By Jayne Armstrong, District Director/Veteran's Business Representative of the SBA's Iowa District Office
Giving back to those who served isn’t just patriotic. It also makes economic sense. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the economic impact of veteran-owned small businesses on the American economy.
★ Veteran-owned businesses generate approximately $1.1 billion of the nation’s total sales and receipts per year
★ Veteran-owned businesses have an annual payroll of $195 billion and cumulatively employ 115 million people annually
★ Veteran-owned businesses hire approximately 5 million people per year
The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development’s vision is to create America’s next great generation of service member, veteran, and military spouse business owners. The federal agency empowers veteran-owned businesses by offering:
★ Counseling, training, and education
★ Access to capital through the SBA Veterans’ Advantage
★ Access to contracting and market opportunities
The SBA has been a fixture in the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program for decades. As service members and their families prepare for post-service life and careers, the TAP curriculum offers elective tracks, including an entrepreneurship track for those who are interested in exploring self-employment as a post service career option. This track, called Boots to Business, delivered by SBA and its resource partners, provides participants with necessary exposure to business ownership concepts while effectively assisting them in making an informed decision about pursuing self-employment. Since Iowa doesn’t have any military installations (or TAP programs), the SBA offers the similar Reboot to Business training program that is condensed down to one full day and targets veterans, National Guard members, Reservists and their spouses.
Boots to Business equips service members and spouses with a comprehensive business foundation – from basic entrepreneurial training and education to ongoing resources and support. More than 56,000 service members and military spouses have been trained nationwide since the SBA and Syracuse University launched the program in 2013—and participation continues to rise.
The SBA Iowa District Office is hosting five Reboot to Business classes this fiscal year, including workshops in Ames, Johnston, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Fayette (Upper Iowa University on September 6). The SBA partners with the Iowa National Guard, chambers and universities’ veterans programs to host the free day-long training. Presenters include the SBA and it resource partner network (Veteran’s Business Outreach Center, SBDCs, SCORE, Women’s Business Center) and local lawyers, bankers and business owners. Participants also have access to a follow-up eight week online training program.
Boots to Business and other SBA-coordinated programs advantageously position service members and military spouses seeking to start a business or tackle self-employment. For example:
★ In 2016, Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) helped veteran business owners receive $10 million in capital and $28 million in government contract wins
★ In FY2016, agencies reached the highest ever procurement goal, awarding 3.92% of federal contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses
★ In FY2016 SBA backed over $1 billion in small business loans to veteran and military-spouse owned businesses.
SBA has over 1,300 resource partner offices around the country, including Veterans Business Outreach Centers, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE mentors, and Women’s Business Centers. Access these resources by visiting www.sba.gov/localassistance. For more information, please contact Jayne Armstrong, district director/veteran’s business representative of the SBA’s Iowa District Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-4026 or visit www.sba.gov/OVBD.