9 Resources for Veteran Small Business Owners

9 Resources for Veteran Small Business Owners

According to the 2012 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 23,000 veteran-owned businesses. And in that snapshot of time, those 23,000 businesses had almost 60,000 employees. It’s safe to say that the small business and employment landscape in Iowa would be very different without these businesses. And it’s no surprise so many veterans go on to be business owners after their service through the Armed Forces. The skills needed to own a business are tied very closely with the skills many veterans acquire throughout their military training – leadership, discipline and strong decision-making ability, just to name a few.

Whether you’re a veteran with a business idea or a full-fledge business already created, we’ve put together nine resources specific to your needs and the first two are available right here in Iowa!

Home Base Iowa

To kick off the list is Home Base Iowa. As the name suggests, HBI focuses on helping veterans and transitioning Service members find private-sector careers right here in Iowa. Through the HBI Act, which passed in 2014, the following incentives are available: state income tax exemption on military pensions, $5,000 military homeowner assistance, permissive veteran preference in employment, streamlined occupational licensure processes, and automatic in-state tuition for veterans, spouses and their dependents.

Veterans in Agriculture

Second on our list is another Iowa-specific program, but this one is more targeted than #1. The idea behind VIA began in 2012 and it’s only fitting that Iowa has a program tying together agricultural opportunities and veterans. Multiple programs and resources are available to help veterans that aspire to farm and/or seek employment in the agricultural sector.

Boots to Business / Reboot

If you’re the type of person that prefers hands-on training and instruction, Boots to Business is for you. Offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a training track within the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program, Boots to Business is a three part program.

  1. Entrepreneurship Track Overview (informational video)

  2. Introduction to Entrepreneurship (two-day course)

  3. Foundations of Entrepreneurship Course (optional eight-week online course for further education)

Workshops take place all over the world but looking through their calendar, there are some workshops scheduled this month (July 2016) in Nebraska.

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal

As a partnership between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and BusinessUSA, the VEP was designed to save time. From starting to growing, the portal has tons of information but of particular note is the access to Federal services information such as government contracting programs, procurement opportunities and working with other Federal agencies.

Business USA Veterans Resource Tool

Sometimes it can be difficult to navigate through resources to find those relevant to you. If you want specifically targeted resources, the BusinessUSA has created a questionnaire to help. By responding to general questions such as your Veteran status, what stage you’re at with your business and what training and/or assistance you’re looking for, you will be guided towards federal, state and local services, tools, training and opportunities specific to your needs.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, the EBV National Program is similar to #3 on our list, but specific to post 9/11 veteran with disabilities and their family members. Again, it is a three-phased approach.

  1. 30-day instructor-led, online course

  2. Nine-day residency at one of eight EBV participating universities

  3. 12 months of support and mentorship through EBV Technical Assistance Program

Service-Disabled (SDVOSB) and Veteran-Owned Business (VOSB) Certification

Did you know federal agencies are required to set aside a portion of work each year for certain businesses? For service-disabled and veteran-owned small businesses, this portion is three percent for both prime contracting and subcontracting. Certification as an SDVOSB or VOSB can be done internally making your small business eligible for more opportunities through federal contracts.

Veteran Fast Launch Initiative

A wealth of resources is what the Veteran Fast Launch Initiative provides to veterans and their families. It combines SCORE’s mentoring program with free software to help start and grow small businesses. The special offers through this program include free business mentoring, free online workshops, free templates and tools, and five free hours of financial advice from CPAs.


Last, but certainly not least, is a program dedicated to the women veterans. Like a couple other resources that made the list, V-WISE is a three-phase program.

  1. 15-day online learning experience

  2. Three-day training offered at cohorts across the U.S.

  3. Ongoing community-building opportunities and resource networks

To all the veterans out there, thank you for your service. We hope this list helps you start and/or grow your small business. And don’t forget, the IASourceLink is always here to help.

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