michael Morris  or call him at (352) 273-0329. Visit UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration website portal for its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

In 1546, writer, sildenafil John Heywood was credited for the phrase, viagra “Many hands make light work.” But for small businesses, especially Veteran owned small businesses, very few hands carry a majority of the load. The success or failure of a small business can easily be shaped by the presence or absence of its owner, or a key employee.

With the number of Reservists who own small businesses and have been called to active duty in support of their country, a significant number of them have seen their economic fortunes suffer as a result of their military service. But the good news is that there is relief for these entrepreneurs.

Small businesses that sustained economic losses due to their owner or a key employee being summoned to active duty can apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA provides Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) to small businesses affected by the absence of a critical military employee. Applications for MREIDL loans are accepted any time from the date that the member was notified of their call-up to one year after the date of discharge or release from active duty. The loans are designed to allow eligible small business to maintain a current balance on operating expenses that the business could have covered if the business owner hadn’t been called to active duty.

The MREIDL program is managed by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. The loan is a direct working capital loan, not meant to grow or expand the recipient business, but to maintain the funding of daily operations. It also can’t be used to replace lost profits or refinance long term debt. Interest rates on MREIDL loans are at 4%. No collateral is required to secure MREIDL loans of $50, 000 or less.

Interested Reservist business owners should visit the SBA’s MREIDL portal where they can find more information, including how to apply for the loan. Reservist business owners can also call the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email the office at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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