Resources for Iowa Veteran Owned Small Businesses

Resources for Iowa Veteran Owned Small Businesses

As we approach the Fourth of July, I thought it might be nice to write a bit about some of the resources we have here in Iowa to help veteran entrepreneurs.  To those of you who are vets and reading this post, thank you for your service to our country and our great midwestern state of Iowa!

Veterans Business Resource Center (VBRC)

The Veterans Business Resource Center is located in St. Louis, Missouri, but is the regional hub that serves Iowa vets. They are funded through the Small Business Administration. Their organization specializes in supporting veterans who wish to start or expand their business. Much like your local Iowa Small Business Development Center office, they provide free one-on-one consulting appointments, online and onsite workshops & training courses, business planning, and mentoring. The key person to talk with at the VBRC is their Executive Director, Darcella Craven. She can be reached by phone at (314) 531-8387.

Targeted Small Business Certification & Financing Program

If you are a disabled vet, you would likely qualify for special certification and financing from the state of Iowa’s Economic Development Authority via their Targeted Small Business Assistance program. By securing the TSB certification from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, business owners will receive exclusive access to state bids for purchased goods and services. They also then become eligible for the Iowa TSB financing program, which provides a low interest loan.

International Franchise Association VetFran Directory

The Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, or ‘VetFran’ for short, is a voluntary effort of IFA companies who provide financial incentives to honorably discharged vets who wish to open their own franchise business. Participants include 7-Eleven, FastSigns, Express Employment, Jiffy Lube, Liberty Tax Service, the UPS Store, Pita Pit, Papa John’s Pizza, and hundreds of others! Check out their website for more information.

Tomorrow I’ll post a few more organizations that help former service members network with each other, secure great financing, and will even cover info about a conference for veterans!

Rob Williams is a Business Analyst for the University of Northern Iowa

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