Entrepreneurship After Military Retirement: Is It Right for You?

Wed, Dec 02, 2015 @ 08:12 AM Dawn M. Smith Military Life

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If you're thinking about starting a small business post military retirement, the Department of Veterans Affairs says the stats are there to solidify your new idea.

Did you know that veterans are 45% more likely than civilian startups to become prosperous? Their leadership skills and discipline learned during military service often give these "vetreprenuers" an edge over their competitors.

Two entities stand out as champions of veteran small business startups: The Small Business Administration and the EBV (Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities) National Program. Both are excellent resources to begin to evaluate if your idea has what it takes to become successful.

The Small Business Administration supplies detailed guidance for most questions that come up when considering working for yourself. Several checklists are available to get the creative juices flowing and help set a business-minded process.

But these facts are just the beginning of a stream of important information. Financial planning, mentorship, and education are three of the many subjects covered. Because the SBA is a huge office, the Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) has been established to guide veteran entrepreneurs.

The EBV, operated by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) offers one-of-a-kind training in entrepreneurship and small business management.

EBV is taught in a three phase curriculum.

  • Phase 1: Online courses led by instructors focusing on the building blocks of entrepreneurship and the basic language of business.
  • Phase 2: Nine day in-residence learning at an EBV university with access to more than 30 entrepreneur educators. There is no cost for qualifying veterans.
  • Phase 3: One year of mentor support and access to the EBV Technical Assistance Program which includes a vast network of resources and national partnerships.

Women veterans get an opportunity to investigate small business startup plans through the V-Wise program produced jointly by the SBA and IVMF. V-Wise also delivers entrepreneurial education through a three phase system, but offers two tracks of learning. The growth track continues to support small businesses already operating and the startup track focuses on potential business ideas. V-Wise only serves 200 businesswoman per session.

Both the SBA and EBV serve not only veterans, but military spouses as well. Many of their programs actively support spouse or family enrollment.

Although the SBA and EBV are fantastic places to start small business research, MilitaryByOwner has produced a comprehensive guide for veteran small business with many more resources to investigate.

Career Resources for Veterans and Military Spouses