The New Jersey SBDC at the Rutgers School of Business in Camden, New Jersey, has been conducting the “Boots to Business” Entrepreneurial Program at the Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base in Lakehurst, New Jersey for the past two years. Partnering with the Small Business Administration Office of Veterans Business Development, Americas SBDC and the New Jersey SBDC, the Rutgers Camden SBDC has lectured hundreds of returning soldiers seeking to start their own businesses.
“Boots to Business” enables military service members and their spouses to explore careers in business ownership and self-employment, by showing them how to apply their military skills to start and grow a business. It helps them evaluate the feasibility of their business concepts and connects them to SBDCs and other SBA resource partners. (more…)
By Mark L. Rockefeller, CEO, StreetShares
I’m one of the 2.5 million veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m also an entrepreneur. And I’m not alone. The men and women of today’s armed services are uniquely positioned to become successful entrepreneurs.
To my fellow veterans:
You have what it takes. By nature of your military service, you possess the skills that are required to run your own business. As a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, you learned the importance of communication, focus, and drive to accomplish the mission at hand. You’ve encountered problems that need to be solved on the fly and you’ve done so instinctively. Recall one of the earliest reports from Operation Enduring Freedom: U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan coordinated precision airstrikes from laptops on horseback—21st Century technology met old-fashioned creativity to get the job done. That’s called entrepreneurship.
You are a leader. You’ve already acted with more poise under pressure than most people do in a lifetime. You’ve shown bravery in the most daunting situations one can face. These experiences will naturally yield positive results in a position of leadership; people around you will seek your guidance and direction, knowing they can trust your judgment. Use this to confidently build a team and lead them to success. (more…)
Helping America’s servicemen and servicewomen make the move from military service to business ownership is an important mission of the America’s SBDC network, and we are proud that one of our own has been named a “Boots to Business Instructor of the Year.” That honor goes to Robin Stephenson, Business Advisor at the Watertown, New York SBDC.
Robin has been working to help our men and women in uniform transition to civilian life as business owners since before the creation of the Boots to Business program, and when Boots to Business came into being, Robin quickly got the program up and running for the Watertown SBDC at Fort Drum. (more…)
Success Story: Texas
“The (UTSA SBDC) staff are experts in leveraging business acumen and providing resources, advice and access to avenues that help small-business owners start and grow their business. I highly recommend them to any veteran starting their own business.” – Tim Porter, Founder & CEO, Appddiction Studio
Tim Porter planned on a long career in the military, quickly moving up the Army ranks for nearly 10 years. But one instant changed everything. Stationed at Camp Casey in South Korea in 1998, a bomb exploded in Porter’s hands during a training exercise.
Over the next 15 years, Porter would enter the information technology field and climb the ladder much like he had in the military. With the help of friends, reading books and watching tutorials, he taught himself how to develop apps. (more…)
Success Story: Montana
“The one thing that came out of our work with the Great Falls SBDC was our logo branding. We never even considered branding. Now, we’re renting cars and buying billboards with a simple, highly recognizable indication of who we are.” – Thad Reiste, co-owner of Electric City Coffee
After retiring from the Air Force, Thad and Heidi chose to return to Great Falls, Montana, go to work for an existing business, learn from the ground up and then buy it. They purchased The Daily Grind (recipes and equipment), relocated it, rebranded and made their shop more than just a coffee shop. They created a food experience. (more…)
Success Story: Louisiana
“If you’re looking for real business growth, I encourage you to attend the LSBDC seminars and bring a pen, paper and an open mind.” – Troy Downs, Owner of Downs Enterprise
Impact of working with the Louisiana SBDC: Downs Enterprise offers consulting, logistics and other business services. It has assisted in starting and managing over 25 successful businesses, created over 50 jobs, and counseled over 100 people through the various products Downs Enterprise has to offer. During the course of all of these achievements, Troy Downs has found a way to extend a helping hand to veterans in the community. And because of his business and community impact and success, the LSBDC nominated Downs Enterprise for the 2015 Veterans Business Outreach Centers Excellence in Service Award, which was presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration at an awards reception held at the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion in May.
Read the whole story, and learn more about Downs Enterprise and the Louisiana SBDC.
America’s SBDC network has been serving the Veteran small business community for years. SBDCs around the country offer specialized training and programs to help our nation’s heroes start and grow their own businesses. America’s SBDC network also supports SBA’s Boots to Business program in 36 states and has helped nearly 2,000 Veteran entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership.
Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The curriculum continuum includes steps for evaluating business concepts, the foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan, and information on SBA resources available to help access start-up capital and additional technical assistance. The program is available free at participating installations to service members and their dependents transitioning or retiring from the U.S. military. (more…)
Success Story: Missouri
- Cole County University of Missouri Extension SBTDC
- SBDC Counselors: Business Development Specialist Chris Thompson, International Trade Specialist Jackie Rasmussen
- Client: Missouri Thistle, Inc. – SBDC client since 2013
“We’ve been able to get training on government contracting, prospecting for foreign markets and, with the help of the SBTDC, work on our accounting systems and business planning.” – Rachel Martens, Thistle manager of sales and legal
Impact of working with MO SBTDC: As a result of MO SBTDC assistance, Thistle is moving to expand production space with a building addition; plans to build a 14,400-square-foot warehouse this summer; add to its office and production staff; and attract more domestic and international customers.
Read the whole story, and learn more about the Missouri SBTDC and Missouri Thistle, Inc.
By Pasqualina DeLucia
The week of November 3-7, 2014 marks National Veterans Small Business Week, honoring veteran business owners. According to the Small Business Administration, “Veteran business owners are responsible for nearly one out of every ten small businesses in America, employ nearly six million workers, generate over 1.5 trillion dollars in receipts each year and are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans.” So what exactly makes veterans so well suited for entrepreneurship?
1. Work Ethic
Entrepreneurs work long, hard hours…especially in the start-up phase. Veterans already possess the mental and physical fortitude as well as the discipline to survive the long days and, equally as important, their families have that same ability. It’s important to have the buy-in and understanding of those around you given that entrepreneurial endeavors require sacrifice. Military families know the level of commitment and support needed better than most.
2. Risk Tolerance
Starting and maintaining your own business is undeniably risky. There are ways to help mitigate the risks but not completely remove them. Veterans already have the skillset to both mitigate and face risk head-on. Both in military life and in entrepreneur life, the ability to create and execute a thought-out operating strategy is essential (as well as the ability to read the current situation and adjust accordingly…see “agility” below). When it comes to risk assessment, gathering intel and then moving to action, veterans have been conditioned at a high level. (more…)
By Cindy Bates
I’ve always thought of small-business owners as heroes. They’re the women and men who battle for success despite obstacles, fears, physical challenges and mental exhaustion as they work towards success. As we approach Veterans Day and the end of National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW), I want to recognize the unique heroism of America’s veterans who own small businesses.
Veteran-owned businesses contribute more than $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy every year and employ nearly 6 million, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). During their military service, veteran owners learn to be dynamic leaders and tremendous problem-solvers. Those core skills may account for the fact that veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than others. Did you know one in 10 small businesses is veteran-owned? Even the hit TV show “Shark Tank” – which I happen to be a big fan of – is supporting NVSBW by dedicating an episode (Friday, 11/7) exclusively to veteran-owned businesses. (more…)