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SBA Expands Veterans Program, Creates Two New Opportunities

In honor of Veterans Day, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Syracuse University on Nov. 10 announced they are expanding their Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities to a seventh school, Louisiana State University, and launching two programs for female veterans and National Guard and Reserve members and their families.

“We often speak about the sacred trust we have with our service men and women, and one way we honor that trust is ensuring they have every possible opportunity for success,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a statement. “When it comes to entrepreneurship, their success also means success in driving economic growth and creating jobs.”

Nearly one quarter of veterans indicate they are interested in starting or buying a small business, according to the SBA, and that percentage is even higher among female veterans.

“When you consider the leadership and management skills our veterans develop while on active and reserve duty, it’s no wonder we see more of them pursuing their dreams as entrepreneurs and small business owners,” Mills said.

Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans

The boot camp provides training on how to start and grow a small business. The program will soon expand to E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University. Aside for LSU and Syracuse, the boot camp is also on these five campuses: University of Connecticut School of Business, Mays Business School at Texas A&M, UCLA Anderson School of Management, Florida State University’s College of Business, and the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.

"We put them in boot camp and teach them about business," Mills told CNBC on Nov. 10.

EBV offers experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to veterans . Last year, 129 service-disabled veterans participated. Since the program’s inception, more than 320 wounded veterans have graduated and graduates have launched more than 150 businesses.

Two new programs

SBA also will provide $2.6 million over three years for two new programs supporting veteran entrepreneurs.

The first, Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), focuses on training, networking and mentoring for women veterans. The three-day, off-site training program, online training and network support structures will be delivered in several locations around the nation. Organizers anticipate about 1,400 female veterans will participate.

The second program, Operation Endure & Grow, targets National Guard and Reserve members, their families and business partners. The eight-week online course will focus on the fundamentals of launching and growing a small business for those who will sustain the business in the event a close service member is deployed, injured or killed. Organizers anticipate 550 people to participate.

SBA reaches out to veterans through its 68 local SBA district offices, 16 Veterans Business Outreach Centers nationwide and its partnership with 1,000 Small Business Development Centers and some 12,000 SCORE Counselors to America’s Small Businesses volunteers. SBA has numerous programs creating government contracting opportunities for vet-owned small businesses.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer Brian Anthony Hernandez at Bhernandez@TechMediaNetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and become his friend on Facebook (BAH Journalist) to interact or stay updated on news about small businesses.