25-Year Serviceman Grows Business and Community, While Serving Fellow Veterans

Louisiana SBDC Success StorySuccess 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 Veterans – From Boots to Start-Up

Veterans - Boots To Business

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…)

Veteran-Owned Missouri SBTDC Client Manufactures Eco-Friendly Vinyl Products

Missouri ThistleSuccess 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.

5 Reasons Why Veterans Make Excellent Entrepreneurs

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”. http://bit.ly/SBAVetBizWeek. 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…)

Talk This Week with Veterans Who Own Businesses

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…)